Lifting Everything To God Quotes

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His faith was like the radar of a bat, it took him through the darkness that surrounded him. It would guide him through everything that evil would throw at him. When his body gave up, God’s powers lifted him up and kept his heart thumping.
Mark A. Cooper (The Edelweiss Express (Edelweiss Pirates #2))
i thank You God for most this amazing day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any--lifted from the no of all nothing--human merely being doubt unimaginable You? (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
E.E. Cummings
Instead of thanking God for my two strong legs that are able to run and jump and climb, I whined about my "thunder thighs" and "thick" ankles. Instead of rejoicing that I have two capable arms that can lift and carry and balance my body, I complained about the flab that hung beneath them. I have been totally and unbelievably ungrateful for everything. Like a completely spoiled brat, I took my healthy body for granted. I criticized it and despised it. With crystal clarity, I know that I do not deserve the good health that God has mysteriously blessed me with. Not only have I been unappreciative of my body and its amazing working parts, I tortured it by overexercising, and I put my entire health at serious risk by starving myself. What on earth was wrong with me? As I watch these kids with their less-than-perfect bodies, I feel so thoroughly ashamed of myself. I mean, how could I have been so stupid and shallow and self-centered?
Melody Carlson (Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped (TrueColors, #9))
i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any---lifted from the no of all nothing---human merely being doubt unimaginably You? (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
E.E. Cummings (100 Selected Poems)
Morality, as far as I could see, originates in atheism and the realization that no higher power is coming along to feed the hungry or lift the fallen. Mercy is left entirely to us.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything)
When her blue-black eyes lifted to his, everything disappeared. Their bodies dematerialized. The room they were in ceased to exist. Time became nothing. And in the void, in the wormhold, Wrath's chest opened up sure as if he'd been shot, a piercing pain licking over his nerve endings. He knew then that there are many ways for a heart to break. Sometimes it's from the crowding of life, the compression of responsibility and birthright and burden that just squeezed you until you couldn't breathe anymore. Even though your lungs were working just fine. And sometimes it's from the casual cruelty of a fate that took you far from where you had thought you would end up. And sometimes it's age in the face of youth. Or sickness in the face of health. But sometimes it's just because you're looking into the eyes of your lover, and your gratitude for having them in your life overflows...because you showed them what was on the inside and they didn't run scared or turn away: they accepted you and loved you and held you in the midst of your passion or your fear...or your combination of both. Wrath closed his eyes and focused on the soft pulls at his wrist. God, they were just like the beat of his heart. Which made sense. Because she was the center of his chest. And the center of his world.
J.R. Ward (The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide (Black Dagger Brotherhood))
Books,” I say firmly. “I’m crazy about books.” He laughs. “Okay. That’s cool.” “I like to read them and write them,” I say shyly. Hello, my name is Sparrow and I am a nerd. “He lifts his eyebrows, and his eyes land on my mouth. “God, everything you say is hot.
Willow Aster (True Love Story)
Simply having the courage to say senseless things made me euphoric. I was free, with no need to seek or to give explanations for what I was doing. This freedom lifted me to the heavens - where greater love, one that forgives everything and never allows you to feel abandoned, once again enveloped me.
Paulo Coelho
Religious Jews believe that all things come from God, as God owns everything. The Tanakh says, “The Lord makes some poor and others rich; he brings some down and lifts others up” (NLT, 1 Samuel 2:7). “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it” (NIV, Proverbs 10:22).
H.W. Charles (The Money Code: Become a Millionaire With the Ancient Jewish Code)
I missed you, Kitten,” he growled. Then his mouth crushed over mine, his kiss more filled with raw need than romantic welcome. That was fine; I felt the same way. Aside from my compulsive urge to run my hands over him to assure myself that he was really here, relief, happiness, and the most profound feeling of rightness zoomed through me, settling all the way to my core. I hadn’t realized how deeply I’d missed Bones until that very moment, hadn’t let myself acknowledge how everything felt off when I was apart from him. On some levels, it was frightening how much a part of me he’d become. It let me know just how much I’d crumble if anything happened to him. “Why didn’t you answer your mobile earlier?” Bones murmured once he lifted his head. “I tried you several times. Tried Mencheres, too. Even Tepesh. None of you answered. Scared the wits out of me, so I stowed away on a FedEx plane to make sure you were all right.” “You came all the way from Ohio because I didn’t answer the phone?” I was torn between laughter and disbelief. “God, Bones, that’s a little crazy.” And it was, except the part of me that had had images of his tombstone dancing in my head because he hadn’t answered his phone earlier was nodding in complete understanding. Despite all our protestations, we were so alike when it came to fear over the other’s safety, and I doubted we’d ever change. “Crazy,” I repeated, my voice roughening with the surge of emotion in me. “And have I told you lately. that your crazy side . . . is your sexiest side?” He chuckled before his mouth swooped back over mine in another dizzying kiss. Then he picked me up, brushing past Vlad and Mencheres without even a hello, though I doubted either of them was surprised.
Jeaniene Frost (This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, #5))
I don’t have any regrets,” a famous movie actor said in an interview I recently witnessed. “I’d live everything over exactly the same way.” “That’s really pathetic,” the talk show host said. “Are you seeking help?” “Yeah. My shrink says we’re making progress. Before, I wouldn’t even admit that I would live it all over,” the actor said, starting to choke up. “I thought one life was satisfying enough.” “My God,” the host said, cupping his hand to his mouth. “The first breakthrough was when I said I would live it over, but only in my dreams. Nocturnal recurrence.” “You’re like the character in that one movie of yours. What’s it called? You know, the one where you eat yourself.” “The Silence of Sam.” “That’s it. Can you do the scene?” The actor lifts up his foot to stick it in his mouth. I reach over from my seat and help him to fit it into his bulging cheeks. The audience goes wild.
Benson Bruno (A Story that Talks About Talking is Like Chatter to Chattering Teeth, and Every Set of Dentures can Attest to the Fact that No . . .)
Jesus entered the temple area and revealed that he was the perfect and final priest; even more, he was the entire temple. All the temple symbols suddenly came to life. He was the wash basin, the Water of Life. He was the bread of the Presence, the Bread of Life. He was the candlesticks, the Light of the World. He was the perfect priest, the Great High Priest who would offer the sacrifice, and he was the sacrifice itself, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Everything in the Old Testament temple was gathered together and fulfilled in Jesus.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
Let me remind you again. Do not try to change your thoughts, or to change your life style, or to work on your bad habits, or to try to remove fear, and the rest of it. Rather you lift your vision high, to the highest, by following the I-thought to its source. And one day you will discover something interesting. Your body will appear to melt, to dissolve. The world, the universe will appear to dissolve. Your God will appear to dissolve. Everything you stood up for, everything you have believed in, all of your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, will dissolve. And you will find yourself as omnipresence, all-pervading consciousness. You will discover that you’ve always been the ultimate reality, ultimate oneness. You are the ‘I’ am. You are free.
Robert Adams
I was just wishing for you," he said. "And here you are." "Must be your lucky day, Ace." "Eve." He lifted a hand, not quite steady, skimmed his fingers along her jaw. "Eve," he said again, and his arms were around her, banded like steel as he lifted her off her feet. "Oh God. Eve." She felt the shudder run through him as he buried his face in her hair, against the curve of her neck. And knew she'd been right to come. Whatever else there was, she'd been right to come. "Everything's okay now." To soothe, she ran her hands over his back. "It's okay." "You landed in a field of cows, in a jet-copter." "You're telling me?" He rubbed his hands up and down her arms before linking them with hers and easing back to look at her face. "You must love me madly." "I must." His eyes were wild and beautiful, his lips warm and tender as he pressed them to her cheeks. "Thank you." "You're welcome, but you missed a spot." She found his mouth with hers and let him sink in. When she felt the heat, the punch, her lips curved against his. "That's better.
J.D. Robb (Portrait in Death (In Death, #16))
Faith for Jesus is the opposite of anxiety. If you are anxious, if you are trying to control everything, if you are worried about many things, you don’t have faith, according to Jesus. You do not trust that God is good and on your side. You’re trying to do it all yourself, lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.
Richard Rohr
The Reason for Skylarks It was nearly morning when the giant Reached the tree of children. Their faces shone like white apples On the cold dark branches And their dresses and little coats Made sodden gestures in the wind. He did not laugh or weep or stamp His heavy feet. He set to work at once Lifting them tenderly down Into a straw basket which was fixed By a golden strap to his shoulder. Only one did he drop - a soft pretty child Whose hair was the color of watered milk. She fell into the long grass And he could not find her Though he searched until his fingers Bled and the full light came. He shook his fist at the sky and called God a bitter name. But no answer was made and the giant Got down on his knees before the tree And putting his hands about the trunk Shook Until all the children had fallen Into the grass. Then he pranced and stamped Them to jelly. And still he felt no peace. He took his half-full basket and set it afire, Holding it by the handle until Everything had been burned. He saw now Two men on steaming horses approaching From the direction of the world And taking a little silver flute Out of his pocket he played tune After tune until they came up to him.
Kenneth Patchen
All teachers of Scripture conclude that the essence of prayer is simply the lifting up of the heart to God. But if this is so, it follows that everything else that doesn’t lift up the heart to God is not prayer. Therefore, singing, talking, and whistling without this lifting up of your heart to God are as much like prayer as scarecrows in the garden are like people. The name and appearance might be there, but the essence is missing.
Martin Luther (Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional)
If you've never shot a gun, You can’t understand how it feels in your hands. Cool to the touch, all its venom coiled inside, deadly, like a steel-scaled serpent. Awaiting your bidding. You select it’s prey… paper, tin, or flesh. You lie in wait, learn that patience is the killer’s most trustworthy accomplice. You choose the moment. What. Where. When. Decided. But the how is everything. You lift your weapon, ease it into place, cock it, to load it, knowing the satisfying snitch means a bullet is yours to command. Now, make or break, it’s all up to you. You aim knowing a hair either way means bull’s-eye or miss. Success or failure. Life or death. You have to relax, convince your muscles not to be tense, not to betray you. Sight again. Adjust. Don’t become distracted by the heat of the hunt. Instincts take over. You shoot and adrenaline screams as your target shreds or the flesh drops. And for one indescribable moment you are God.
Ellen Hopkins (Burned (Burned, #1))
I made it three days before the text messages started one afternoon while I was trying to finish warming up before our afternoon session. I had gotten to the LC later than usual and had gone straight to the training room, praising Jesus that I’d decided to change my clothes before leaving the diner once I’d seen what time it was and had remembered lunchtime traffic was a real thing. I was in the middle of stretching my hips when my phone beeped from where I’d left it on top of my bag. I took it out and snickered immediately at the message after taking my time with it. Jojo: WHAT THE FUCK JASMINE I didn’t need to ask what my brother was what-the-fucking over. It had only been a matter of time. It was really hard to keep a secret in my family, and the only reason why my mom and Ben—who was the only person other than her who knew—had kept their mouths closed was because they had both agreed it would be more fun to piss off my siblings by not saying anything and letting them find out the hard way I was going to be competing again. Life was all about the little things. So, I’d slipped my phone back into my bag and kept stretching, not bothering to respond because it would just make him more mad. Twenty minutes later, while I was still busy stretching, I pulled my phone out and wasn’t surprised more messages appeared. Jojo: WHY WOULD YOU NOT TELL ME Jojo: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME Jojo: DID THE REST OF YOU KEEP THIS FROM ME Tali: What happened? What did she not tell you? Tali: OH MY GOD, Jasmine, did you get knocked up? Tali: I swear, if you got knocked up, I’m going to beat the hell out of you. We talked about contraception when you hit puberty. Sebastian: Jasmine’s pregnant? Rubes: She’s not pregnant. Rubes: What happened, Jojo? Jojo: MOM DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS Tali: Would you just tell us what you’re talking about? Jojo: JASMINE IS SKATING WITH IVAN LUKOV Jojo: And I found out by going on Picturegram. Someone at the rink posted a picture of them in one of the training rooms. They were doing lifts. Jojo: JASMINE I SWEAR TO GOD YOU BETTER EXPLAIN EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW Tali: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IS THIS TRUE? Tali: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Jojo: I’m going on Lukov’s website right now to confirm this Rubes: I just called Mom but she isn’t answering the phone Tali: She knew about this. WHO ELSE KNEW? Sebastian: I didn’t. And quit texting Jas’s name over and over again. It’s annoying. She’s skating again. Good job, Jas. Happy for you. Jojo: ^^ You’re such a vibe kill Sebastian: No, I’m just not flipping my shit because she got a new partner. Jojo: SHE DIDN’T TELL US FIRST THO. What is the point of being related if we didn’t get the scoop before everybody else? Jojo: I FOUND OUT ON PICTUREGRAM Sebastian: She doesn’t like you. I wouldn’t tell you either. Tali: I can’t find anything about it online. Jojo: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Jojo: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Tali: Tell us everything or I’m coming over to Mom’s today. Sebastian: You’re annoying. Muting this until I get out of work. Jojo: Party pooper Tali: Party pooper Jojo: Jinx Tali: Jinx Sebastian: Annoying ... I typed out a reply, because knowing them, if I didn’t, the next time I looked at my phone, I’d have an endless column of JASMINE on there until they heard from me. That didn’t mean my response had to be what they wanted. Me: Who is Ivan Lukov?
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
But…” Hazel gripped his shoulders and stared at him in amazement. “Frank, what happened to you?” “To me?” He stood, suddenly self-conscious. “I don’t…” He looked down and realized what she meant. Triptolemus hadn’t gotten shorter. Frank was taller. His gut had shrunk. His chest seemed bulkier. Frank had had growth spurts before. Once he’d woken up two centimeters taller than when he’d gone to sleep. But this was nuts. It was as if some of the dragon and lion had stayed with him when he’d turned back to human. “Uh…I don’t…Maybe I can fix it.” Hazel laughed with delight. “Why? You look amazing!” “I—I do?” “I mean, you were handsome before! But you look older, and taller, and so distinguished—” Triptolemus heaved a dramatic sigh. “Yes, obviously some sort of blessing from Mars. Congratulations, blah, blah, blah. Now, if we’re done here…?” Frank glared at him. “We’re not done. Heal Nico.” The farm god rolled his eyes. He pointed at the corn plant, and BAM! Nico di Angelo appeared in an explosion of corn silk. Nico looked around in a panic. “I—I had the weirdest nightmare about popcorn.” He frowned at Frank. “Why are you taller?” “Everything’s fine,” Frank promised. “Triptolemus was about to tell us how to survive the House of Hades. Weren’t you, Trip?” The farm god raised his eyes to the ceiling, like, Why me, Demeter? “Fine,” Trip said. “When you arrive at Epirus, you will be offered a chalice to drink from.” “Offered by whom?” Nico asked. “Doesn’t matter,” Trip snapped. “Just know that it is filled with deadly poison.” Hazel shuddered. “So you’re saying that we shouldn’t drink it.” “No!” Trip said. “You must drink it, or you’ll never be able to make it through the temple. The poison connects you to the world of the dead, lets you pass into the lower levels. The secret to surviving is”—his eyes twinkled—“barley.” Frank stared at him. “Barley.” “In the front room, take some of my special barley. Make it into little cakes. Eat these before you step into the House of Hades. The barley will absorb the worst of the poison, so it will affect you, but not kill you.” “That’s it?” Nico demanded. “Hecate sent us halfway across Italy so you could tell us to eat barley?” “Good luck!” Triptolemus sprinted across the room and hopped in his chariot. “And, Frank Zhang, I forgive you! You’ve got spunk. If you ever change your mind, my offer is open. I’d love to see you get a degree in farming!” “Yeah,” Frank muttered. “Thanks.” The god pulled a lever on his chariot. The snake-wheels turned. The wings flapped. At the back of the room, the garage doors rolled open. “Oh, to be mobile again!” Trip cried. “So many ignorant lands in need of my knowledge. I will teach them the glories of tilling, irrigation, fertilizing!” The chariot lifted off and zipped out of the house, Triptolemus shouting to the sky, “Away, my serpents! Away!” “That,” Hazel said, “was very strange.” “The glories of fertilizing.” Nico brushed some corn silk off his shoulder. “Can we get out of here now?” Hazel put her hand on Frank’s shoulder. “Are you okay, really? You bartered for our lives. What did Triptolemus make you do?” Frank tried to hold it together. He scolded himself for feeling so weak. He could face an army of monsters, but as soon as Hazel showed him kindness, he wanted to break down and cry. “Those cow monsters…the katoblepones that poisoned you…I had to destroy them.” “That was brave,” Nico said. “There must have been, what, six or seven left in that herd.” “No.” Frank cleared his throat. “All of them. I killed all of them in the city.” Nico and Hazel stared at him in stunned silence. Frank
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
This time I watch him carefully, calculating everyone of his movements. Everything seems flawless, until I go to pick up my dealt cards. I noticed some shift his weight forward and scratch his leg. I swear to God it looks if you take something out from underneath his ass. "Wait a minute." I raise a finger, setting my cards down as I lean forward. "Did you just take the card out from under your ass?" "No why would I do that?" He lifts the two cards he has as he presses his hands innocently to his chest. "Besides, where would I put the other cards I dealt?" "How the hell should I know," I say. "Maybe if your ass.
Jessica Sorensen (The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coincidence, #3))
There was a long pause. “you know,” he went on, “I sometimes think mankind is dangerously arrogant. We do a few sums, and then claim we have the universe off pat. we measure the spaces between the stars, and declare them empty. We set a limit on infinity. We are like the occupants of a closed room; having worked out everything within the range of our knowledge, we announce that the room and its contents are all that exists. Nothing beyond. Nothing unseen or unknown, incalculable or neffable. This is it. And then every so often God lifts the veil—twitches the curtain—and gives us a glimpse, just a glimpse, of something more. As if He wishes to show us how narrow is our vision, how meaningless the boundaries we have set for ourselves. I felt that when Fern was talking. Just for a minute I though: This is truth, there’s a world beyond all the jargon of unbelief.
Jan Siegel (Prospero's Children (Fern Capel))
Here I am, a bundle of past recollections and future dreams, knotted up in a reasonably attractive bundle of flesh. I remember what this flesh has gone through; I dream of what it may go through. I record here the actions of optical nerves, of taste buds, of sensory perception. And, I think: I am but one more drop in the great sea of matter, defined, with the ability to realize my existence. Of the millions, I, too, was potentially everything at birth. I, too, was stunted, narrowed, warped, by my environment, my outcroppings of heredity. I, too, will find a set of beliefs, of standards to live by, yet the very satisfaction of finding them will be marred by the fact that I have reached the ultimate in shallow, two-dimensional living - a set of values. This loneliness will blur and diminish, no doubt, when tomorrow I plunge again into classes, into the necessity of studying for exams. But now, that false purpose is lifted and I am spinning in a temporary vacuum. At home I rested and played, here, where I work, the routine is momentarily suspended and I am lost. There is no living being on earth at this moment except myself. I could walk down the halls, and empty rooms would yawn mockingly at me from every side. God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of "parties" with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter - they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship - but the loneliness of the soul in it's appalling self-consciousness, is horrible and overpowering.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
Finally, by lifting our hands we symbolically receive everything God is doing in our lives.
Bob Sorge (Exploring Worship: A Practical Guide to Praise & Worship)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. —Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
Guideposts (Daily Guideposts 2017: A Spirit-Lifting Devotional)
My hope is that after you read Imprinted Wisdom, you will be able to see your blessings, to count more of them that you already have. Realize your thoughts touch holy ground. Action with compassion for others will heal all your sorrow. And prayer will lift your veil of tears. Give more of everything than you take. Know that the true spirit of God lies within your heart.
Catherine Nagle (Imprinted Wisdom)
The arm of the flesh can never save us, but humility and dependance on a loving God can. When we become dependant upon God, and submissive to him as being the only one who can lift us up, then we are heading for a real spiritual breakthrough. Such a breakthrough will be like something, which we have never experienced before. And then everything in our lives will start to change.
Christopher Roberts (365 Days With God)
Hold your tongue, or I'll kill you! You'll kill me? No, excuse me, I will speak. I came to treat myself to that pleasure. Oh, I love the dreams of my ardent young friends, quivering with eagerness for life! 'There are new men,' you decided last spring, when you were meaning to come here, 'they propose to destroy everything and begin with cannibalism. Stupid fellows! they didn't ask my advice! I maintain that nothing need be destroyed, that we only need to destroy the idea of God in man, that's how we have to set to work. It's that, that we must begin with. Oh, blind race of men who have no understanding! As soon as men have all of them denied God -- and I believe that period, analogous with geological periods, will come to pass -- the old conception of the universe will fall of itself without cannibalism, and, what's more, the old morality, and everything will begin anew. Men will unite to take from life all it can give, but only for joy and happiness in the present world. Man will be lifted up with a spirit of divine Titanic pride and the man-god will appear. From hour to hour extending his conquest of nature infinitely by his will and his science, man will feel such lofty joy from hour to hour in doing it that it will make up for all his old dreams of the joys of heaven. Everyone will know that he is mortal and will accept death proudly and serenely like a god. His pride will teach him that it's useless for him to repine at life's being a moment, and he will love his brother without need of reward. Love will be sufficient only for a moment of life, but the very consciousness of its momentariness will intensify its fire, which now is dissipated in dreams of eternal love beyond the grave'... and so on and so on in the same style. Charming! Ivan sat with his eyes on the floor, and his hands pressed to his ears, but he began trembling all over. The voice continued. (The devil) The question now is, my young thinker reflected, is it possible that such a period will ever come? If it does, everything is determined and humanity is settled for ever. But as, owing to man's inveterate stupidity, this cannot come about for at least a thousand years, everyone who recognises the truth even now may legitimately order his life as he pleases, on the new principles. In that sense, 'all things are lawful' for him. What's more, even if this period never comes to pass, since there is anyway no God and no immortality, the new man may well become the man-god, even if he is the only one in the whole world, and promoted to his new position, he may lightheartedly overstep all the barriers of the old morality of the old slaveman, if necessary. There is no law for God. Where God stands, the place is holy. Where I stand will be at once the foremost place... 'all things are lawful' and that's the end of it! That's all very charming; but if you want to swindle why do you want a moral sanction for doing it? But that's our modern Russian all over. He can't bring himself to swindle without a moral sanction. He is so in love with truth-.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
[THE DAILY BREATH] There are three important periods in your life. When you enter your twenties, you chase a career that other people suggested, recommended, or imposed on you. You are doing other people's purpose. When you finish your twenties, frustration and depression - sometimes illnesses - begin to set in because you feel you have no purpose in life. If you find the courage to break the bondage, you go to find your purpose. You discover your passion and follow your dreams for a while. You feel bliss because you feel you have found freedom. You are doing your purpose. And one day, God touches your heart and you put all your dreams at His feet. When you lift your hands and say: "Jesus, I am yours. Everything I am, use all of me," you begin to do God's purpose for you. You are finally free.
Dragos Bratasanu
So the idea of being “lifted up” has everything to do with Christ’s crucifixion, a crucifixion that surely has in view his resurrection and ascension into glory that has come by way of the cross. And it is through this great work (atoning sacrifice) on the cross that Jesus will draw “all men” to himself, meaning that he will draw to himself men from every tribe, tongue, and nation (both Jew and Gentile), which is a common theme in this gospel account (cf. 6:44).
Eric J. Bargerhuff (The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God's Word Is Misunderstood)
May you, son, daughter, image of the very Creator God, fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in your mother’s womb, fully seen, fully known, and fully loved, see with eyes that are open wide. Hear the Voice that speaks from inside of you with ears attuned and mind unshackled. Taste and see the goodness of the One who shall be all and in all. May your heart be opened to the love that formed you and everything else, the love that holds all things together and shall make all things new in the end, and may that love that was broken and poured out for you impel you into the world to break your own self open to be poured out for the world that God so loves. Poured out in acts of justice and mercy, poured out in good and hard work that brings order rather than disorder. Poured out in songs and liturgies, business plans and water colors, child-rearing and policy-making. May your life be a brush in the very hand of God—painting new creation into every nook and cranny of reality that your shadow graces. Be courageous. Be free. Prune that which needs pruning, and water that which thirsts for righteousness. You are the body of Christ, the light of the world. Pick up your hammer. Your brush. Your trumpet. Your skillet. Your pen. Lift up your head. And walk. Run. Dance. Fly. The great Artist, the future God, calls you into being. So go into your world, your valley, your garden, and create with His grace and in His peace. Amen. ________________________
Michael Gungor (The Crowd, The Critic And The Muse: A Book For Creators)
I know it was personally right, it was divinely right, for those apostles to hear what Jesus said and to tarry for the Holy Spirit; however, it is not right now to tarry for the Holy Spirit. Then why do we not all receive the Holy Spirit, you ask? Because our bodies are not ready for it; our temples are not cleansed. When our temples are purified and our minds are put in order so that carnalities and fleshly desires and everything contrary to the Spirit have gone, then the Holy Spirit can take full charge. The Holy Spirit is not a manifestation of carnality. There are any number of people who never read the Word of God who could not be led away by the powers of Satan. But the power of the Holy Spirit is most lovely, divine in all its construction. It is a great refiner. It is full of life, but it is always divine—never natural. If you deal in the flesh after you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, you cease to go on. Beloved, I want to speak about something greater; something to lift your minds, elevate your thoughts, and bring you into divine ways; something that elevates you out of yourself and into God, out of the world and into a place where you know you have rest for your feet, where you cease from your own works (Heb. 4:10), and where God works in you mightily “to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). When I think about a river—a pure, holy, divine river—I say, “What can stand against its inrush?” Wherever it is—in a railway coach, in the street, or in a meeting—its power and flow will always be felt; it will always do its work. Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit that was to be given. I want you to think about how God gave it, how its coming was manifested, and its reception and its outflow after it had come.
Smith Wigglesworth (Wigglesworth on the Anointing)
I believe he has a purpose for everything. I believe he'll bring good out of this, maybe even in a way I won't like very much. It's his call, not mine." "Seems like any God a'tall would want you down here bustin' a gut, not leavin' it all up to him." "Seems like. But it doesn't work that way. We've got to let him do the heavy lifting. We've got to grunt, that's for sure, but we've got to let him lift. The challenge is to trust him. Right now, I'm trusting him. Running a little scared, but trusting him.
Jan Karon (Home to Holly Springs (Mitford Years, #10))
The face that Moses had begged to see – was forbidden to see – was slapped bloody (Exodus 33:19-20) The thorns that God had sent to curse the earth’s rebellion now twisted around his brow… “On your back with you!” One raises a mallet to sink the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the soldier live on – he grants the warrior’s continued existence. The man swings. As the man swings, the Son recalls how he and the Father first designed the medial nerve of the human forearm – the sensations it would be capable of. The design proves flawless – the nerves perform exquisitely. “Up you go!” They lift the cross. God is on display in his underwear and can scarcely breathe. But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot. His Father! He must face his Father like this! From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes His mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross.Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes. “Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, over-spent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held a razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk – you, who moles young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp – buying politicians, practicing exhortation, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves – relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath? Of course the Son is innocent He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed. The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction. “Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!” But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply. The Trinity had planned it. The Son had endured it. The Spirit enabled Him. The Father rejected the Son whom He loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted His sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.
Joni Eareckson Tada (When God Weeps Kit: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty)
Though the cross and everything leading up to it violate our sensibilities and we are rightly aghast, the reality is that human beings have never liked God very much. At the cross, the nature of God was most fully revealed. As a result, human contempt was also most fully revealed and brought to a laser-like focus and intensity.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
there is an important difference between embarrassment and shame. Whatever caused your embarrassment has been experienced by everyone else too, at one point or another. Your sense of social isolation was fleeting. Within the hour—or decade—you laugh about it. With shame, you never laugh at it. It feels like unending embarrassment, but it is more than that. Embarrassment doesn’t afflict the core of the person’s soul, but shame becomes your identity. It touches everything about you. Embarrassment points toward shame, but it wears away over time. For shame to wear away, it feels as though the shame-ful person would have to wear away, and some people have tried such things.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
Somehow the realization that nothing was to be hoped for had a salutary effect upon me. For weeks and months, for years, in fact, all my life I had been looking forward to something happening, some intrinsic event that would alter my life, and now suddenly, inspired by the absolute hopelessness of everything, I felt relieved, felt as though a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders. At dawn I parted company with the young Hindu, after touching him for a few francs, enough for a room. Walking toward Montparnasse I decided to let myself drift with the tide, to make not the least resistance to fate, no matter in what form it presented itself. Nothing that had happened to me thus far had been sufficient to destroy me; nothing had been destroyed except my illusions. I myself was intact. The world was intact. Tomorrow there might be a revolution, a plague, an earthquake; tomorrow there might not be left a single soul to whom one could turn for sympathy, for aid, for faith. It seemed to me that the great calamity had already manifested itself, that I could be no more truly alone than at this very moment. I made up my mind that I would hold on to nothing, that I would expect nothing, that henceforth I would live as an animal, a beast of prey, a rover, a plunderer. Even if war were declared, and it were my lot to go, I would grab the bayonet and plunge it, plunge it up to the hilt. And if rape were the order of the day then rape I would, and with a vengeance. At this very moment, in the quiet dawn of a new day, was not the earth giddy with crime and distress? Had one single element of man's nature been altered, vitally, fundamentally altered, by the incessant march of history? By what he calls the better part of his nature, man has been betrayed, that is all. At the extreme limits of his spiritual being man finds himself again naked as a savage. When he finds God, as it were, he has been picked clean: he is a skeleton. One must burrow into life again in order to put on flesh. The word must become flesh; the soul thirsts. On whatever crumb my eye fastens, I will pounce and devour. If to live is the paramount thing, then I will live, even if I must become a cannibal. Heretofore I have been trying to save my precious hide, trying to preserve the few pieces of meat that hid my bones. I am done with that. I have reached the limits of endurance. My back is to the wall; I can retreat no further. As far as history goes I am dead. If there is something beyond I shall have to bounce back. I have found God, but he is insufficient. I am only spiritually dead. Physically I am alive. Morally I am free. The world which I have departed is a menagerie. The dawn is breaking on a new world, a jungle world in which the lean spirits roam with sharp claws. If I am a hyena I am a lean and hungry one: I go forth to fatten myself.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
Then it was horn time. Time for the big solo. Sonny lifted the trumpet - One! Two! - He got it into sight - Three! We all stopped dead. I mean we stopped. That wasn't Sonny's horn. This one was dented-in and beat-up and the tip-end was nicked. It didn't shine, not a bit. Lux leaned over-you could have fit a coffee cup into his mouth. "Jesus God," he said. "Am I seeing right?" I looked close and said: "Man, I hope not." But why kid? We'd seen that trumpet a million times. It was Spoof's. Rose-Ann was trembling. Just like me, she remembered how we'd buried the horn with Spoof. And she remembered how quiet it had been in Sonny's room last night... I started to think real hophead thoughts, like - where did Sonny get hold of a shovel that late? and how could he expect a horn to play that's been under the ground for two years? and - That blast got into our ears like long knives. Spoof's own trademark! Sonny looked caught, like he didn't know what to do at first, like he was hypnotized, scared, almighty scared. But as the sound came out, rolling out, sharp and clean and clear - new-trumpet sound - his expression changed. His eyes changed: they danced a little and opened wide. Then he closed them, and blew that horn. Lord God of the Fishes, how he blew it! How he loved it and caressed it and pushed it up, higher and higher and higher. High C? Bottom of the barrel. He took off, and he walked all over the rules and stamped them flat. The melody got lost, first off. Everything got lost, then, while that horn flew. It wasn't only jazz; it was the heart of jazz, and the insides, pulled out with the roots and held up for everybody to see; it was blues that told the story of all the lonely cats and all the ugly whores who ever lived, blues that spoke up for the loser lamping sunshine out of iron-gray bars and every hop head hooked and gone, for the bindlestiffs and the city slicers, for the country boys in Georgia shacks and the High Yellow hipsters in Chicago slums and the bootblacks on the corners and the fruits in New Orleans, a blues that spoke for all the lonely, sad and anxious downers who could never speak themselves... And then, when it had said all this, it stopped and there was a quiet so quiet that Sonny could have shouted: 'It's okay, Spoof. It's all right now. You get it said, all of it - I'll help you. God, Spoof, you showed me how, you planned it - I'll do my best!' And he laid back his head and fastened the horn and pulled in air and blew some more. Not sad, now, not blues - but not anything else you could call by a name. Except... jazz. It was Jazz. Hate blew out of that horn, then. Hate and fury and mad and fight, like screams and snarls, like little razors shooting at you, millions of them, cutting, cutting deep... And Sonny only stopping to wipe his lip and whisper in the silent room full of people: 'You're saying it, Spoof! You are!' God Almighty Himself must have heard that trumpet, then; slapping and hitting and hurting with notes that don't exist and never existed. Man! Life took a real beating! Life got groined and sliced and belly-punched and the horn, it didn't stop until everything had all spilled out, every bit of the hate and mad that's built up in a man's heart. ("Black Country")
Charles Beaumont (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now)
She stepped aside, dodging him with maddening ease. Grave lunged again. But faster than he could follow she ducked and slashed her sword across his shins. He hit the wet ground before he felt the pain. The world flashed black and gray and red, and agony tore at him. A dagger still left in his hand, he scuttled backward toward the wall. But his legs wouldn’t respond, and his arms strained to pull him through the damp filth. “Bitch,” he hissed. “Bitch.” He hit the wall, blood pouring from his legs. Bone had been sliced. He would not be able to walk. He could still find a way to make her pay, though. She stopped a few feet away and sheathed her sword. She drew a long, jeweled dagger. He swore at her, the filthiest word he could think of. She chuckled, and faster than a striking asp, she had one of his arms against the wall, the dagger glinting. Pain ripped through his right wrist, then his left as it, too, was slammed into the stone. Grave screamed—truly screamed—as he found his arms pinned to the wall by two daggers. His blood was nearly black in the moonlight. He thrashed, cursing her again and again. He would bleed to death unless he pulled his arms from the wall. With otherworldly silence, she crouched before him and lifted his chin with another dagger. Grave panted as she brought her face close to his. There was nothing beneath the cowl—nothing of this world. She had no face. “Who hired you?” she asked, her voice like gravel. “To do what?” he asked, almost sobbing. Maybe he could feign innocence. He could talk his way out, convince this arrogant whore he had nothing to do with it … She turned the dagger, pressing it into his neck. “To kill Princess Nehemia.” “N-n-no one. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And then, without even an intake of breath, she buried another dagger he hadn’t realized she’d been holding into his thigh. So deep he felt the reverberation as it hit the cobblestones beneath. His scream shattered out of him, and Grave writhed, his wrists rising farther on the blades. “Who hired you?” she asked again. Calm, so calm. “Gold,” Grave moaned. “I have gold.” She drew yet another dagger and shoved it into his other thigh, piercing again to the stone. Grave shrieked—shrieked to gods who did not save him. “Who hired you?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” After a heartbeat, she withdrew the daggers from his thighs. He almost soiled himself at the pain, at the relief. “Thank you.” He wept, even as he thought of how he would punish her. She sat back on her heels and stared at him. “Thank you.” But then she brought up another dagger, its edge serrated and glinting, and hovered it close to his hand. “Pick a finger,” she said. He trembled and shook his head. “Pick a finger.” “P-please.” A wet warmth filled the seat of his pants. “Thumb it is.” “N-no. I … I’ll tell you everything!” Still, she brought the blade closer, until it rested against the base of his thumb. “Don’t! I’ll tell you everything!
Sarah J. Maas (Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2))
God, but he was beautiful. After a time, Jackson lifted his free hand and slowly ran a finger under the length of her scar—from the space between her right eyebrow and nose, up her forehead, then repeating the path from under her right ear, up to the outside corner of her right eye. She didn’t speak, her breath unsteady from watching him, from feeling the gentle weight of his finger against her face. The circuit complete, he gently rested his palm on her cheek and began tracing the scar once more—this time with his thumb on the new skin. Under the gentle weight of his thumb, her skin felt tingly. Like a foot that had fallen asleep and was 90 percent awake again. Oh. Oh. She could feel it. She could feel it. Her whole body tensed at the sensation. His gaze moved from her skin to her eyes. His palm still rested on her cheek, and his thumb rubbed lightly back and forth against the actual scar line. “Go out with me,” he said. “We are out.” Her voice came out as husky as his, like they were in a crowded library, not alone on the beach. “Out out. Friday night, after you play.” He smiled, leaning in a little closer. “We’ll toast the standing ovation.” She frowned at this reminder. “More like drink away my sorrows.” “Or that.” He leaned closer and said again, “Go out with me.
Moriah McStay (Everything That Makes You)
Mary.” Turning at the soft sound of her name, she glanced behind herself. Then frowned. “Lassiter?” “I’m over here.” “Where?” She looked all around. “Why is your voice echoing?” “Chimney.” “What?” “I’m stuck in the fucking chimney.” She raced over to the fireplace and got on her hands and knees. Looking up into the dark flue, she shook her head. “Lass? What the hell are you doing up there?” His voice emanated from somewhere above her. “Don’t tell anyone, okay?” “What are you—” An arm came down. A very sooty arm that was encased in a red sleeve that had white trim. Or what had been white trim and which was now smudged with ash. “You’re stuck!” she exclaimed. “And thank God no one lit this fire!” “You’re telling me,” he muttered in his disembodied voice. “I had to blow out Fritz’s match like a hundred times before he gave up. Fuck, that sounds dirty. Anyway, just remind me never to try to be Santa for your kid, okay? I’m not doing this again, even for her.” Mary stretched a little farther in, but the logs on the hearth stopped her. “Lassiter. Why can’t you free yourself by dematerializing—” “I’m impaled on a hook that’s iron. I can’t go ghost. And will you just take this?” “What?” “This.” He turned his hand toward her and there was…a box…in it? A small navy blue box. “Open it. And before you ask, I already cleared it with your pinheaded hellren. He’s not jel or anything.” Mary sat back and shook her head. “I’m more worried about you—” “Justopenthefuckingthingalready.” Taking off the top, she found a slightly smaller box inside. That was velvet. “What is this?” As she lifted the lid, she…gasped. It was a pair of diamond earrings. A pair of perfectly matched, sparkly, diamond… “A mother’s tears,” Lassiter’s slightly echo-y voice said softly. “So hard, so beautiful. I told you everything was going to be all right. And those are to remind you of how strong you are, how strong your love for your daughter is…how, even in the worst of times, things have a way of working out as they should.” Blinking away tears, she thought of her crying in the foyer in front of the angel, crying because all had been lost. “They’re just beautiful,” she said hoarsely. -Lassiter & Mary
J.R. Ward (Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2))
Men are foul, brutish creatures. But they own the world and always will…my brother liked the situation as it was - he had the best of everything without lifting a finger. Mother gave him whatever he wanted. And the selfish pig didn’t mind sacrificing me to keep himself comfortable. He was a man, you see. So I became a whore. And for years I prayed for rescue. But God doesn’t hear the prayers of women. He cares only for those He made in His own image.
Lisa Kleypas
In this classic reversal of reality, we do not stand before him, but the King stands before us. We question him; he doesn’t question us. The irony of it all! While the name of the Lord was constantly blasphemed by men, Jesus is now accused of being a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65). Talk about a primitive form of defense—projecting your guilt onto another. Could it be any clearer that Jesus had come to the anti-kingdom, where everything was the opposite of the way it was intended? The mocking was nonstop. Accusers took turns kneeling before him, feigning homage.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
I was already an atheist, and by my senior year I had became obsessed with the question “What is the meaning of life?” I wrote my personal statement for college admissions on the meaninglessness of life. I spent the winter of my senior year in a kind of philosophical depression—not a clinical depression, just a pervasive sense that everything was pointless. In the grand scheme of things, I thought, it really didn’t matter whether I got into college, or whether the Earth was destroyed by an asteroid or by nuclear war. My despair was particularly strange because, for the first time since the age of four, my life was perfect. I had a wonderful girlfriend, great friends, and loving parents. I was captain of the track team, and, perhaps most important for a seventeen-year-old boy, I got to drive around in my father’s 1966 Thunderbird convertible. Yet I kept wondering why any of it mattered. Like the author of Ecclesiastes, I thought that “all is vanity and a chasing after wind” (ECCLESIASTES 1:14) . I finally escaped when, after a week of thinking about suicide (in the abstract, not as a plan), I turned the problem inside out. There is no God and no externally given meaning to life, I thought, so from one perspective it really wouldn’t matter if I killed myself tomorrow. Very well, then everything beyond tomorrow is a gift with no strings and no expectations. There is no test to hand in at the end of life, so there is no way to fail. If this really is all there is, why not embrace it, rather than throw it away? I don’t know whether this realization lifted my mood or whether an improving mood helped me to reframe the problem with hope; but my existential depression lifted and I enjoyed the last months of high school.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
I once thought that would be the consummation of all joy—to be united by a bond of love—to be lost in His presence there as if nothing else mattered. "And now—there is much more. Instead of myself and my Christ and my love and my prayer, there is the might of a prayer stronger than thunder and milder than the flight of doves rising up from the Priest who is the Center of every priest, shaking the foundations of the universe and lifting up—me, Host, altar, sanctuary, people, church, abbey, forest, cities, continents, seas and worlds to God and plunging everything into Him.
Thomas Merton (The Sign of Jonas)
She was a hunchback with a sweet smile. She smiled sweetly at anything; she couldn't help it; the trees, me, the grass, anything. The basket pulled her down, dragging her toward the ground. She was such a tiny woman, with a hurt face, as if slapped forever. She wore a funny old hat, an absurd hat, a maddening hat, a hat to make me cry, a hat with faded red berries on the brim. And there she was, smiling at everything, struggling across the carpet with a heavy basket containing Lord knew what, wearing a plumed hat with red berries. I got up. It was so mysterious. There I was, like magic, standing up, my two feet on the ground, my eyes drenched. I said, "Let me help." She smiled again and gave me the basket. We began to walk. She led the way. Beyond the trees it was stifling. And she smiled. It was so sweet it nearly tore my head off. She talked, she told me things I never remembered. It didn't matter. In a« dream she held me, in a dream I followed under the blinding sun. For blocks we went forward. I hoped it would never end. Always she talked in a low voice made of human music. What words! What she said! I remembered nothing. I was only happy. But in my heart I was dying. It should have been so. We stepped from so many curbs, I wondered why she did not sit upon one and hold my head while I drifted away. It was the chance that never came again. That old woman with the bent back! Old woman, I feel so joyfully your pain. Ask me a favor, you old woman you! Anything. To die is easy. Make it that. To cry is easy, lift your skirt and let me cry and let my tears wash your feet to let you know I know what life has been for you, because my back is bent too, but my heart is whole, my tears are delicious, my love is yours, to give you joy where God has failed. To die is so easy and you may have my life if you wish it, you old woman, you hurt me so, you did, I will do anything for you, to die for you, the blood of my eighteen years flowing in the gutters of Wilmington and down to the sea for you, for you that you might find such joy as is now mine and stand erect without the horror of that twist. I left the old woman at her door. The trees shimmered. The clouds laughed. The blue sky took me up. Where am I? Is this Wilmington, California? Haven't I been here before? A melody moved my feet. The air soared with Arturo in it, puffing him in and out and making him something and nothing. My heart laughed and laughed. Goodbye to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and all of you, you fools, I am much greater than all of you! Through my veins ran music of blood. Would it last? It could not last. I must hurry. But where? And I ran toward home. Now I am home. I left the book in the park. To hell with it. No more books for me. I kissed my mother. I clung to her passionately. On my knees I fell at her feet to kiss her feet and cling to her ankles until it must have hurt her and amazed her that it was I.
John Fante (The Road to Los Angeles (The Saga of Arturo Bandini, #2))
We don't get to say. Not if we want to save ourselves. We can't question everything. We have to be able to give the help that is asked for. Not what we think is needed. What is asked for. We justify ourselves with a thousand small acts of grace and charity. It's all meaningless. We want to be liked. To be liked. (He is staring out at the sea. He lifts one hand and lets it fall again) God. It goes beyond lacking all conviction. At the very core of despair is the conviction that convictions do not exist. That their reality exists solely in the claims of criminals and lunatics. I was on the beach last night and there was a bright light out to sea. I don't know what it was. A flare. Something. And I thought: What would happen if chaos should come? Would we be worse off? What if this were the sun misrisen at midnight. What if all order were suddenly in abeyance, the skies given over to the access of sudden random moons, everything mindless and migratory. So that all we knew was to be set aside and we found ourselves dwelling in a silent pandemonium. Would we be worse off? Would we be more damned under the transit of constellations unknown to us? What if we suddenly knew nothing? Nothing at all?
Cormac McCarthy (Whales and Men)
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist . . .” Lord, I put on the belt of truth. I choose a lifestyle of honesty and integrity. Show me the truths I so desperately need today. Expose the lies I’m not even aware that I’m believing. “. . . with the breastplate of righteousness in place . . .” And yes, Lord, I wear your righteousness today against all condemnation and corruption. Fit me with your holiness and purity—defend me from all assaults against my heart. “. . . and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace . . .” I do choose to live for the gospel at any moment. Show me where the larger story is unfolding and keep me from being so lax that I think the most important thing today is the soap operas of this world. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one . . .” Jesus, I lift against every lie and every assault the confidence that you are good, and that you have good in store for me. Nothing is coming today that can overcome me because you are with me. “. . . Take the helmet of salvation . . .” Thank you, Lord, for my salvation. I receive it in a new and fresh way from you and I declare that nothing can separate me now from the love of Christ and the place I shall ever have in your kingdom. “. . . and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God . . .” Holy Spirit, show me specifically today the truths of the Word of God that I will need to counter the assaults and the snares of the Enemy. Bring them to mind throughout the day. “. . . And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Finally, Holy Spirit, I agree to walk in step with you in everything—in all prayer as my spirit communes with you throughout the day. (6:13-18)
John Eldredge (Wild at Heart Revised and Updated: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul)
Kiss me already, god. I can’t take the hungry looks any longer.” She told him with boldness. Her breath fanning his face and her eyes … fuck, her eyes could seduce any man and they trained on him. Then he kissed her. A growl gurgling at the back of his throat, he took her lips like he’d been starving for his whole life waiting for a kiss like this one. Her mouth offered him everything Butcher didn’t know he’d needed and now was dying for. She was a breath. A yearning. Her mouth parted so inviting and he dove in with his tongue. When her taste filled his mouth, the ticking bomb inside his head intensified. It only grew louder as her fingers speared into his hair and kissed him back like she was meant to kiss only him. Like she needed his flavor drenching her mouth in the same way. She moaned. Butcher grunted his arousal, holding the back of her head to keep her right there. And when her mouth opened again, he pushed in to chase her tongue. His free hand sloped down the curve of her back until he had a grip of her ass, helping her to move on him. Fuck, she was like a serpent curling her hips, driving him crazy and then crazier still, he lifted his pelvis from the chair in hopes of getting closer to that heaven but that would only happen if she let Butcher take her somewhere private. One more taste. Another bite and suck. One more bruising kiss. Not a kiss. It was a possession.
V. Theia (Savage Outlaw (Renegade Souls MC #8))
There is a moment following tragedy that some people never get to experience. You have to be ready for it or it will crush you to dust. It's like a window flung open and naked to the day. It's like being lifted away. It's like being stranded with everything you need. It's the moment you call a cornfield beautiful because you mean it, because you've never seen the world like this before, because newness no longer strikes terror but rather brings hope. You jerk awake into it like meeting yourself on a blind date. You surrender to that sudden first rush of joy without consequence, no more doom or fear or guilt, surrender to the sheer devastating presence of life, huge and indifferent, pushing into you like God's breath.
Sung Yim
Can God create a mountain so big that He himself couldn’t lift it? It’s trying to put God in a corner, because if He can or if He can’t, He’s not all-powerful. But the question is silly, because it assumes God is as stupid as we are. If you’re as big as God, there’s no such thing as “lifting.” It’s all just floating in a million universes you made. If you made an object of some insane, unusual size, then it’d still be a thing. And God is as big as everything at once. And as small. Physical stuff is too simple. The better question is, Can God create a law so big that He himself has to obey it? Is there an idea so big that God doesn’t remember anything before it? That answer is love. Love is the object of unusual size.
Daniel Nayeri (Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story))
Everything has been taken from me—my free will, my choice, my future—and I still have to suffer through the Duke’s lessons,” I spat out, shuddering. “I still have to stand there and let him hit me. Let him look at me and touch me! Do whatever he or the Lord wants—” Sucking in a fiery, painful breath, I lifted my hands, grabbing fistfuls of my hair, pulling them back as Vikter closed his eyes. “I have to stand there and take it. I can’t even scream or cry. I can do nothing. So I’m sorry that choosing something that I want for myself is such a disappointment to you, the kingdom, everyone else, and the gods. Where is the honor in being the Maiden? What exactly should I be proud of? Who would want this? Point me in their direction, and I’ll gladly switch places with them. It should be no shock that I want to be found unworthy.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, #1))
We overcome the evil in the world by the charity and compassion of God, and in so doing we drive all evil out of our own hearts. The evil that is in us is more than moral. There is a psychological evil, the distortion caused by selfishness and sin. Good moral intentions are enough to correct what is formally bad in our moral acts. But in order that our charity may heal the wounds of sin in our whole soul it must reach down into the furthest depths of our humanity, cleaning out all the infection of anxiety and false guilt that spring from pride and fear, releasing the good that has been held back by suspicion and prejudice and self-conceit. Everything in our nature must find its right place in the life of charity, so that the whole man may be lifted up to God, that the entire person may be sanctified and not only the intentions of his will.
Thomas Merton (No Man Is an Island)
He looked her face over, loving the strong features and the short hair and the piercing forest green eyes. “I never would have asked you, you know…to blow everything you have here away for me.” “That’s only one of the reasons I love you.” “Will you tell me the others later?” “Maybe.” She slipped her hand between his legs, shocking the shit out of him and making him gasp. “Might show you, too.” He covered her mouth with his and pushed his tongue into her as he backed her up against the wall. He didn’t care if Rhage waited on the front lawn for an extra— His phone went off. And kept ringing. V lifted his head and looked through the window by the front door. Rhage was on the front lawn, phone to his ear, staring back. The brother made a show of checking his watch, then flashing his middle finger at V. Vishous pounded a fist into the Sheetrock and stepped off from Jane. “I’m coming back at the end of the night. Be naked.” “Wouldn’t you rather undress me?” “No, because I’d shred that shirt, and I want you sleeping in it every night until you’re in my bed with me. Be. Naked.” “We’ll see.” His whole body throbbed at the disobedience. And she knew it, her stare level and erotic. “God, I love you,” he said. “I know. Now run along and kill something. I’ll be waiting for you.” He smiled at her. “Couldn’t love you more if I tried.” “Ditto.” He kissed her and dematerialized out front to Rhage’s side, making sure some mhis was in place. Oh, great. It was raining. Man, he’d so much rather be cozied up with Jane than out with his brother, and he couldn’t help but shoot a short-stack glare at Rhage. “Like another five minutes would kill you?” “Please. You start down that road with your female and I’ll be here until summer.” -Vishous, Jane, & Rhage
J.R. Ward (Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5))
She gives just enough hints about him to make you wonder why he became so villainous. And if he dies, I’ll never learnt the answer.” Oliver eyes her closely. “Perhaps he was born villainous.” “No one is born villainous.” “Oh?” he said with raised eyebrow. “So we’re all born good?” “Neither. We start as animals, with an animal’s needs and desires. It takes parents and teachers and other good examples to show us how to restrain those needs and desires, when necessary, for the greater good. But it’s still our choice whether to heed that education or to do as we please.” “For a woman who loves murder and mayhem, you’re quite the philosopher.” “I like to understand how things work. Why people behave as they do.” He digested that for a moment. “I happen to think that some of us, like Rockton, are born with a wicked bent.” She chose her words carefully. “That certainly provides Rockton with a convenient excuse for his behavior.” His features turned stony. “What do you mean?” “Being moral and disciplined is hard work. Being wicked requires no effort at all-one merely indulges every desire and impulse, no matter how hurtful or immoral. By claiming to be born wicked, Rockton ensures that he doesn’t have to struggle to be god. He can just protest that he can’t help himself.” “Perhaps he can’t,” he clipped out. “Or maybe he’s simply unwilling to fight his impulses. And I want to know the reason for that. That’s why I keep reading Minerva’s books.” Did Oliver actually believe he’d been born irredeemably wicked? How tragic! It lent a hopelessness to his life that helped to explain his mindless pursuit of pleasure. “I can tell you the reason for Rockton’s villainy.” Oliver rose to round the desk. Propping his hip on the edge near her, he reached out to tuck a tendril of hair behind her ear. A sweet shudder swept over her. Why must he have this effect on her? It simply wasn’t fair. “Oh?” she managed. “Rockton knows he can’t have everything he wants,” he said hoarsely, his hand drifting to her cheek. “He can’t have the heroine, for example. She would never tolerate his…wicked impulses. Yet he still wants her. And his wanting consumes him.” Her breath lodged in her throat. It had been days since he’d touched her, and she hadn’t forgotten what it was like for one minute. To have him this near, saying such things… She fought for control over her volatile emotions. “His wanting consumes him precisely because he can’t have her. If he thought he could, he wouldn’t want her after all.” “Not true.” His voice deepening, he stroked the line of her jaw with a tenderness that roused an ache in her chest. “Even Rockton recognizes when a woman is unlike any other. Her very goodness in the face of his villainy bewitches him. He thinks if he can just possess that goodness, then the dark cloud lying on his soul will lift, and he’ll have something other than villainy to sustain him.” “Then he’s mistaken.” Her pulse trebled as his finger swept the hollow of her throat. “The only person who can lift the dark cloud on his soul is himself.” He paused in his caress. “So he’s doomed, then?” “No!” Her gaze flew to his. “No one is doomed, and certainly not Rockton. There’s still hope for him. There is always hope.” His eyes burned with a feverish light, and before she could look away, he bent to kiss her. It was soft, tender…delicious. Someone moaned, she wasn’t sure who. All she knew was that his mouth was on hers again, molding it, tasting it, making her hungry in the way that only he seemed able to do. “Maria…” he breathed. Seizing her by the arms, he drew her up into his embrace. “My God, I’ve thought of nothing but you since that day in the carriage.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
Oh I'll die I'll die I'll die My skin is in blazing furore I do not know what I'll do where I'll go oh I am sick I'll kick all Arts in the butt and go away Shubha Shubha let me go and live in your cloaked melon In the unfastened shadow of dark destroyed saffron curtain The last anchor is leaving me after I got the other anchors lifted I can't resist anymore, a million glass panes are breaking in my cortex I know, Shubha, spread out your matrix, give me peace Each vein is carrying a stream of tears up to the heart Brain's contagious flints are decomposing out of eternal sickness other why didn't you give me birth in the form of a skeleton I'd have gone two billion light years and kissed God's ass But nothing pleases me nothing sounds well I feel nauseated with more than a single kiss I've forgotten women during copulation and returned to the Muse In to the sun-coloured bladder I do not know what these happenings are but they are occurring within me I'll destroy and shatter everything draw and elevate Shubha in to my hunger Shubha will have to be given Oh Malay Kolkata seems to be a procession of wet and slippery organs today But i do not know what I'll do now with my own self My power of recollection is withering away Let me ascend alone toward death I haven't had to learn copulation and dying I haven't had to learn the responsibility of shedding the last drops after urination Haven't had to learn to go and lie beside Shubha in the darkness Have not had to learn the usage of French leather while lying on Nandita's bosom Though I wanted the healthy spirit of Aleya's fresh China-rose matrix Yet I submitted to the refuge of my brain's cataclysm I am failing to understand why I still want to live I am thinking of my debauched Sabarna-Choudhury ancestors I'll have to do something different and new Let me sleep for the last time on a bed soft as the skin of Shubha's bosom I remember now the sharp-edged radiance of the moment I was born I want to see my own death before passing away The world had nothing to do with Malay Roychoudhury Shubha let me sleep for a few moments in your violent silvery uterus Give me peace, Shubha, let me have peace Let my sin-driven skeleton be washed anew in your seasonal bloodstream Let me create myself in your womb with my own sperm Would I have been like this if I had different parents? Was Malay alias me possible from an absolutely different sperm? Would I have been Malay in the womb of other women of my father? Would I have made a professional gentleman of me like my dead brother without Shubha? Oh, answer, let somebody answer these Shubha, ah Shubha Let me see the earth through your cellophane hymen Come back on the green mattress again As cathode rays are sucked up with the warmth of a magnet's brilliance I remember the letter of the final decision of 1956 The surroundings of your clitoris were being embellished with coon at that time Fine rib-smashing roots were descending in to your bosom Stupid relationship inflated in the bypass of senseless neglect Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah I do not know whether I am going to die Squandering was roaring within heart's exhaustive impatience I'll disrupt and destroy I'll split all in to pieces for the sake of Art There isn't any other way out for Poetry except suicide Shubha Let me enter in to the immemorial incontinence of your labia majora In to the absurdity of woeless effort In the golden chlorophyll of the drunken heart Why wasn't I lost in my mother's urethra? Why wasn't I driven away in my father's urine after his self-coition? Why wasn't I mixed in the ovum -flux or in the phlegm? With her eyes shut supine beneath me I felt terribly distressed when I saw comfort seize S
Malay Roychoudhury (Selected Poems)
This is the last word. Jesus always has the last word, and it is always a good last word. It is always about him and it always takes you by surprise with his love and acceptance. What is your response? John’s message is clear: worship him. What does worship him mean? It means everything. It means you turn away from the stagnant pools where you once drank. For the Samaritan woman, it meant she would align her lifestyle with his kingdom. In technical terms, she would repent. She would turn away from acts of death to receive living water, and she would love it. For the young man struggling with thoughts of same-sex attraction, it means that he says to Jesus, “You are not like anyone I have ever known. I trust you.” For the anorectic woman, it means that she no longer puts all her trust in her husband’s love but trusts in Jesus alone, who is the only one capable of bearing the weight of her tremendous emptiness and need.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
In a matter of sixty short minutes, that thing could whisk Neil away to civilization, I thought. Hmm. My goodness, that was a beautiful prospect. Somehow I had to get on that chopper with him. I packed in thirty seconds flat, everything from the past three months. I taped a white cross onto my sleeve, and raced out to where Neil was sat waiting. One chance. What the heck. Neil shook his head at me, smiling. “God, you push it, Bear, don’t you?” he shouted over the noise of the rotors. “You’re going to need a decent medic on the flight,” I replied, with a smile. “And I’m your man.” (There was at least some element of truth in this: I was a medic and I was his buddy--and yes, he did need help. But essentially I was trying to pull a bit of a fast one.) The pilot shouted that two people would be too heavy. “I have to accompany him at all times,” I shouted back over the engine noise. “His feet might fall off at any moment,” I added quietly. The pilot looked back at me, then at the white cross on my sleeve. He agreed to drop Neil somewhere down at a lower altitude, and then come back for me. “Perfect. Go. I’ll be here.” I shook his hand firmly. Let’s just get this done before anyone thinks too much about it, I mumbled to myself. And with that the pilot took off and disappeared from view. Mick and Henry were laughing. “If you pull this one off, Bear, I will eat my socks. You just love to push it, don’t you?” Mick said, smiling. “Yep, good try, but you aren’t going to see him again, I guarantee you,” Henry added. Thanks to the pilot’s big balls, he was wrong. The heli returned empty, I leapt aboard, and with the rotors whirring at full power to get some grip in the thin air, the bird slowly lifted into the air. The stall warning light kept buzzing away as we fought against gravity, but then the nose dipped and soon we were skimming over the rocks, away from base camp and down the glacier. I was out of there--and Mick was busy taking his socks off.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
Gentle hands, soft lips, and hot little breaths down my stomach. Pleasure, a thick syrup pouring over my limbs. My cock rose, growing heavy with desire. We were so new together, by all accounts, I should be panting madly, trying to take over. But I was slowly heating wax molding to her will. Emma palmed me through my briefs, and I grunted. I wanted them off, no barriers between us. As if she heard the silent demand, she kissed my nipple and slowly eased the briefs down. I lifted my butt to help her. My dick slapped against my belly as it was freed. Emma made a noise of appreciation and then wrapped her clever fingers around me. "Please," I whispered. My body was weak, but my need grew stronger, drowning out everything else. She complied, stroking, her lips on my lower abs, teasing along the V leading to my hips. "Em..." My plea broke off into a groan as her hot mouth enveloped me. There were no more words. I let her have me, do as she willed, and I was thankful for it. And it felt so good I could only lie there and take it, try not to thrust into her mouth like an animal. But she pulled free with a lewd pop and gazed up at me. Panting lightly, I stared back at her, ready to promise her anything, when she kissed my pulsing tip. "Go ahead," she said. "Fuck my mouth." I almost spilled right there. She sucked me deep once more, and a sound tore out of me that was part pained, part "Oh God, please don't ever stop." The woman was dismantling me in the best of ways. Waves of heat licked up over my skin as I pumped gently into her mouth, keeping my moves light because I didn't want to hurt her, and because denying myself was outright torture. Apparently, I was into that. She sucked me like I was dessert----all the while, her hand stroking steady circles on the tight, sensitive skin of my lower abs. It was that touch, the knowledge that she was doing this because she wanted to take care of me, that rushed me straight to the edge. My trembling hand touched the crown of her head. "Em. Baby, I'm gonna..." I gasped as she did something truly inspired with her tongue. "I'm gonna..." She pulled free with one last suck and surged up to kiss me, her hand wrapping around my aching dick and stroking it. Panting into her mouth, my kiss frantic and sloppy, I came with a shudder of pleasure. And all the tension, all the pain, dissolved like a sugar cube dropped into hot tea.
Kristen Callihan (Make It Sweet)
Don’t think, muñeca. Everything will work itself out.” “But--” “No buts. Trust me.” My mouth closes over hers. The smell of rain and cookies eases my nerves. My hand braces the small of her back. Her hands grip my soaked shoulders, urging me on. My hands slide under her shirt, and my fingers trace her belly button. “Come to me,” I say, then lift her until she’s straddling me over my bike. I can’t stop kissing her. I whisper how good she feels to me, mixing Spanish and English with every sentence. I move my lips down her neck and linger there until she leans back and lets me take her shirt off. I can make her forget about the bad stuff. When we’re together like this, hell, I can’t think of anything else but her. “I’m losing control,” she admits, biting her lower lip. I love those lips. “Mamacita, I’ve already lost it,” I say, grinding against her so she knows exactly how much control I’ve lost. She moves her hips in a slow rhythm against me, an invitation I don’t deserve. My fingertips graze her mouth. She kisses them before I slowly slide my hand down her chin to her neck and in between her breasts. She catches my hand. “I don’t want to stop, Alex.” I cover her body with mine. I can easily take her. Hell, she’s asking for it. But God help me if I don’t grow a conscience. It’s that loco bet I made with Lucky. And what my mom said about how easy it is to get a girl pregnant. When I made the bet, I had no feelings for this complex white girl. But now…shit, I don’t want to think about my feelings. I hate feelings; they’re only good for screwing up someone’s life. And may God strike me down right now because I want to make love to Brittany, not fuck her on my motorcycle like some cheap whore. I move my hands away from her cuerpo perfecto, the first sane thing I’ve done tonight. “I can’t take you like this. Not here,” I say, my voice hoarse from emotion overload. This girl was going to gift me with her body, even though she knows who I am and what I’m about to do. The reality is hard to swallow. I expect her to be embarrassed, maybe even mad. But she curls into my chest and hugs me. Don’t do this to me, I want to say. Instead I wrap my arms around her and hold on tight. “I love you,” I hear her say so softly it might have been her thoughts. Don’t, I’m tempted to say. ¡Noǃ ¡Noǃ My gut twists and I hold her tighter. Dios mío, if things were different I’d never give her up. I burrow my face in her hair and fantasize about stealing her away from Fairfield. We stay that way for a long time, long after the rain stops and reality sets in.
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
When I’m under stress,” he emphasized, sliding the magnificent emerald onto her finger, “I buy everything in sight. It took my last ounce of control not to buy one of those in every color.” Her eyes lifted from his smiling lips, dropped to the enormous jewel on her finger, and then widened in shock. “Oh, but-“ she exclaimed, staring at it and straightening in his arms. “It’s glorious. I do mean that, but I couldn’t let you-really, I couldn’t. Ian,” she burst out anxiously, sending a tremor through him when she called him by name, “I can’t let you do this. You’ve been extravagantly generous already.” She touched the huge stone almost reverently, then gave her head a practical shake. “I don’t need jewels, really I don’t. You’re doing this because of that stupid remark I made about someone offering me jewels as large as my palm, and now you’ve bought one nearly that large!” “Not quite,” he chuckled. “Why, a stone like this would pay for irrigating Havenhurst and all the servants’ wages for years and years and years, and food to-“ She reached to slide it off her finger. “Don’t!” he warned on a choked laugh, linking his hands behind her back. “I-“ he thought madly for some way to stop her objections-“I cannot possibly return it,” he said. “It’s part of a matched set.” “You don’t mean there’s more!” “I’m afraid so, though I meant to surprise you with them tonight. There’s a necklace and bracelet and earrings.” “Oh, I see,” she said, making a visible effort not to stare at her ring. “Well, I suppose…if it was a purchase of several pieces, the ring alone probably didn’t cost as much as it would have…Do not tell me,” she said severely, when his shoulders began to shake with suppressed mirth, “you actually paid full price for all of the pieces!” Laughing, Ian put his forehead against hers, and he nodded. “It’s very fortunate,” she said, protectively putting her fingers against the magnificent ring, “that I’ve agreed to marry you.” “If you hadn’t,” he laughed, “God knows what I would have bought.” “Or how much you would have paid for it,” she chuckled, cuddling in his arms-for the first time of her own volition. “Do you really do that?” she asked a moment later. “Do what?” he gasped, tears of mirth blurring his vision. “Spend money heedlessly when you’re disturbed about something?” “Yes,” he lied in a suffocated, laughing voice. “You’ll have to stop doing it.” “I’m going to try.” “I could help you.” “Please do.” “You may place yourself entirely in my hands.” “I’m very much looking forward to that.” It was the first time Ian had ever kissed a woman while he was laughing.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
I maintain that nothing need be destroyed, that we only need to destroy the idea of God in man, that's how we have to set to work. It's that, that we must begin with. Oh, the blind race of men who have no understanding! As soon as men have all of them denied God - and I believe that period, analogous with geological periods, will come to pass - the old conception of the universe will fall of itself without cannibalism, and, what's more, the old morality, and everything will begin anew. Men will unite to take from life all it can give, but only for joy and happiness in the present world. Man will be lifted up with a spirit of divine Titanic pride and the man-god will appear. From hour to hour extending his conquest of nature infinitely by his will and his science, man will feel such lofty joy from hour to hour in doing it that it will make up for all his old dreams of joy and heaven. Everyone will know that he is mortal and will accept death proudly and serenely like a god. His pride will teach him that it's useless for him to repine at life's being a moment, and he will love his brother without need of reward. Love will be sufficient only for a moment of life, but the very consciousness of its momentariness will intensify its fire, which now is dissipated in dreams of eternal love beyond the grave.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
Lucian groaned, the sound almost animal. I arched my back in response, pulled by his need, my bared breast coming closer to the wall of his chest. I wanted to feel his skin on mine. But he didn't move. He gripped the edge tighter, his body working with heaving pants. "Fuck," he whispered. His pale gaze flicked to mine, a furrow knitting between his brows. "I want a taste. Please. God. Please, Em." That he was undone nearly had me sliding under the water. But the need in his eyes made me whimper. Lids heavy with desire, I nodded, and he swallowed hard, his expression becoming fierce. "Just a taste," he said, as if to hold himself to that. I whimpered, and his hot gaze snared with mine. Something passed over his expression----determination, reassurance, I couldn't tell; lust and need had scattered all rational thought. "Just a taste," he said again. "Take it," I whimpered, barely able to form the words. Lucian let out a breath, his mouth moving closer. "Fuck. Em... lift that sweetness up for me." My breath left in a swoosh, everything squeezing with a lovely tightness. With a shaking hand, I cupped my breast and lifted it out of the water. Offering myself to him. On a groan, he ducked his head. The hot, wet flat of his tongue dragged over my cold flesh. I let out a cry, a bolt of pleasure punching to my core. He made a sound of pure hunger, his lips gently kissing the tip before he sucked it deep...
Kristen Callihan (Make It Sweet)
She stared at him. Her head tipped to the side and she narrowed her eyes. “That’s the best you can come up with? What kind of platitude is that?” “Give me a second. I can do better.” He lifted her hand, then reached for her other one. He pulled her close so they stood toe to toe. She shivered a little. He didn’t think it had much to do with the cold. Her arms were bare, but the evening was warm. “Everything happens for a reason. God works in mysterious ways. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” “You suck at this.” But she was smiling. She was so achingly beautiful. He slid his hands up her arms to her elbows so they were closer still. And then she leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder, and he forgot how to breathe. He stood in the shadows, holding her in his arms, wanting to do the right thing and afraid he’d screw it all up. Her hands nestled the small of his back, thumbs hooked through his belt. Her lips brushed against the sensitive base of his throat. Awareness burned through every single spot her body came in contact with his. This was Danni, all grown up. He wanted one little taste. Just a bit. So he kissed her. And, without a second’s hesitation, she kissed him back. The world around them rocked back on its heels. Then some small noise interrupted—the sound of footsteps, passing too close. He lifted his head, not wanting any intrusion, and the moment ended as fast as it had begun.
Paula Altenburg (I'll Love You Forever)
All my life, everything’s been smooth and easy. My family loves me, lots of friends, I never wanted for anything. Nothing bad has ever happened to me. I knew God loved me. But now . . .” “He still loves you, sweetheart.” Hutch winced, and his cheeks flamed. Why on earth did he call her sweetheart? “I know. But I’ve always been good, and my life’s always been good, and now . . .” “Now your life stinks.” She lifted her face to look at him, so close he’d barely have to move to kiss her. He wouldn’t mind the taste of tears. “It does stink.” She buried her face in his shoulder again. “And you haven’t stopped being good.” “No. I know the Lord doesn’t make bargains like that. I know good people suffer and the wicked prosper, but I always thought . . .” Hutch sighed and rubbed her back. “You always thought you were the exception.” “It sounds stupid.” “No. It was a reasonable assumption based on observation.” Georgie sagged in his arms. “I also thought God spared me because I’m weak. He knows I can’t handle tragedy.” “Well, then.” He gave her a squeeze. “This tragedy shows you what I already know. You are strong enough. This is hard, the hardest thing you’ve ever gone through, but you can handle it if you lean on God. You’ll come through stronger and wiser and even more compassionate because of it.” “Thank you. You’re such a good friend.” Her arms loosened around his waist, and she pulled back slightly, staring at his chest. “I should get going. I just wanted to say good-bye.
Sarah Sundin (On Distant Shores (Wings of the Nightingale, #2))
The Hunter: “Your future refuses to behave.” Coo-yôn yanked off the jacket he’d sourced for me. Up was down. Then he stepped back. And released me— I toppled over, falling out of my seat onto the ground. Was the sosie dumping me on the side of the road? ’Cause I was about to die? “Now, let’s just talk . . . ’bout this, coo-yôn.” He caught hold of my good ankle, then dragged me farther away from the truck. He’d hauled me into . . . a bank of snow. _______________ The Empress: I’d thought the sight of snow—and all the emotions it brought—would make me less likely to be with Aric. Just the opposite; because I could see my future so clearly. If he died before I did, some symbol—like snow—would mark the end of his existence. Later I would experience that waypoint (because everything was connected) and wish to God I’d taken a different path. I decided then that I would map my own journey and mark my own waypoints. The snow would symbolize both the end of one story and the beginning of another. A new slate. But not a blank one. The red ribbon would be a cherished remembrance, but I wouldn’t keep it with me at all times. I lay in the snow and lifted my hand to the sky. Flakes landed on my damp face. Each one was a cool kiss good-bye. _____________ The Hunter Lying in that bank of snow, I gazed up at the falling flakes. They drifted over my face. Soft, soft. Like Evie’s lips. With effort, I lifted my scarred hand to the sky. I closed my eyes and pretended my Evangeline was caring for me. J’ai savouré. I savored each cold kiss. . . .
Kresley Cole (Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4))
I’ve been so mean to my body, outright hateful. I disparage her and call her names, I loathe parts of her and withhold care. I insist on physical standards she can never reach, for that is not how she is even made, but I detest her weakness for not pulling it off. I deny her things she loves depending on the current fad: bread, cheddar cheese, orange juice, baked potatoes. I push her too hard and refuse her enough rest. No matter what she accomplishes, I’m never happy with her. I’ve barely acknowledged her role in every precious experience of my life. I look at her with contempt. And yet every morning, no matter how terrible I have been to her, she gets us out of bed, nurtures the family, meets the needs of the day. She tells me when I am hungry or tired and sends special red-alert signals when I am overwhelmed or scared. She has safely gotten me to and from a thousand cities with fresh energy. She flushes with red wine, which she loves, which is pretty cute. She walked the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, the red dirt of Uganda, the steep opulence of Santorini, the ruins of Pompeii. She senses danger, trouble, land mines; she is never wrong. Every single time, she tells me when not to say something. She has cooked ten thousand meals. She prays without being told to; sometimes I realize she is whispering to God for us. She walks and cooks and lifts and hugs and types and drives and cleans and holds babies and rests and laughs and does everything in her power to live another meaningful, connected day on this earth. She sure does love me and my life and family. Maybe it is time to stop hating her and just love her back.
Jen Hatmaker (Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You)
But if her idiot suitors were staying at Halstead Hall with her, then by thunder, he'd be here, too. They wouldn't take advantage of her on his watch. "We're agreed that you won't do any of that foolish nonsense you mentioned, like spying on them, right?" "Of course not. That's what I have you for." Her private lackey to jump at her commands. He was already regretting this. "Surely the gentlemen will accept the invitation," she went on, blithely ignoring his disgruntlement. "It's hunting season, and the estate has some excellent coveys." "I wouldn't know." She cast him an easy smile. "Because you generally hunt men, not grouse. And apparently you do it very well." A compliment? From her "No need to flatter me, my lady," he said dryly. "I've already agreed to your scheme." Her smile vanished. "Really, Mr. Pinter, sometimes you can be so..." "Honest?" he prodded. "Irritating." She tipped up her chin. "It will be easier to work together if you're not always so prickly." He felt more than prickly, and for the most foolish reasons imaginable. Because he didn't like her trawling for suitors. Or using him to do it. And because he hated her "lady of the manor" role. It reminded him too forcibly of the difference in their stations. "I am who I am, madam," he bit out, as much a reminder for himself as for her. "You knew what you were purchasing when you set out to do this." She frowned. "Must you make it sound so sordid?" He stepped as close as he dared. "You want me to gather information you can use in playing a false role to catch s husband. I am not the one making it sordid." "Tell me, sir, will I have to endure your moralizing at every turn?" she said in a voice dripping with sugar. "Because I'd happily pay extra to have you keep your opinions to yourself." "There isn't enough money in all the world for that." Her eyes blazed up at him. Good. He much preferred her in a temper. At least then she was herself, not putting on some show. She seemed to catch herself, pasting an utterly false smile to her lips. "I see. Well then, can you manage to be civil for the house party? It does me no good to bring suitors here if you'll be skulking about, making them uncomfortable." He tamped down the urge to provoke her further. If he did she'd strike off on her own, and that would be disastrous. "I shall try to keep my 'skulking' to a minimum." "Thank you." She thrust out her hand. "Shall we shake on it?" The minute his fingers closed about hers, he wished he'd refused. Because having her soft hand in his roused everything he'd been trying to suppress during this interview. He couldn't seem to let go. For such a small-boned female, she had a surprisingly firm grip. Her hand was like her-fragility and strength all wrapped in beauty. He had a mad impulse to lift it to his lips and press a kiss to her creamy skin. But he was no Lancelot to her Guinevere. Only in legend did lowly knights dare to court queens. Releasing her hand before he could do something stupid, he sketched a bow. "Good day, my lady. I'll begin my investigation at once and report to you as soon as I learn something." He left her standing there, a goddess surrounded by the aging glories of an aristocrat's mansion. God save him-this had to be the worst mission he'd ever undertaken, one he was sure to regret.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
Can anything possibly be salvaged from it?” Wherever you are right now in the story, I am going to interrupt you with Isaiah 35. The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. (verses 1–2) There is nothing wrong with a desert that a little rain can’t fix. Dry land is not inherently barren; the dirt itself is not evil. We are after all “formed…of dust from the ground” (Genesis 2:7). And no one’s life is apart from that basic ground from which God can bring his purposes to blossom. There are stretches of time when nothing is growing, but all the while nutrients are in the soil and seeds embedded just beneath the surface. A moment will come when the necessary moisture will bring faith to flower. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” (verses 3–4) You think that you have all you can take? That you can’t lift another burden? That you can’t manage another challenge? Well, “Be strong…! Behold, your God.” God comes. He comes in “vengeance.” He will take care, decisively and completely, of all that is wrong with the story. He comes with “recompense.” He will provide everything to make you whole and mature. The word recompense has a root meaning of “weaning from the mother’s breast.” A happy time, for it means you are making a transition from being a weak and dependent infant, but it’s a terrifying time too, for it means you are no longer treated indulgently as an innocent. “He will come and save you.” Everything God does is woven into the plot for your salvation—the judgments on your sin, the weaning from your innocence, the gifts of maturity. At the end of the story, for you who choose to be his people, you will have a put-together life, a life vibrant with health, a life whole and solid in love.
Eugene H. Peterson (As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God)
And then his mouth was on her, his tongue stroking in long, slow licks, curling almost unbearably at the place where pleasure pooled and strained and begged for release. She cried out, sitting up straight before he lifted his head and pressed one large hand to her soft stomach. "Lie back... let me taste you. Let me show you how good it can be. Watch. Tell me what you like. What you need." And she did, God help her. As he licked and sucked with his perfect tongue and his wicked lips, she whispered her encouragement, learning what she wanted even as she was not sure of the end result. More, Michael.... Her hands slid into his curls, holding him close to her. Michael, again... Her thighs widened, willing and wanton. There, Michael... Michael... He was her world. There was nothing beyond this moment. And then his fingers joined his tongue, and she thought she might die as he pressed more firmly, rubbed more deliberately, giving her everything for which she did not know to ask. Her eyes flew open, his name on a gasp. His tongue moved faster, circling at the place where she needed him, and she moved, all inhibitions gone, lost to the rising, cresting pleasure... wanting nothing more than to know what lay beyond. "Please, don't stop," she whispered. He didn't. With his name on her lips, she threw herself over the edge, rocking against him, pressing to him, begging for more even as he gave it to her with tongue and lips and fingers until she lost awareness of everything but the bold, brilliant pleasure he gave her. As she floated back from her climax, he pressed long lovely kisses to the inside of her thighs until she sighed his name and reached for his soft mahogany curls, wanting nothing more than to lie next to him for an hour... a day... a lifetime. He stilled at her touch as her fingers sifted through his hair, and they remained that way for long moments. She was limp with pleasure, her whole world in the feel of his silken curls in her hands, in the scrape of his beard at the soft skin of her thigh.
Sarah MacLean (A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1))
But wait. My eyes are almost burned by what I see. There’s a bowl in front of me that wasn’t there before. A brown button bowl and in it some apricots, some small oranges, some nuts, cherries, a banana. The fruits, the colours, mesmerize me in a quiet rapture that spins through my head. I am entranced by colour. I lift an orange into the flat filthy palm of my hand and feel and smell and lick it. The colour orange, the colour, the colour, my God the colour orange. Before me is a feast of colour. I feel myself begin to dance, slowly, I am intoxicated by colour. I feel the colour in a quiet somnambulant rage. Such wonder, such absolute wonder in such an insignificant fruit. I cannot. I will not eat this fruit. I sit in quiet joy, so complete, beyond the meaning of joy. My soul finds its own completeness in that bowl of colour. The forms of each fruit. The shape and curl and bend all so rich, so perfect. I want to bow before it. Loving that blazing, roaring, orange colour ... Everything meeting in a moment of colour and form, my rapture no longer abstract euphoria. It is there in that tiny bowl, the world recreated in that broken bowl. I feel the smell of each fruit leaping into me and lifting me and carrying me away. I am drunk with something that I understand but cannot explain. I am filled with a sense of love. I am filled and satiated by it. What I have waited and longed for has without my knowing come to me, and taken all of me. For days I sit in a kind of dreamy lethargy, in part contemplation and in part worship. The walls seem to be singing. I focus all of my attention on the bowl of fruit. At times I fondle the fruits, at times I rearrange them, but I cannot eat them. I cannot hold the ecstasy of the moment and its passionate intensity. It seems to drift slowly from me as the place in which I am being held comes back to remind me of where I am and of my condition. But my containment does not oppress me. I sit and look at the walls but now this room seems so expansive, it seems I can push the walls away from me. I can reach out and touch them from where I sit and yet they are so far from me.
Brian Keenan (An Evil Cradling)
So your theory is that Nancy plans to marry Samuel, pass off as her own the child he fathered on her maid, and then raise it, assuming it’s a boy, to be heir to the title. That doesn’t gain Nancy much, does it? It’s not her son, and she’s not Samuel’s only lover. He and his mistress and the son get everything; she gets only the privilege of knowing she’s married to a seducer.” Dom ignored the fact that some of what she said made sense. “She gains an exalted rank as mother to the new viscount. She gains a husband she’s always coveted. And she might not even care if Samuel was having an affair with her maid--you said yourself that Nancy wasn’t fond of the intimate side of marriage.” The moment Jane paled, he realized what he’d said. Something highly inappropriate. Something that revealed just how frank he and Jane had been in their conversations. God only knew what Blakeborough would make of that. Bloody hell. Whatever it was, it wouldn’t help Dom’s situation with Jane any. Not that any of this would. Damn Nancy for coming between them yet again. Jane’s gaze turned stormy as she poked him in the chest. “You’ve got it all figured out, don’t you? But as usual, you ignore all the ways that your theory doesn’t fit.” He stared her down. “Such as what?” Again she poked him in the chest. “Why did Samuel mention coming to London to see a doctor if they were sure that Nancy had lost the baby?” Another poke. “Why did she leave York in such strange circumstances that she roused our suspicions?” Poke. “Why did she not even pack bags for the journey?” When she started to poke him once more, he grabbed her hand. “Perhaps she and Barlow worked up the scheme once she got to York.” Jane snatched her hand free. “And she didn’t try to return to Rathmoor Park to allay the servants’ suspicions or pack or even take her dogs?” “Nancy didn’t take her dogs?” Sadler echoed. “That’s not right, not right at all. That girl carries those deuced dogs everywhere. Many is the trip I’ve taken with her when I’ve had to endure the mutts in my lap.” Sadler approached to stand beside Jane. “I tell you, the only way she’d leave them behind is if Barlow abducted her and forced her to do his bidding. That’s what has happened. I know it!” With a smug lift of her eyebrow, Jane crossed her arms over her chest and dared Dom to refute that. He couldn’t. Because until he could investigate more, he simply couldn’t be sure of the truth, damn it.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
IT’S ONLY SOUND Let me ask you an honest question. Is your music subject to God’s approval? If you discovered that He desired for you to listen to a different kind of music, would you obey willingly and gladly? Or would you resist and cling to “what you like”? Recently in a counseling session, I was speaking with a teenage young man about the power of music. After some thought about how strongly his music was holding on to his heart, he lifted his head, sort of chuckled and said, “It’s kind of strange when you really think about it…it’s only music…it’s only sound.” Oh, but how powerful that sound is! Just try to take away or suggest danger in the favorite CD or the favorite CCM group of a supposedly “surrendered” Christian. You’ll get everything from rage to ridicule—real fruits of the Spirit—all qualities that are produced by just such “good, godly music.” I’m being intentionally sarcastic to cause you to think. If pop-styled Christian music is so spiritually effective, why aren’t we having revival? Why isn’t it producing more holy, more separated, more godly individuals? Why are young people leaving Christianity in record numbers? Why do we have to have the world’s music? Should music really be such a stronghold in the Christian heart or in the local church? Should such self-absorption be the guiding force of our choices in entertainment? Should we view our music as entertainment at all? Does God really like “all kinds” of music? Music has a much higher purpose than our pleasure. Reducing music to mere entertainment would be something like asking a brain surgeon to roast marshmallows for a living. No, music is much too powerful and spiritually significant to reduce it to a petty place of pleasure. First Corinthians 10:14 admonishes us, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” Again in Colossians 3:5 we’re told to, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” God commands us to “mortify” or “put to death” our “members.” Anything less than full surrender of our bodies (including our ears) to God is a subtle form of idolatry. Is music an idol in your life? Is it a stronghold? Are you addicted to your style, your group, your sound? Do you find yourself putting up a wall of defense in your heart, even as you read these words? Is your primary concern that it “makes you feel good” or that you listen to “what you like”? Think about it. It’s only sound.
Cary Schmidt (Music Matters: Understanding and Applying the Amazing Power of Godly Music)
In a matter of sixty short minutes, that thing could whisk Neil away to civilization, I thought. Hmm. My goodness, that was a beautiful prospect. Somehow I had to get on that chopper with him. I packed in thirty seconds flat, everything from the past three months. I taped a white cross onto my sleeve, and raced out to where Neil was sat waiting. One chance. What the heck. Neil shook his head at me, smiling. “God, you push it, Bear, don’t you?” he shouted over the noise of the rotors. “You’re going to need a decent medic on the flight,” I replied, with a smile. “And I’m your man.” (There was at least some element of truth in this: I was a medic and I was his buddy--and yes, he did need help. But essentially I was trying to pull a bit of a fast one.) The pilot shouted that two people would be too heavy. “I have to accompany him at all times,” I shouted back over the engine noise. “His feet might fall off at any moment,” I added quietly. The pilot looked back at me, then at the white cross on my sleeve. He agreed to drop Neil somewhere down at a lower altitude, and then come back for me. “Perfect. Go. I’ll be here.” I shook his hand firmly. Let’s just get this done before anyone thinks too much about it, I mumbled to myself. And with that the pilot took off and disappeared from view. Mick and Henry were laughing. “If you pull this one off, Bear, I will eat my socks. You just love to push it, don’t you?” Mick said, smiling. “Yep, good try, but you aren’t going to see him again, I guarantee you,” Henry added. Thanks to the pilot’s big balls, he was wrong. The heli returned empty, I leapt aboard, and with the rotors whirring at full power to get some grip in the thin air, the bird slowly lifted into the air. The stall warning light kept buzzing away as we fought against gravity, but then the nose dipped and soon we were skimming over the rocks, away from base camp and down the glacier. I was out of there--and Mick was busy taking his socks off. As we descended, I spotted, far beneath us, this lone figure sat on a rock in the middle of a giant boulder field. Neil’s two white “beacons” shining bright. I love it. I smiled. We picked Neil up, and in an instant we were flying together through the huge Himalayan valleys like an eagle freed. Neil and I sat back in the helicopter, faces pressed against the glass, and watched our life for the past three months become a shimmer in the distance. The great mountain faded into a haze, hidden from sight. I leaned against Neil’s shoulder and closed my eyes. Everest was gone.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
I realized something tonight when you were in the arena doing your thing.” She took another deep breath of the roses’ scent. “What was it?” “I love you, Elle.” Her eyes flared wide to search his and her heart stopped. “Do you love me?” “Yes, I love you, Chase.” Simple, sure, an indisputable fact she couldn’t’ve held on her tongue if she’d wanted to. But was she ready to love somebody who loved her back? Was she? “You had me since Spin Master,” he said, with that grin she loved. “But I didn’t know it ‘til tonight.” “Oh, well, then, I get it,” she said, smiling back. “You only loved me ‘cause I saved your life.” “I want you to save it again.” He stood up to pull something out of the front pocket of his starched jeans. He reached for her hand. “I’m asking you to marry me, Elle. Will you?” Tears blurred her vision. They caught in her throat. Oh, God, how could she ever be a wife again? But how could she ever leave Chase? She tried to buy herself a little time to think. “You said you don’t trust women.” “Only you. I trust you. I trusted you with my life the first time I ever saw you.” That made her grin. And then she felt very solemn. He was looking right into her soul, holding her hand in his big calloused one. She clung to it. “You’re in a league of your own, Elle. Not just was a bull-fighter, but in every way.” She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know what to think. She knew she loved him, but this was scary. “You’re not the marrying kind, Chase. You’ve told me that a dozen times.” “I changed my mind.” “I’ve been married, Chase. It didn’t last. I left him.” He lifted one big shoulder. “What will last is that I love you,” he said. “That’ll never change. I’ll follow you all over the country if I have to, just to get a glimpse of you. Just to hear you laugh. You can work as many rodeos as you want. You can do anything you want and even if I’m not there, wherever I am, I’ll be loving you. Until I die.” “You’re looking at me as if it’s a done deal,” she said, smiling. His grin broadened. “It is. I can convince you. I know I’m good.” She laughed. “You might as well save us some time. You know I got no quit in me.” “Yes, I do know that.” “So what do you say?” “The main problem is that you’re not the man who’ll do everything I say. I told you that’s what I have to have before I’ll marry again.” “How d’you know I’m not him? I’ve been pretty pliable here lately, wouldn’t you say?” “You are so full of it, Chase Lomax.” “You’re the one who told me I have to get a life after rodeo. Well, that’s exactly what I’m tryin’ to do, right here.
Genell Dellin (Montana Gold)
May God’s people never eat rabbit or pork (Lev. 11:6–7)? May a man never have sex with his wife during her monthly period (Lev. 18:19) or wear clothes woven of two kinds of materials (Lev. 19:19)? Should Christians never wear tattoos (Lev. 19:28)? Should those who blaspheme God’s name be stoned to death (Lev. 24:10–24)? Ought Christians to hate those who hate God (Ps. 139:21–22)? Ought believers to praise God with tambourines, cymbals, and dancing (Ps. 150:4–5)? Should Christians encourage the suffering and poor to drink beer and wine in order to forget their misery (Prov. 31:6–7)? Should parents punish their children with rods in order to save their souls from death (Prov. 23:13–14)? Does much wisdom really bring much sorrow and more knowledge more grief (Eccles. 1:18)? Will becoming highly righteous and wise destroy us (Eccles. 7:16)? Is everything really meaningless (Eccles. 12:8)? May Christians never swear oaths (Matt. 5:33–37)? Should we never call anyone on earth “father” (Matt. 23:9)? Should Christ’s followers wear sandals when they evangelize but bring no food or money or extra clothes (Mark 6:8–9)? Should Christians be exorcising demons, handling snakes, and drinking deadly poison (Mark 16:15–18)? Are people who divorce their spouses and remarry always committing adultery (Luke 16:18)? Ought Christians to share their material goods in common (Acts 2:44–45)? Ought church leaders to always meet in council to issue definitive decisions on matters in dispute (Acts 15:1–29)? Is homosexuality always a sin unworthy of the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9–10)? Should unmarried men not look for wives (1 Cor. 7:27) and married men live as if they had no wives (1 Cor. 7:29)? Is it wrong for men to cover their heads (1 Cor. 11:4) or a disgrace of nature for men to wear long hair (1 Cor. 11:14)? Should Christians save and collect money to send to believers in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:1–4)? Should Christians definitely sing psalms in church (Col. 3:16)? Must Christians always lead quiet lives in which they work with their hands (1 Thess. 4:11)? If a person will not work, should they not be allowed to eat (2 Thess. 3:10)? Ought all Christian slaves always simply submit to their masters (reminder: slavery still exists today) (1 Pet. 2:18–21)? Must Christian women not wear braided hair, gold jewelry, and fine clothes (1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:3)? Ought all Christian men to lift up their hands when they pray (1 Tim. 2:8)? Should churches not provide material help to widows who are younger than sixty years old (1 Tim. 5:9)? Will every believer who lives a godly life in Christ be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12)? Should the church anoint the sick with oil for their healing (James 5:14–15)? The list of such questions could be extended.
Christian Smith (The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture)
Which reminds me that you’ve never said how you dueled at Needles against the city’s finest fighter and won.” It would be a mistake to tell him. It would defy the simplest rule of warfare: to hide one’s strengths and weaknesses for as long as possible. Yet Kestrel told Arin the story of how she had beaten Irex. Arin covered his face with one floured hand and peeked at her between his fingers. “You are terrifying. Gods help me if I cross you, Kestrel.” “You already have,” she pointed out. “But am I your enemy?” Arin crossed the space between them. Softly, he repeated, “Am I?” She didn’t answer. She concentrated on the feel of the table’s edge pressing into the small of her back. The table was simple and real, joined wood and nails and right corners. No wobble. No give. “You’re not mine,” Arin said. And kissed her. Kestrel’s lips parted. This was real, yet not simple at all. He smelled of woodsmoke and sugar. Sweet beneath the burn. He tasted like the honey he’d licked off his fingers minutes before. Her heartbeat skidded, and it was she who leaned greedily into the kiss, she who slid one knee between his legs. Then his breath went ragged and the kiss grew dark and deep. He lifted her up onto the table so that her face was level with his, and as they kissed it seemed that words were hiding in the air around them, that they were invisible creatures that feathered against her and Arin, then nudged, and buzzed, and tugged. Speak, they said. Speak, the kiss answered. Love was on the tip of Kestrel’s tongue. But she couldn’t say that. How could she ever say that, after everything between them, after fifty keystones paid into the auctioneer's hand, after hours of Kestrel secretly wondering what it would sound like if Arin sang while she played, after wrists bound together and the crack of her knee under a boot and Arin confessing in the carriage on Firstwinter night. It had felt like a confession. But it wasn’t. He had said nothing of the plot. Even if he had, it still would have been too late, with everything to his advantage. Kestrel remembered again her promise to Jess. If she didn’t leave this house now, she would betray herself. She would give herself to someone whose Firstwinter kiss had led her to believe she was all that he wanted, when he had hoped to flip the world so that he was at its top and she was at its bottom. Kestrel pulled away. Arin was apologizing. He was asking what he had done wrong. His face was flushed, mouth swollen. He was saying something about how maybe it was too soon, but that they could have a life here. Together. “My soul is yours,” he said. “You know that it is.” She lifted a hand, as much to block his face from her sight as to stop those words. She walked out of the kitchen. It took all of her pride not to run.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
23 When He Carries a Heavy Burden Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. GALATIANS 6:2 SOCIETY PUTS A LOT OF WEIGHT on a man’s shoulders. It is his burden to earn the finances to support his family. He is expected to do well at his work and on his job. There are so many expectations of him in that regard that he feels the pressure of it constantly. That’s why you read about so many men committing suicide when they are in serious financial trouble. The burden is too great. Few women commit suicide for financial failure. If you or I fell into financial ruin, we would just sell everything, pay off all the debts we could, get a job, and start over. Men can feel the burden of failure in life-threatening ways. That’s why your husband needs your prayers to keep his burdens lifted. One of the best ways to bear your husband’s burden is to pray for him about whatever heavy load he is carrying. Every time you do, pray especially for what burdens him the most. One of the most effective things you can do is let him know you are praying for him and ask him to tell you what his burdens are. He may reveal something you didn’t even know was bothering him. God’s Word says that sometimes our burden comes from the oppressor. The children of Israel had an oppressor, and they were overtaken by this oppressor because of their own disobedience. But God promised that the burden the oppressor put on them would eventually be broken by the power of His Spirit. “It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil” (Isaiah 10:27). The anointing oil refers to a work of the Holy Spirit. Your prayers can invite the Holy Spirit to break any burden of the oppressor off of your husband’s shoulders. You will be fulfilling the “law of Christ” every time you pray like that, not to mention how it will secure your husband’s devotion. My Prayer to God LORD, I pray my husband will be able to fully release his burdens to You. I know that when we cast our burdens on You, You will sustain us and not allow us to be shaken (Psalm 55:22 NASB). Help me to bear his burdens in prayer and in any other way You reveal to me. Show me what his greatest burden is and what I can do to lighten it. I ask that You would relieve him of his heavy load by Your presence in his life. Enable him to understand that when he yokes up with You, You will carry the burden for him. I pray that when he is oppressed by the enemy, whatever prayer or supplication is made by him—when he acknowledges his own burdens before You and turns to You for help—that You will hear him (2 Chronicles 6:29-30). I also pray that as You take his burden from him, he will know it’s You doing the heavy lifting. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional)
A box sat on top of Jade’s pillows, wrapped in green paper with a white bow. He frowned slightly. Who would’ve left a gift on Jade’s bed? “You have a present.” “What?” Jade turned her head when he gestured toward the box. Confusion filled her eyes. She sat up and reached for the box. “I don’t understand.” Zach sat by her again and wrapped his arm around her waist. “Maybe there’s a card.” After searching beneath the large white bow, Jade pulled out a small envelope. Zach looked over her shoulder as she withdrew the card and read it aloud. “‘To Mom and Zach. Have fun tonight. Bre.’” Zach chuckled, both at Breanna’s card and at Jade’s blush. “Your daughter has quite a sense of humor.” “My daughter deserves to be spanked.” She lifted the box onto her lap. “I’m afraid to open it.” “Would you like me to? It’s addressed to both of us.” “I’m even more afraid for you to open it.” “Go ahead. It can’t be that bad.” “You don’t know my daughter.” Untying the bow, Jade raised the lid and pulled apart the bright green tissue paper. Several sex toys lay in the box. She gasped. “Oh, my God. I can’t believe she did this!” She started to push the tissue paper back over the contents, but Zach held her hand to stop her. “Wait. Let’s see what she bought.” “I am going to kill her, after I beat her.” Chuckling, Zach dug through the box, lifting the different items as he came to them. “Cock ring. Chocolate body paint. Stay-hard gel.” He looked into Jade’s eyes. “I don’t think I’ll need that tonight.” Her cheeks turned a deep pink. He dropped a kiss on her lips before beginning to explore again. “Anal beads. Ben-Wa balls. Fur-lined handcuffs. Nipple clamps. Lemon-flavored nipple cream.” His gaze dipped to her breasts. “Interesting.” She huffed out a breath. “Can we close the box now?” “Not yet. I like it when you blush.” Zach grinned when Jade scowled at him. “This is completely spoiling the mood.” “I won’t have any problem getting hard again.” “Zach!” Ignoring her outraged tone, he continued to sift through the items. “Lifelike dildo.” He held it up to eye level. “Close, but not quite as big as I am.” Jade covered her eyes with one hand. “I don’t believe this,” she muttered. “Butt plug. Wait, I’m wrong. It’s a vibrating butt plug. Very interesting. I hope you have batteries. Never mind. Breanna included several packages.” “Okay, that’s enough.” Jade tried to jerk the box out of his reach, but Zach held on to the side. “There’re only a couple more items. We might as well see what they are.” “I don’t care what they are.” “You might care about one of them.” Zach held up a large box of condoms. “Oh.” He turned the box in his hand. “I’m flattered, but I don’t think I’ll be able to use one hundred of these tonight.” “One hundred?” “All different types, sizes, and colors.” Jade laughed. “Oh, Bre.” She pushed her hair behind one ear. “What’s the last thing?” “Cherry-flavored lubricant. It looks like she thought of everything.” “You must think my daughter is crazy.” “I think your daughter loves you very much and wants you to be happy.” “That’s true. But we won’t use all this…stuff.” “Who says we won’t?
Lynn LaFleur (Rent-A-Stud (Coopers' Companions, #1))
He adopted his standard mocking approach. “Having trouble getting out of the pool, Lily? There’s a ladder on the side for the old ladies who come and do aqua aerobics.” Everything inside her stilled. That condescending wretch. She felt him come closer, and was careful not to stir an inch, not even a hair. “You should get out of the pool and take a long hot shower. It’ll make you feel better,” he suggested, not ungently. His brow furrowed with worry. She ignored the thread of concern in his voice and concentrated on not moving too suddenly. Slowly, as if in unbearable agony, she lifted her head. He was dressed once more in his khakis and shirt, his sneakers were in one hand, his gear bag in the other. Good. She let her face crumble, her expression slip into wretchedness. Her lower lip trembled, a special added effect. “I—I’m not sure I can even make it to the ladder,” she confessed haltingly. “My whole body’s shot.” Damn, she must be hurting worse than he’d imagined. Trying not to stare at her lush lower lip quivering helplessly, Sean dropped his gear bag and stepped forward. “Here,” he said, leaning over, stretching out his hand. “Grab my hand. I’ll pull you out.” She’d braced her feet against the wall of the pool, knowing she’d have to strike fast. They grasped hands. The second his tightened about her forearm, she jerked backward with all her strength. Physics were on her side. Caught off balance, Sean somersaulted through the air, with only enough time to yell, “Shit!” before he landed with a cannonball-sized splash. Lily braced her arms on the pool deck. She’d intended to jump out and make a mad dash for the ladies’ locker room but her efforts were hampered by her convulsive laughter. A surprised “Oof!” flew from her lips. Sean’s arm had snaked out and wrapped around her waist, dumping her backward into the water. She pushed to the surface to find Sean glowering menacingly. He was sopping wet and just as furious. Lily’s laughter redoubled, then died away when his hands took her by the shoulders and pulled her close. Mere inches separated their bodies. “What are you doing?” Her voice came out an alarmed squeak. Her eyes flew to his. They sparkled with green and gold lights. “Payback time, Lily. You’ve pushed me once too often. I had my cell phone in my pocket. I don’t think it’s waterproof. My leather wallet is in my rear pocket, crammed with pictures of my adorable niece and nephew. Basically, Banyon, you owe me. Big time.” His tanned face, with drops of water still clinging to its chiseled planes, descended. He was going to kiss her, she realized, panic-stricken at the thought. “Don’t, Sean, don’t!” “I think I have to. It’s been a long time coming. Oh, by the way, I like lots of tongue.” Indignant, her mouth opened, ready to skewer him. But Sean was quicker. He shut Lily up the way he’d been dreaming of for so long. For years she’d driven him mad, made him crazed with desire. Now, by God, he was going to taste her. The passion and frustration inside him erupted. He seized her mouth, molding her lips to his own. Carnal fantasies gave way to a reality a thousand times sweeter. Starved for her, Sean’s lips plundered, boldly claiming her as his.
Laura Moore (Night Swimming: A Novel)
Wyatt." She tore it open and stood there, drinking him in.Just the sight of him had her heart doing a happy dance in her chest. "Don't throw me out." He lifted a hand. "I come in peace.With food." When she didn't say a word he added, "Pizza.With all your favorite toppings.Sausage, mushrooms, green..." "Well,then." To hide the unexpected tears that sprang to her eyes,she turned away quickly. "Since you went to so much trouble,you may as well come in." "It was no trouble.I just rode a hundred miles on my Harley,fought my way through the smoke screen at the Fortune Saloon,had to fend off Daffy's attempts to have her way with me, and discovered that I'd left my wallet back at the ranch,which meant I had to sign away my life before Vi would turn over this pizza,wine,and dessert. But hey, no trouble at all.It's the sort of thing I do nearly every day." He followed her to the kitchen, where he set down the pizza box and a brown bag. He glanced over at the stove. "Are you going to lift that kettle, or did I interrupt you making a recording of you whistling along with it in harmony?" Despite her tears,she found herself laughing hysterically at his silly banter. Oh,how she'd missed it. He set the kettle aside.The sudden silence was shocking. Because she had her back to him, he fought the urge to touch her.Instead he studied the way her shoulders were shaking. Troubled,he realized he'd made her cry. "Sorry." Deflated,his tone lowered. "I guess this was a bad idea." "Wyatt." He paused. "It was a good idea.A very good idea." She turned,and he saw the tears coursing down her cheeks. "Oh,God,Marilee,I'm sorry.I didn't mean to make you..." "I'm not crying." She brushed furiously at the tears. "I mean I was,but then you made me laugh and..." "This is how you laugh?" He caught her by the shoulders and held her a little away. "Woman,I didn't realize just how weird you are. Wait a minute.Do you think being weird might be contagious? Maybe I ought to get out of here before I turn weird,too." The more she laughed,the harder the tears fell. Through a torrent of tears she wrapped her arms around his waist and held on, burying her face in his neck. "You can't leave.I won't let you." He tipped up her face,wiping her tears with his thumbs. "You mean that? You really don't want me to go?" "I don't.I really want you to stay, Wyatt." "For dinner?" "And more." "Dessert?" "And more." His smile was quick and dangerous. "I'm beginning to like the 'and more.'" She smiled through her tears. "Me,too." "Maybe we could have the 'and more' as an appetizer, before the pizza." Her laughter bubbled up and over, wrapping itself around his heart. "Oh, how I've missed your silly sense of humor." "You have?" "I have.I've missed everything about you." "Everything?" He leaned close to nibble her ear,sending a series of delicious shivers along her spine. "Everything." Catching his hand,she led him to the bedroom. "I worked very hard today making up the bed with fresh linens. Want to be the first to mess it up?" He looked from the bed to her and then back again. "Oh,yeah." He drew her close and brushed her mouth with his. Just a soft,butterfly kiss, but she felt it all the way to her toes. "I mean I want to really, really mess it up." "Me,t..." And then there was no need for words.
R.C. Ryan (Montana Destiny)
Stark Electric Jesus Oh I'll die I'll die I'll die My skin is in blazing furore I do not know what I'll do where I'll go oh I am sick I'll kick all Arts in the butt and go away Shubha Shubha let me go and live in your cloaked melon In the unfastened shadow of dark destroyed saffron curtain The last anchor is leaving me after I got the other anchors lifted I can't resist anymore, a million glass panes are breaking in my cortex I know, Shubha, spread out your matrix, give me peace Each vein is carrying a stream of tears up to the heart Brain's contagious flints are decomposing out of eternal sickness other why didn't you give me birth in the form of a skeleton I'd have gone two billion light years and kissed God's ass But nothing pleases me nothing sounds well I feel nauseated with more than a single kiss I've forgotten women during copulation and returned to the Muse In to the sun-coloured bladder I do not know what these happenings are but they are occurring within me I'll destroy and shatter everything draw and elevate Shubha in to my hunger Shubha will have to be given Oh Malay Kolkata seems to be a procession of wet and slippery organs today But i do not know what I'll do now with my own self My power of recollection is withering away Let me ascend alone toward death I haven't had to learn copulation and dying I haven't had to learn the responsibility of shedding the last drops after urination Haven't had to learn to go and lie beside Shubha in the darkness Have not had to learn the usage of French leather while lying on Nandita's bosom Though I wanted the healthy spirit of Aleya's fresh China-rose matrix Yet I submitted to the refuge of my brain's cataclysm I am failing to understand why I still want to live I am thinking of my debauched Sabarna-Choudhury ancestors I'll have to do something different and new Let me sleep for the last time on a bed soft as the skin of Shubha's bosom I remember now the sharp-edged radiance of the moment I was born I want to see my own death before passing away The world had nothing to do with Malay Roychoudhury Shubha let me sleep for a few moments in your violent silvery uterus Give me peace, Shubha, let me have peace Let my sin-driven skeleton be washed anew in your seasonal bloodstream Let me create myself in your womb with my own sperm Would I have been like this if I had different parents? Was Malay alias me possible from an absolutely different sperm? Would I have been Malay in the womb of other women of my father? Would I have made a professional gentleman of me like my dead brother without Shubha? Oh, answer, let somebody answer these Shubha, ah Shubha Let me see the earth through your cellophane hymen Come back on the green mattress again As cathode rays are sucked up with the warmth of a magnet's brilliance I remember the letter of the final decision of 1956 The surroundings of your clitoris were being embellished with coon at that time Fine rib-smashing roots were descending in to your bosom Stupid relationship inflated in the bypass of senseless neglect Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah I do not know whether I am going to die Squandering was roaring within heart's exhaustive impatience I'll disrupt and destroy I'll split all in to pieces for the sake of Art There isn't any other way out for Poetry except suicide
Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury (The Hungryalists)
The Monk in the Kitchen I ORDER is a lovely thing; On disarray it lays its wing, Teaching simplicity to sing. It has a meek and lowly grace, Quiet as a nun's face. Lo—I will have thee in this place! Tranquil well of deep delight, All things that shine through thee appear As stones through water, sweetly clear. Thou clarity, That with angelic charity Revealest beauty where thou art, Spread thyself like a clean pool. Then all the things that in thee are, Shall seem more spiritual and fair, Reflection from serener air— Sunken shapes of many a star In the high heavens set afar. II Ye stolid, homely, visible things, Above you all brood glorious wings Of your deep entities, set high, Like slow moons in a hidden sky. But you, their likenesses, are spent Upon another element. Truly ye are but seemings— The shadowy cast-oft gleamings Of bright solidities. Ye seem Soft as water, vague as dream; Image, cast in a shifting stream. III What are ye? I know not. Brazen pan and iron pot, Yellow brick and gray flag-stone That my feet have trod upon— Ye seem to me Vessels of bright mystery. For ye do bear a shape, and so Though ye were made by man, I know An inner Spirit also made, And ye his breathings have obeyed. IV Shape, the strong and awful Spirit, Laid his ancient hand on you. He waste chaos doth inherit; He can alter and subdue. Verily, he doth lift up Matter, like a sacred cup. Into deep substance he reached, and lo Where ye were not, ye were; and so Out of useless nothing, ye Groaned and laughed and came to be. And I use you, as I can, Wonderful uses, made for man, Iron pot and brazen pan. V What are ye? I know not; Nor what I really do When I move and govern you. There is no small work unto God. He required of us greatness; Of his least creature A high angelic nature, Stature superb and bright completeness. He sets to us no humble duty. Each act that he would have us do Is haloed round with strangest beauty; Terrific deeds and cosmic tasks Of his plainest child he asks. When I polish the brazen pan I hear a creature laugh afar In the gardens of a star, And from his burning presence run Flaming wheels of many a sun. Whoever makes a thing more bright, He is an angel of all light. When I cleanse this earthen floor My spirit leaps to see Bright garments trailing over it, A cleanness made by me. Purger of all men's thoughts and ways, With labor do I sound Thy praise, My work is done for Thee. Whoever makes a thing more bright, He is an angel of all light. Therefore let me spread abroad The beautiful cleanness of my God. VI One time in the cool of dawn Angels came and worked with me. The air was soft with many a wing. They laughed amid my solitude And cast bright looks on everything. Sweetly of me did they ask That they might do my common task And all were beautiful—but one With garments whiter than the sun Had such a face Of deep, remembered grace; That when I saw I cried—"Thou art The great Blood-Brother of my heart. Where have I seen thee?"—And he said, "When we are dancing round God's throne, How often thou art there. Beauties from thy hands have flown Like white doves wheeling in mid air. Nay—thy soul remembers not? Work on, and cleanse thy iron pot.
Anna Hempstead Branch
Day 4 Jehovah-Nissi __________, I call your spirit to attention in the name of Jehovah-Nissi, God who promised to be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation. The context of the story is of Moses having to lead his people into battle when they weren’t ready to go to war. They were attacked by the Amalekites. As he lifted his hands to the Lord, the Lord warred on behalf of Israel. __________, I bless your spirit with knowing when to war and when to lift your hands to the Lord. There will be seasons when God calls you to use the greatest of your strength. There will be seasons when God presses you to the wall and yet expects you to work hard, like Israel had to make bricks; then they had to make bricks in a harder way without straw. Then they had to march during the middle of the night to escape from Egypt. There will be times when God will celebrate the gifts that He has placed in you, when He will celebrate your strength. At times God will place you in a context where every talent and ability that you possess can be brought to the front and be used to make changes in the kingdom. That is good. That is fine. That is excellent. That is the will of God. But there will be times, __________, when God will very specifically put you in a place where everything that you have is not good enough, where you have to do something you have never done before. Enemies that you have never irritated will seek to attack you just because they are opportunistic. I bless you, __________, with having the courage not to depend on a skillset that is inadequate but to have the courage to lift your hands up to God on the mountaintop and ask Jehovah-Nissi to war for you. Because where you are inexperienced against any enemy, Jehovah-Nissi has the experience of the ages. Where you don’t know how to do it, Jehovah-Nissi has done it endless times. Where you have not walked that way before, Jehovah-Nissi has worn a path with the mighty tread of His feet. __________, Jehovah-Nissi has promised and recorded in Scripture that He cannot lie, that He will be at war against the opportunistic coyote, the spirit of Amalek that prowls around. It never attacks directly but takes advantage of your vulnerabilities, takes advantage of the opportune times of transition when you are not ready for war. Jehovah-Nissi has promised to war on your behalf. __________, I bless you with finding profound security in Jehovah-Nissi, celebrating your giftedness while always knowing that Jehovah-Nissi is there for those battles that He permits which you don’t anticipate. He anticipates the battles that blindside you on a path that you’ve never walked before. Israel did not know the desert area. The Amalekites lived there. Israel didn’t know the safe places, the high places, the hidden places. They didn’t know how to craft an effective war strategy. They just went out and bumbled around while Moses stood on the mountain with his hands lifted high. __________, celebrate your areas of strength, but when you are in a new area and the enemy attacks you and you don’t know what to do or how to do or where to do it, go to the mountaintop. Lift your hands and let Jehovah-Nissi war on your behalf. I bless you with knowing Jehovah-Nissi experientially in your generation. I bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Sylvia Gunter (Blessing Your Spirit)
He sent messages to all fifteen of my former suitors, asking if they were still interested in marrying me-“ “Oh, my God,” Alex breathed. “-and, if they were, he volunteered to send me to them for a few days, properly chaperoned by Lucinda,” Elizabeth recited in that same strangled tone, “so that we could both discover if we still suit.” “Oh, my God,” Alex said again, with more force. “Twelve of them declined,” she continued, and she watched Alex wince in embarrassed sympathy. “But three of them agreed, and now I am to be sent off to visit them. Since Lucinda can’t return from Devon until I go to visit the third-suitor, who’s in Scotland,” she said, almost choking on the word as she applied it to Ian Thornton, “I shall have to pass Berta off as my aunt to the first two.” “Berta!” Bentner burst out in disgust. “Your aunt? The silly widgeon’s afraid of her shadow.” Threatened by another uncontrollable surge of mirth, Elizabeth looked at both her friends. “Berta is the least of my problems However, do continue invoking God’s name, for it’s going to take a miracle to survive this.” “Who are the suitors?” Alex asked, her alarm increased by Elizabeth’s odd smile as she replied, “I don’t recall two of them. It’s quite remarkable, isn’t it,” she continued with dazed mirth, “that two grown men could have met a young girl at her debut and hared off to her brother to ask for her hand, and she can’t remember anything about them, except one of their names.” “No,” Alex said cautiously, “it isn’t remarkable. You were, are, very beautiful, and that is the way it’s done. A young girl makes her debut at seventeen, and gentlemen look her over, often in the most cursory fashion, and decide if they want her. Then they apply for her hand. I can’t think it is reasonable or just to betroth a young girl to someone with whom she’s scarcely acquainted and then expect her to develop a lasting affection for him after she is wed, but the ton does regard it as the civilized way to manage marriages.” “It’s actually quite the opposite-it’s rather barbaric, when you reflect on it,” Elizabeth stated, willing to be diverted from her personal calamity by a discussion of almost anything else. “Elizabeth, who are the suitors? Perhaps I know of them and can help you remember.” Elizabeth sighed. “The first is Sir Francis Belhaven-“ “You’re joking!” Alex exploded, drawing an alarmed glance from Bentner. When Elizabeth merely lifted her delicate brows and waited for information, Alex continued angrily, “Why, he’s-he’s a dreadful old roué. There’s no polite way to describe him. He’s stout and balding, and his debauchery is a joke among the ton because he’s so flagrant and foolish. He’s an unparalleled pinchpenny to boot-a nipsqueeze!” “At least we have that last in common,” Elizabeth tried to tease, but her glance was on Bentner, who in his agitation was deflowering an entire healthy bush. “Benter,” she said gently, touched by how much he obviously cared for her plight, “you can tell the dead blooms from the live ones by their color.” “Who’s the second suitor?” Alex persisted in growing alarm. “Lord John Marchman.” When Alex looked blank, Elizabeth added, “The Earl of Canford.” Comprehension dawned, and Alex nodded slowly. “I’m not acquainted with him, but I have heard of him.” “Well, don’t keep me in suspense,” Elizabeth said, choking back a laugh, because everything seemed more absurd, more unreal by the moment.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
You are my friend, Prairie Flower. If I tell you what is in my heart, will you promise never to tell?" Prairie Flower laid a hand on Jesse's shoulder, pulling it away quickly when her friend flinched in pain. "I will not betray my friend." Taking a deep breath, Jesse lifted her head. "When Rides the Wing comes near to me, my heart sings.But I do not believe that he cares for me.I am clumsy in all of the things a Lakota woman must know.I cannot speak his language without many childish mistakes. And..." Jesse reached up to lay her hand on her short hair, "I am nothing to look at.I am not..." Prairie Flower grew angry. "I have told you he cares for you.Can you not see it?" Jesse shook her head. Prairie Flower spoke the unspeakable. "Then,if you cannot see that he cares for you in what he does,you must see it in what he has not done. You have been in his tepee. Dancing Waters has been gone many moons." "Stop!" Jesse demanded. "Stop it! I..just don't say any more!" She leaped up and ran out of the tepee-and into Rides the Wind, who was returning from the river where he had gone to draw water. Jesse knocked the water skins from both of his hands. Water spilled out and she fumbled an apology then bent stiffly to pick up the skins, wincing with the effort. "I will do it, Walks the Fire." His voice was tender as he bent and took the skins from her. Jesse protested, "It is the wife's job." She blushed, realizing that she had used a wrong word-the word for wife, instead of the word for woman. Rides the Wind interrupted before she could correct herself. "Walks the Fire is not the wife of Rides the Wind." Jesse blushed and remained quiet. A hand reached for hers and Rides the Wind said, "Come, sit." He helped her sit down just outside the door of the tepee. The village women took note as he went inside and brought out a buffalo robe. Sitting by Jesse,he placed the robe on the ground and began to talk. "I will tell you how it is with the Lakota. When a man wishes to take a wife..." he described Lakota courtship. As he talked, Jesse realiced that all that Prairie Flower had said seemed to be true.He had,indeed, done nearly everything involved in the courtship ritual. Still, she told herself, there is a perfectly good explanation for everything he has done. Rides the Wind continued describing the wedding feast. Jesse continued to reason with herself as he spoke. Then she realized the voice had stopped and he had repeated a question. "How is it among the whites?How does a man gain a wife?" Embarrassed,Jesse described the sparsest of courtships, the simplest wedding.Rides the Wind listened attentively. When she had finished, he said, "There is one thing the Lakota brave who wishes a wife does that I have not described." Pulling Jesse to her feet, he continued, "One evening, as he walks with his woman..." He reached out to pick up the buffalo robe.He was aware that the village women were watching carefully. "He spreads out his arms..." Rides the Wind spread his arms,opening the buffalo robe to its full length, "and wraps it about his woman," Rides the Wind turned toward Jesse and reached around her, "so that they are both inside the buffalo robe." He looked down at Jesse, trying to read her expression.When he saw nothing in the gray eyes, he abruptly dropped his arms. "But it is hot today and your wounds have not healed.I have said enough.You see how it is with the Lakota." When Jesse still said nothing, he continued, "You spoke of a celebration with a min-is-ter.It is a word I do not know.What is this min-is-ter?" "A man who belives in the Bible and teaches his people about God from the Bible." "What if there is no minister and a man and a woman wish to be married?" Jesse grew more uncomfortable. "I suppose they would wait until a minister came.
Stephanie Grace Whitson (Walks The Fire (Prairie Winds, #1))
Barbarism, thy name is Britain. In this day and age, if any societal structure is a revolting blot on the fabric of the democratic world, it's not Russia or North Korea, but the not-so-great Britain. The queen might have been a nice person, I don't know. But when a person is declared the supreme authority (head of state) of an entire people by birth, it's not something to take pride in, rather it's something to be ashamed of. Britain may mourn the death of the queen as a person, but no land deserves to be called civilized while mourning the death of a monarch. Let me put this into perspective. Almost every week a country celebrates independence from britain - if this doesn't tell you why the monarchy is the antithesis of everything that is civilized, nothing can. I wonder, they can throw a homeless man in jail for lifting a bread out of hunger, yet the empire walks free, even after raping, pillaging and looting from 90% of the world's countries! Where is the ICC (International Criminal Court) now, when one monarch after another sits on the throne, wielding the crown jewels encrusted with national treasures stolen from all over the globe!
Abhijit Naskar (Corazon Calamidad: Obedient to None, Oppressive to None)
over the long run, continuance, consistency, and perseverance overcome everything else. And the small upward steps, taken every day, will end up lifting you to the heights. God has called you not only to love, but to keep loving; not only to believe, but to press on in believing; and not only to do right, but to persevere in doing it. When you do that, then the power of your love, your faith, and your righteousness will be multiplied . . .
Jonathan Cahn (The Book of Mysteries)
Hundreds of places of worship exist today in which there is almost everything except the cross. There are carved oaks and sculptured stones; there are stained glass and brilliant paintings; there are solemn services and a constant round of ordinances, but the real cross of Christ is not there. Jesus crucified is not proclaimed in the pulpit. The Lamb of God is not lifted up, and salvation by faith in Him is not freely proclaimed. Therefore, all is wrong. Beware of such places of worship.
J.C. Ryle (The Cross: Crucified with Christ, and Christ Alive in Me)
This is not something that comes from textbooks or lectures or any of the technical aspects of religion that are so prominent today. This confidence in God can come only when we begin to know God as He really is. It is my contention that only a true worshiper can know God. Religion can teach you about God. Cold, textual theology can teach you about God. But neither can really bring you into the presence of God, where you begin to know God and have confidence in the God that you know. I contend that our faith in God comes naturally and automatically as we begin to know Him personally—not just know about God, but have a personal encounter with the living God, an encounter that is not boxed in by reason or logic. A true encounter with God lifts us above everything we can know, and we begin to pierce that Cloud of Unknowing and come into the presence of God.
A.W. Tozer (Delighting in God (AW Tozer Series Book 1))
need to redouble our courage and lift our souls up to God, serving him with more diligence in everything that our Christian vocation
Gianluigi Pasquale (Padre Pio's Spiritual Direction for Every Day)
I’ve held on to those memories for the longest; never letting them go because it takes time – sometimes years – to truly understand how a childhood adventure can impact you. When I look back, I marvel at how surreal that day had been. It was the kind of misadventure one had only seen in the movies and in all those stories the protagonists were adults, some of whom did not make it. But we were just children, and this was happening to us. And this was as real as it could get. For years after, numerous existential questions raced through my head: Was God testing us? Were we handpicked for it? Was it preordained? Th en the fog started to lift and I saw it for what it was: a day in the jungle. Also, a day when everything went wrong. I’d read somewhere that adversity does not build character, it reveals it. We were tested, we were pushed to the limits of our physical and emotional endurance. We made it out alive, and it is important that this experience be shared.
Nidhie Sharma (INVICTUS)
The general creation story contains within it two aspects that are crucial to understanding all of the myths of ancient Egypt: maat and isfet. Isfet represents chaos or disorder, generally speaking, and it was seen as a fundamental element of everything in existence. There was no notion of trying to eradicate isfet from their general lives in ancient Egypt; after all, it was said to be one of the elements that was present in the limitless ocean at the dawn of creation. The only desire for ancient Egyptians was that isfet never became more prevalent than maat, its opposite: justice. Maat was often depicted as a goddess wearing a feather on her head, which was also the hieroglyph that represented her.[8] She, or simply the concept of justice, was believed to be present in all aspects of life and if it was broken by anyone, there would be a punishment. According to the Middle Kingdom “Coffin Text” it was believed that Atum, the “Great Finisher” of creation,[9] inhaled maat in order to gain his consciousness: “Inhale your daughter Maat [said Nun to Atum] and raise her to your nostril so that your consciousness may live. May they not be far from you, your daughter Maat and your son Shu, whose name is “life” … it is your son Shu who will lift you up.
Charles River Editors (Horus: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian God Who Was the Son of Isis and Osiris)
All the heart wants is expanding friendship. It is not the kind of friendship that is a social satisfaction and can even lead to dependency and attachment. Rather, it is the friendship of other conscious hearts, who are in that state of remembrance and in that state of coherence and resonance. That's what lifts and heals us. That‘s why Sufis have their dergahs and communities. Sufism is not arranged as an individual tutorial. It‘s not a path for hermits. There may be periods when one benefits from solitude. However, there‘s transformation in friendship. The transformation results from knowing one another and accepting the truth that everything is purposeful. Whoever walks through the door of the Sufi dergah has been invited. We‘re all friends of the Friend. Community is part of the mechanism of transformation. Because Western society is so individualistic, we find ways of avoiding relationship and seek transformation that will occur at our own convenience or according to our own preferences. Sometimes people reach the stage where they say, „I might be better off alone. I think I‘m getting enough of this spiritual stuff that I could do it myself.“ They give up the friction of relationship and the challenge of it, and retreat into their own world. It‘s not usually a healthy sign. However, everyone is free. On this Path, no one is coerced. It‘s not a cult. There‘s no group pressure. If somebody walks away from a Sufi circle, nobody chases after them, except perhaps out of friendship. Sufis don‘t interfere with anybody‘s will. We all have free will. We are happy to find friends who share a common yearning. We are helped and healed by that yearning. We are healed by each other. (p. 27)
Kabir Helminski (In the House of Remembering: The Living Tradition of Sufi Teaching)
Our text makes two powerful demands clear, helping us to understand the true nature of the Advent event. It is not the miserable, weak, anxious Advent of popular “Christian” celebration, which we are so often contented with and which Christ deplores. The two demands are clear: “Look up. Raise your head.” Advent makes people whole: new people. We can also become new people in Advent. Stand up, look up, your view is too much down towards the earth, fixed upon the superficial changes and happenings of this earth. Look up, you who have turned away disappointed from heaven, see this Advent word. Look up, you whose eyes are heavy with tears and who mourn that the earth has snatched everything from you. Look up, you who are so heavy laden with guilt that you feel you cannot look up. Look up, your salvation draws near. When you look up, things look quite different from what you have seen day by day, more real, far greater, and more powerful. If only it were true. Be patient. Wait for a little while longer. Wait and something quite new will come over you. God will come. Jesus comes and takes up his abode with you and you become a redeemed people. Look up, stand, and watch. Keep your eyes open, waiting for the approaching deliverance. Lift up your heads—you army of men and women, bowed down with sorrow, demoralized, without hope, you defeated army of drooping heads. The battle is not yet lost. Lift up your heads. Yours is the victory. Take courage. Have no fear, no anxiety, no sorrow. Courage! Make the victory sure. Be strong, be able. Here there is no reason to droop your head, no more doubts, no uncertainty of the way. Freedom, salvation, and deliverance come. Look up; raise your heads. Be fearless and strong! Because Christ comes.
Edwin H. Robertson (Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons)
Teasdale doesn't have money for an attorney," he said. "Especially one from Boston. Who are you, really?" Sidney lifted her chin. "An attorney from Boston." "You don't sound like it." She lifted an eyebrow. "Like an attorney?" He scoffed. "No, you have that droning drivel down. You don't sound Boston." She shrugged. "I didn't start out there." "You sound like Sawyer," he said with a nod toward wherever Sawyer had headed. She refused to turn around to find out. "Well, I'm sure there are more than just two of us from---" "You know him," Crane said, narrowing his eyes. Sidney's tongue faltered, and she cleared her throat. "You're from the same place, aren't you?" he asked. "The same little hick town." "Because we both have an accent?" she asked, laughing, hoping it would cover up her lie. "Because of how I just saw him look at you," Crane said, studying Sidney with a grin. "Like a lovesick schoolboy. Holy shit, you're her>." Sidney's breath felt trapped in her chest, unable to move in or out, just held captive there. Sawyer had a her? And she was it? "I---I'm who?" "The girl he came to town all messed up over," Crane said, crossing his own arms. "A hundred years ago. Well, well, well." All messed up over. After punching out his own father. Defending her. Damn it if all her carefully constructed and ancient defenses weren't crumbling around her regarding him. The boy who shattered her already shaky confidence. The reason she bitterly swore off love and dove into work, into making herself a hard and formidable beast. A beast without people skills but still. And now... "We were friends in high school, yes," Sidney managed to push out, her voice sounding decidedly wobbly. "That has no bearing on Mr. Teasdale's case." "Which came to you how, again?" Crane asked. Sidney smiled. "I'll ask the questions." Crane winked, and she so much wanted to slug him. "Nice deflection. What firm are you with?" "Finley and Blossom." "Blossom?" he asked. And it wasn't about the name. It was recognition. Shit. "Yes, sir." "His damn niece," Crane said, slapping a big hand against the ladder. "I forgot she was a lawyer. Damn it. She sent you." Oh, seven kinds of hell, now this wall was disintegrating, too. She needed a suit of armor. "Everything okay?" said a voice from directly behind her. A voice that sent shock waves to all her nether regions, especially coupled with thee hand that rested on the back of her neck. Crap, she needed more than armor. Sidney needed a force field. "I work for her," Sidney said, ignoring Sawyer's question and fighting the urge to settle back against him. "And you need to bring back the win," Crane said, chuckling. God help her if she was ever up against this asshole in court.
Sharla Lovelace (The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine)
It’s like lifting—when you’re deep in a set, your arms are shaking and you’re a melting candle of pain that’s burned down to zero; you got nothing left to give. And in that darkest moment you cry out, ‘Lord, I can’t!’ and a voice comes out of the darkness and says, ‘But I can.’ That’s the still, small voice that comes in the night. That’s the sound of something bigger than yourself. That’s God talking. And he says, ‘You are not alone,’ and enfolds you in wings of the eagle, and he carries you up. But first you have to burn away everything that doesn’t matter. You have to burn away leg warmers and New Age crystals, and Madonna, and aerobics, and New Kids on the Block, and the boy you’re sweet on in school. You burn away your parents, and your friends, and everything you ever cared about, and you burn away personal safety, conventional morality. And when all that is gone, when everything is swept away in the fire and everything around you is ash, what you have left is just a tiny nugget, a little kernel of something that is good, and pure, and true. And you pick that pebble up, and you throw it at the fortress this demon has built in your friend’s soul, this leviathan of hatred and fear and oppression, and you throw this tiny pebble and it hits that wall and it goes ping . . . and nothing happens. That’s when you’ll have the hardest doubts you ever had in your life. But never doubt the truth. Never underestimate it. Because a second later, if you’ve been through the fire, you’ll hear the cracks start to spread, and all those mighty walls and iron gates will collapse like a house of cards because you have harrowed yourself until all that’s left is truth. That’s what that pebble is, Abby. It’s our core.
Grady Hendrix (My Best Friend's Exorcism)
The Gentalist Sonnet I only ask one thing of my soldier – everything! Give up all, so that those with nothing receive life. What can I give to thee, except for this life of mine, Says the brave gentalist across all personal strife. Gente means people, and people are the music of life. Love the people, lift the people, people are the way. Not your people, not my people, it's all one people. Once you feel it in your bones, uplift is on its way. I don't believe in a messiah, I don't believe in a god, ‘Cause I’m far too accountable for my society, my world. Thus speaks the gentalist, burning with a sense of duty, Thus speaks the living aid, who ain’t no mythical lord. If a chunk of alum can purify a bucket of putrid water, Your heart can purify the world with its gentalist power.
Abhijit Naskar (Honor He Wrote: 100 Sonnets For Humans Not Vegetables)
The ceremony of Mexican baptism, which was beheld with astonishment by the Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries, is thus strikingly described in Prescott's Conquest of Mexico:--"When everything necessary for the baptism had been made ready, all the relations of the child were assembled, and the midwife, who was the person that performed the rite of baptism, was summoned. At early dawn, they met together in the court-yard of the house. When the sun had risen, the midwife, taking the child in her arms, called for a little earthen vessel of water, while those about her placed the ornaments, which had been prepared for baptism, in the midst of the court. To perform the rite of baptism, she placed herself with her face toward the west, and immediately began to go through certain ceremonies....After this she sprinkled water on the head of the infant, saying, "O my child, take and receive the water of the Lord of the world, which is our life, which is given for the increasing and renewing of our body. It is to wash and to purify. I pray that these heavenly drops may enter into your body, and dwell there; that they may destroy and remove from you all the evil and sin which was given you before the beginning of the world, since all of us are under its power.'.... She then washed the body of the child with water, and spoke in this manner: "Whencesoever thou comest, thou that art hurtful to this child, leave him and depart from him, for he now liveth anew, and is BORN ANEW; now he is purified and cleansed afresh, and our mother Chalchivitlycue [the goddess of water] bringeth him into the world.' Having thus prayed, the midwife took the child in both hands, and, lifting him towards heaven, said, "O Lord, thou seest here thy creature, whom thou hast sent into the world, thus place of sorrow, suffering, and penitence. Grant him, O Lord, thy gifts and inspiration, for thou art the Great God, and with thee is the great goddess.'" Here is the opus operatum without mistake. Here is baptismal regeneration and exorcism too, as thorough and complete as any Romish priest or lover of Tractarianism could desire.
Alexander Hislop (The Two Babylons)
They said I destroyed the world with my sin – it was my fault. My wickedness was to blame – and Jesus, a man, had to suffer a terrible death to make it right. I, a woman, and all the other women like me, carried the burden for everything that was not right with the world. And I believed them. I did not disagree. At the trials, when they accused me, said what I did was evil – I could not remember, was I? I became confused. When I was a “qadishtu” and the conquerors came, they said I was unclean, that their god regarded us as filth, that our kind had brought pain to the world. I was guilty. After a while, I couldn’t remember – perhaps I was. I now remember, my confusion clears, the veils are lifting. I remember my innocence. I lift the burden from my shoulders, and from other women’s shoulders. I again walk proud and free.
Glenys Livingstone
You will find that there is a mighty power, a non-exclusive, eternal dimension that actually can change your psychology, your joy of life; it can lift you up, give you a sense of self beyond anything you imagined to empower you to become that child of the universe, a child of God to whom miracles of goodness can come. Take the time to seek; take the time to rediscover the depths of these teachings and everything will change. (p. 20)
Theodore J. Nottingham (Doorway to Spiritual Awakening: Becoming Partakers of the Divine (The Transformational Wisdom Series Book 1))
Soon he really shut his eyes and fell asleep. He did not sleep long and suddenly awoke with a start and in a cold perspiration. As he fell asleep he had still been thinking of the subject that now always occupied his mind- about life and death, and chiefly about death. He felt himself nearer to it. "Love? What is love?" he thought. "Love hinders death. Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source." These thoughts seemed to him comforting. But they were only thoughts. Something was lacking in them, they were not clear, they were too one-sidedly personal and brain-spun. And there was the former agitation and obscurity. He fell asleep. He dreamed that he was lying in the room he really was in, but that he was quite well and unwounded. Many various, indifferent, and insignificant people appeared before him. He talked to them and discussed something trivial. They were preparing to go away somewhere. Prince Andrew dimly realized that all this was trivial and that he had more important cares, but he continued to speak, surprising them by empty witticisms. Gradually, unnoticed, all these persons began to disappear and a single question, that of the closed door, superseded all else. He rose and went to the door to bolt and lock it. Everything depended on whether he was, or was not, in time to lock it. He went, and tried to hurry, but his legs refused to move and he knew he would not be in time to lock the door though he painfully strained all his powers. He was seized by an agonizing fear. And that fear was the fear of death. It stood behind the door. But just when he was clumsily creeping toward the door, that dreadful something on the other side was already pressing against it and forcing its way in. Something not human- death- was breaking in through that door, and had to be kept out. He seized the door, making a final effort to hold it back- to lock it was no longer possible- but his efforts were weak and clumsy and the door, pushed from behind by that terror, opened and closed again. Once again it pushed from outside. His last superhuman efforts were vain and both halves of the door noiselessly opened. It entered, and it was death, and Prince Andrew died. But at the instant he died, Prince Andrew remembered that he was asleep, and at the very instant he died, having made an effort, he awoke. "Yes, it was death! I died- and woke up. Yes, death is an awakening!" And all at once it grew light in his soul and the veil that had till then concealed the unknown was lifted from his spiritual vision. He felt as if powers till then confined within him had been liberated, and that strange lightness did not again leave him. When, waking in a cold perspiration, he moved on the divan, Natasha went up and asked him what was the matter. He did not answer and looked at her strangely, not understanding. That was what had happened to him two days before Princess Mary's arrival. From that day, as the doctor expressed it, the wasting fever assumed a malignant character, but what the doctor said did not interest Natasha, she saw the terrible moral symptoms which to her were more convincing. From that day an awakening from life came to Prince Andrew together with his awakening from sleep. And compared to the duration of life it did not seem to him slower than an awakening from sleep compared to the duration of a dream.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
Humility means that you acknowledge you don’t know everything, and you might be especially confused when it comes to God.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
Divine power . . . what mom would turn it down? Jesus, who is God, full of power and might has poured down and lavished on us everything we need to live and serve God. Everything? What kind of resources are we talking about here? The blessings Jesus gives transcend physical things, so take a look at the spiritual blessings He pours out. Start with faith. It’s a gift. How happy can you be if all your anxieties are lifted by Someone you can trust? Because God is good and full of glory, He tells us to give all our worries to Him (1 Peter 5:7) and to worry about nothing (Philippians 4:6); and He promises to pour down peace (Philippians 4:7). He calls us His own, and gives us “very great and precious promises”—gifts of His Spirit, blessings of greater worth than anything money can buy. He gives salvation, eternal life, and the ability, while we’re earthbound, to “share in God’s nature.” Jesus’ Spirit is our companion, so we are never without a friend. He also protects us from spiritual defeat that rises from the evil surrounding us. We have all this available to us daily as we focus on the Person of Jesus. Today, we can pray, “Lord Jesus, thank You that You pour on me everything I need to live the life that pleases You. I want to be infused with Your mighty strength and to stay under the faucet of Your provision today.
Bobbie Wolgemuth (NCV, Mom's Bible: God's Wisdom for Mothers)
This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it… God has plans for me—to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future… I commit my actions to the Lord and my plans will succeed… I will overcome evil with good… I can do everything through him who gives me strength… I am content with what I have because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”… I say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”… I humble myself before the Lord, and He will lift me up… God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be the glory forever…
Glenn Langohr (Be a Prayer Warrior and Use Words Wisely: 30 Declarations and Prayers to Speak Victory into Your Life)
Oh, how everything gives way when affliction first comes upon us! The clinging stems of our hopes are quickly snapped, and our heart lies overwhelmed and prostrate, like a vine the windstorm has torn from its trellis. But once the initial shock is over and we are able to look up and say, “It is the Lord” (John 21:7), faith begins to lift our shattered hopes once more and securely binds them to the feet of God. And the final result is confidence, safety, and peace. selected
Jim Reimann (Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings)
MAY 17 LET GOD TAKE CONTROL Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. —1 PETER 5:6–7 THIS VERSE SOUNDS so easy but is oftentimes a very difficult thing to do. It is human nature to want to control everything in your life because it gives you a sense of security. I can say from personal experience that life gets much easier once you give in and let God take control—not only in the difficult times but in the good times as well. Let Him control everything in your life, and all of a sudden the stresses and burdens of everyday living disappear, and a peace comes over you. How awesome it is that we serve a God Who actually wants us to lay all of our burdens on Him? It is truly something we all take for granted. Prayer God, I give everything in my life to You, for I know You know the plans You have for me. I pray that I will be humble and not try to be in control and that I will lay all my burdens at Your feet—and leave them there. —Martin
Alan Robertson (The Duck Commander Devotional)
of pleasure through my trembling body. “Need...” I tossed my head side to side on the mattress, lost in what he was doing to me. Lost in everything that was our sex--Leland’s musky smell, the silky press of his skin on mine, the wondrous magic of his fingers dancing inside me. “Fuck me, Leland. Missed...” I gritted my teeth. “You.” His eyebrow arched. He nodded at my prick. “Show me.” I unknotted my fist from the sheets and reached for my soft, wet cock. I folded my still-tingling dick into my palm and began a mind-blowing, near-painful stroke. “That’s it, honey. So sexy.” He lifted up to kiss my hip and then he laughed again, the bastard. “God as my witness, I’ll keep you with me all weekend, too fucked out and happy to move anything except your hand on your dick at my say-so.” I blinked at him. The weekend? The whole weekend?
Ending the Year in Praise Praise the Lord! Praise God in his heavenly dwelling; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the trumpet; praise him with the lyre and harp! . . . Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:1-3, 6 What a way to end the year—praising the Lord for his mighty works, his unequaled greatness. This psalm, also called the last hallelujah, invites us to join the praises to God in the holy place. The praise is not half-hearted; it is full-force praise with musical instruments—tambourine, stringed instruments, the lyre, the cymbals—and dancing, praise from everyone. When we offer God praise, we’re doing what we were created for, even if we’re not the best musician or dancer. All of us can raise our voices singing hymns, choruses, and new songs to the Lord. How has God blessed you, your family, friends, or church this year? What mighty works has he accomplished? What progress have you made in an area in which you’ve struggled? What prayers has God answered? What new attributes or aspects of God have you discovered or experienced in the past year? Lift up your voice or whatever instrument you play, and praise the Lord for these specific things as you pray this psalm aloud.   LORD, I join those in your heavenly dwelling to worship you for your mighty works. I praise your unequaled greatness. I praise you with my whole heart for how you’ve sustained me in the year that is ending, for your faithfulness, love, and provision. Thank you for how you’ll be with me each day in the new year. Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord!   TO THE EAR OF GOD EVERYTHING HE CREATED MAKES EXQUISITE MUSIC, AND MAN JOINED IN THE PAEAN OF PRAISE UNTIL HE FELL, THEN THERE CAME IN THE FRANTIC DISCORD OF SIN. THE REALIZATION OF REDEMPTION BRINGS MAN BY WAY OF THE MINOR NOTE OF REPENTANCE BACK INTO TUNE WITH PRAISE AGAIN. Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
Cheri Fuller (The One Year Praying through the Bible (One Year Bible))
She shivered under his touch, desire dampening her panties and making her clench her thighs together in an attempt to find some relief. His devilish hands relaxed their grip on her hips and slid around to cup her ass, pulling her close. Thick, hard evidence of his desire pressed against her belly. God, she wanted this man, and not just to silent the stressful thoughts always swirling in her head. She wanted him, not just the divine moment of oblivion that blocked out everything else. The realization scared her and brought some unwanted reality into the room. "We shouldn't be doing this." "Why?" He made quick work of the buttons on her petal-pink cashmere sweater and parted her cardigan. Sean gave a soft growl as he stared at her silver satin pushup bra that presented her boobs like an all-you-can-lick buffet. "Because I'm your employee?" He licked his lips and slid his thumb across the satin covering her hard nipple. "Yes," she said, sighing. An answer to his question or a response to even the lightest of touches? Both. "Easy fix." He snapped the front closure of her bra and her tits tumbled out. "I quit." Bending forward, he lifted one heavy globe and took the hard nub into his hot mouth. Fire sizzled through her veins and it felt so good she couldn't wait to burn. "You can't quit." She reached down for the top button of his jeans and flicked it open. "We need you. I need you." He released her nipple and she groaned in frustration. Then he found the hem of her skirt and inched it higher and the soft groan that floated out of her mouth was for a whole other reason. "Hire me back in about an hour or, better yet, a few days." The cool air caressed her upper thighs as he raised her skirt, but it wasn't enough to relieve the molten heat engulfing her. "I like how you think.
Avery Flynn (Hollywood on Tap (Sweet Salvation Brewery, #2))
Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.” (Exodus 28:1–3, emphasis mine) The war against shame is on. God puts shame in the crosshairs as he gives glory and beauty to his people. Glory, beauty, and consecrate are all words that identify things that are holy. They belong to God, and everything that belongs to him is made beautiful by association.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
Everything I have learned about faith in a lifetime tells me that the science of creation – cosmology – wondrous though it is, takes second place to the sheer wonder that God could take this risk of creating a creature with the freedom to disobey him and wreck his world. There is no faith humans can have in God equal to the faith God must have had in humankind to place us here as guardians of the vastness and splendour of the universe. We exist because of God’s faith in us. That is why I see in the faces of those I meet a trace of God’s love that lifts me to try to love a little as God loves. I know of nothing with greater power to lift us beyond ourselves and to perform acts that carry within them a signal of transcendence. God lives wherever we open our eyes to his radiance, our hearts to his transforming love.
Jonathan Sacks (The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning)
May you experience grace—God acting in your life, in your thoughts, in your feelings, in your rest. May his face shine upon you. May his shining face lift up over you as you lie down, as you sleep, and give you the thoughts you need to have. The blessing of the Trinity rest upon you and everything you are and do. Let it be so. Amen.
Dallas Willard (Living in Christ's Presence: Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God)
You could do nothing more important than to wake up every morning of your life and remind yourself that the One who created and controls everything that exists has been made, by grace, to be your Father. He thinks of you with pure and faithful fatherly love. He acts toward you with the giving, providing, instructing, patient, and forgiving love of a perfect father. He is always with you. His hand is always upon you. He never stops watching you. His heart is always for you. He is always at work accomplishing his plans for you and through you. He lifts your burdens and lightens your load. He is your God, your Savior, your Friend—your Father. Nothing can ever be the same again because you now live in the Father’s house, where glorious grace decorates every room.
Paul David Tripp (New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional)
She shielded her eyes from the sun, her truck keys dangling down the back of her free hand, as Cooper lowered the passenger window and leaned forward so he could see her. “G’day, Starfish. Need a lift?” She needed a lot of things. Hot coffee, sisters who weren’t nosy, a clear vision about what should be next on her life agenda. Being inside a small, sporty vehicle, trapped mere inches from Cooper Jax, even for the short ride down to Half Moon Harbor? That she definitely did not need. “I’m good, thanks. And can we retire the nickname? Please?” He’d begun calling her that after she’d regaled him with a steady string of childhood stories of life lived by the sea, and he’d commented that she seemed too big a fish for such a small pond. A starfish, as it were. She’d rolled her eyes at the very bad pun, but the nickname had stuck. Aussies were big on nicknames. And the honest truth of it was, she hadn’t minded hearing him call her that, even though it had been a joke, delivered as a ribbing, not an endearment. Now? Now she wasn’t sure how he meant it, or what it made her feel when he said it. Better to just bury it right, Ker? Like you do everything that makes you uncomfortable. She really needed to find a way to strangle her little voice. “I’ve got a meeting,” she went on, not giving him a chance to respond. He nodded to the basket in her arms. “Yes, I can see that. Demanding lot, laundry.” She glanced down, then back at him. “No, with my sisters. About Fiona’s wedding.” “Yes, I heard about it.” She didn’t ask how he could possible know that, or who he’d been talking to this time, because any person in town could have brought him up to speed on the goings-on about pretty much any person he wanted to know about. The downside to being home. One of the great things about being a wanderer was that folks only knew whatever parts of her story she opted to share with them. Cooper, she realized now, had already known more than pretty much anyone she’d met in her travels up to that point. God only knows what he’d learned in the twenty-four hours he’d been in the Cove. She didn’t want to examine how that made her feel either. “Three McCrae weddings in less than a year,” he commented, as if casually discussing the weather. Then he grinned. “Is it catching?
Donna Kauffman (Starfish Moon (Brides of Blueberry Cove, #3))
Tell me something about you I don’t know.” “Heavens, Nathaniel, I’m sure you know everything.” “I do not.” He rested his elbow on his one raised knee, while the other leg folded underneath it. “If I did, then I would have known all about the infamous James Pigley, so I must assume there are more secrets to you that need discovering.” “Secrets?” Her voice cracked. Chest heaving, she turned away. Did he have to use such a word? She struggled to find something within her stalled mind to ease the suffocating silence.  “Come now Kitty, don’t play coy with me.” Nathaniel’s inviting timbre woke her from the shadows. The playful glint in his face pulled a full smile from her lips when he continued. “Here is what I know of Miss Katherine Campbell formerly of Boston. She enjoys Shakespeare and is a gifted cook. I know she is fascinated with medicine and I know her political standings. She loves God and family...” He grinned wider, a gentle kind of grin that sparkled in his eyes. “But I desire to know more.” The warmth in his stare eased around Kitty as real as if it had been an embrace, soothing away the tension that clung to her neck and shoulders. She leaned one hand on the ground and rested against it. “You’re very kind, Nathaniel, but I don’t know what to tell. I’m quite ordinary.” “Ordinary? I should say not.” Nathaniel reached for a small stick and played with it in his fingers before he snapped it in half and tossed the pieces in the water. He cast his eyes her direction and glared playfully. “No matter. If you choose to be so demure then I shall ask questions. Do you enjoy the ocean?” “Aye, the seaside is very calming, but I don’t care for boats.” He nodded with his lips pursed in thought. “I’ll keep that in mind. Do you play an instrument?” “Nay, much to my mother’s disappointment.” She sighed and looked heavenward with a tiny laugh, remembering the hours of practice that produced embarrassingly little results. Kitty sat up and hugged her knees. “Do you enjoy reading?”  Nathaniel scowled. “This conversation isn’t supposed to be about me.” “Well, do you?” She grinned wider. He shook his head with a disapproving lift to his brow, but the smoldering grin expressed his merriment. “I enjoy reading. Especially Milton.” “Milton? I adore Milton.
Amber Lynn Perry (So True a Love (Daughters of His Kingdom #2))
Uncle Damian crossed his arms and gave me a stern, unyielding, wholly unsympathetic look. For some odd reason, it made me feel immensely better. “Buck up, woman! You just took a hard left to the gut, but I trained you better than this.” “I’m pregnant,” I said, sniffling as I wiped up the last of my messy tears. “I’m allowed to be emotional.” “You’re not allowed to be an idiot, and that’s the path you’re heading down if you don’t stop right now. I trained you to be a smart, savvy woman who could handle herself in any situation. Now let’s see the last of this pitiful creature, and more of the Aisling I know you can be.” He was right. I straightened my shoulders, lifting my chin as I sniffled my last sniffle. Drake wasn’t excluding me because he wanted to—he’d always been proud of me as his mate, demanding I be at his side for everything. I was just giving in to my hormones, and that wasn’t going to help anyone. If I wanted things to change, I’d have to see to it myself. “You’re absolutely right. Dammit, I am a Guardian. I am a wyvern’s mate—we won’t go into whose right now because that’s all screwed up—but I am still a wyvern’s mate, and that’s important.” Righteous indignation filled me, but it was a cleansing, energizing emotion. “That’s better,” Uncle Damian nodded as I stormed over to the window and flung back the curtain. “And I am a demon lord, one of the seven princes of Abaddon!” I yelled, spinning around to face him, shaking my fist to the ceiling. “As god is my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!” “Eh…” Uncle Damian pursed his lips. “Sorry. Got carried away with the moment. Jim, Traci! I summon thee!” Both demons appeared before me just as Rene cracked open the door and peered in. “Is everything all right? We heard yelling.” “Come in and join the fun,” I said as he slowly came into the room, Nora on his heels. “Everything’s crap right now, but it’s about to get a whole lot better
Katie MacAlister (Holy Smokes (Aisling Grey, #4))
His thoughts died as Anders’s brain caught and held on to one particular sentence that had run through his mind. God, he loved this woman? Breaking their kiss, he lifted his head and stared down into her sweet face. She was like a ray of sunshine. Golden hair, porcelain skin, bright green eyes, luscious red lips. She was as beautiful as the sun to him, and he’d always thought the sun the most beautiful thing in the world. Perhaps because he could never really enjoy it, and he’d only allowed himself brief glimpses of it, or enjoyed it secondhand from the memories of mortals he fed off. It was only the last decade or so that he’d been able to enjoy it properly with the help of the window coating that blocked UV rays. Valerie rivaled the sun in his eyes. And won. If given the choice of seeing her every day but never seeing the sun again, or never seeing her again and getting to enjoy the sun, Valerie would win hands down, he acknowledged. Anders had always understood that the nanos got it right when they chose a life mate for an immortal. He just hadn’t realized how right it could be. When he was with Valerie, he felt at peace. He enjoyed her smile, her laughter, her chatter, her sense of humor, her everything. He enjoyed just being with her, even if they were saying nothing. And he definitely enjoyed their passion.
Lynsay Sands (Immortal Ever After (Argeneau, #18))
Their concept of knowledge was eloquently expressed, for instance, by Muâdh b. Jabal (d. 18/639, one of the trusted lieutenants of the Prophet, and certainly no forerunner of Sufism): “Study knowledge, for studying knowledge is the fear of God. Searching for knowledge is the worship of Him. Learning knowledge is the glorification of Him. Doing research in knowledge is a holy war in His behalf. Teaching knowledge to those who do not know is charity. And lavishing knowledge upon those who deserve it is nearness to God. Knowledge is a friend in loneliness. It is company for him who is all by himself. It is a guide under any circumstances whatever, an ornament among friends, a relative among strangers, and a lighthouse on the road to Paradise. Through knowledge, God lifts up people and makes them guides toward the good (life) who serve as examples to be followed and whose actions are studied and imitated and whose opinions are accepted. Their friendship is desired by the angels who touch them with their wings. In consequence, everything wet or dry asks for forgiveness for them, down to the fish and the reptiles of the sea and the wild beasts and the domestic animals of the land, as well as heaven and its stars. Knowledge is the life of the heart after blindness (?), the light of the eyes after darkness, and the strength of the body after weakness. Through knowledge, man reaches the stations of the pious and the highest ranks. Reflecting upon knowledge and learning it are considered equivalent to the performance of fasting. It is an act of obedience to God, of worship of Him, and of declaring His oneness. It constitutes ascetic behavior. It accomplishes the strengthening of family ties. Knowledge is the leader, and action is its follower. It is an inspiration given to the blessed. It is something that is denied to the unfortunate.” Such general praise of knowledge is heard constantly throughout Muslim history, in almost the same words and phrases. Here, however, it is used as an argument, obviously fictious and unhistorical, to prove the exclusive concern of the ancient Muslims with knowledge, in the Sufî sense.
Franz Rosenthal (Knowledge Triumphant: The Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam (Brill Classics in Islam))
Anarchism is the great liberator of man from the phantoms that have held him captive; it is the arbiter and pacifier of the two forces for individual and social harmony. To accomplish that unity, Anarchism has declared war on the pernicious influences which have so far prevented the harmonious blending of individual and social instincts, the individual and society. Religion, the dominion of the human mind; Property, the dominion of human needs; and Government, the dominion of human conduct, represent the stronghold of man's enslavement and all the horrors it entails. Religion! How it dominates man's mind, how it humiliates and degrades his soul. God is everything, man is nothing, says religion. But out of that nothing God has created a kingdom so despotic, so tyrannical, so cruel, so terribly exacting that naught but gloom and tears and blood have ruled the world since gods began. Anarchism rouses man to rebellion against this black monster. Break your mental fetters, says Anarchism to man, for not until you think and judge for yourself will you get rid of the dominion of darkness, the greatest obstacle to all progress. Property, the dominion of man's needs, the denial of the right to satisfy his needs. Time was when property claimed a divine right, when it came to man with the same refrain, even as religion, "Sacrifice! Abnegate! Submit!" The spirit of Anarchism has lifted man from his prostrate position. He now stands erect, with his face toward the light. He has learned to see the insatiable, devouring, devastating nature of property, and he is preparing to strike the monster dead. "Property is robbery," said the great French Anarchist, Proudhon. Yes, but without risk and danger to the robber. Monopolizing the accumulated efforts of man, property has robbed him of his birthright, and has turned him loose a pauper and an outcast. Property has not even the time-worn excuse that man does not create enough to satisfy all needs. The A B C student of economics knows that the productivity of labor within the last few decades far exceeds normal demand a hundredfold. But what are normal demands to an abnormal institution? The only demand that property recognizes is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth, because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade. America is particularly boastful of her great power, her enormous national wealth. Poor America, of what avail is all her wealth, if the individuals comprising the nation are wretchedly poor? If they live in squalor, in filth, in crime, with hope and joy gone, a homeless, soilless army of human prey. It is generally conceded that unless the returns of any business venture exceed the cost, bankruptcy is inevitable. But those engaged in the business of producing wealth have not yet learned even this simple lesson. Every year the cost of production in human life is growing larger (50,000 killed, 100,000 wounded in America last year); the returns to the masses, who help to create wealth, are ever getting smaller. Yet America continues to be blind to the inevitable bankruptcy of our business of production. Nor is this the only crime of the latter. Still more fatal is the crime of turning the producer into a mere particle of a machine, with less will and decision than his master of steel and iron. Man is being robbed not merely of the products of his labor, but of the power of free initiative, of originality, and the interest in, or desire for, the things he is making.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and other essays (Illustrated))
Then he, too, collapsed to his knees in the grass. His heart rushed so in his chest, he thought he might die. Eyes closed, he saw his life, all the events leading to this moment. He saw his mother, glowing and smiling down at him, so very pleased. He saw himself as a child playing in a stream, with his shirt and socks hidden on the bank so he wouldn't be caught. He saw his father, Ivor, a stern face glaring down at him. But then he saw beyond the face into his father's eyes- and saw Ivor as a frightened little boy. And then he saw 'her.' Serena. A bright light illuminated her face and then faded, and he saw her as warm and living and real. He could almost reach out and touch her. But she vanished, replaced in his mind's eyes by the coal miners and the filthy wretchedness of the children, of Robbie- And suddenly, Drake knew. His mission was as clear as if God had spoken it aloud. In those few moments, everything fell into place: the man he had tried to be and the man he was created to be. It was as though a key were turned, a locked-up place opened, and all the people, all the events that led to this moment suddenly made sense as never before. Throwing his eyes open, he gulped in air. The preacher was praying for the souls of all those in the audience, and Drake grasped hold of that prayer with all that he had. 'Yes.' The word resounded within him. 'Yes! Yes!' His spirit soared, his hands lifted toward heaven without any fear or shame. 'Save me, Lord Jesus. Save me, too!' God's response came, swift and sure, and Drake had never felt so light... so alive. So deeply, deeply loved.
Jamie Carie (The Duchess and the Dragon)
Look at me,” he said hoarsely. Emma brought her eyes to his face and swallowed hard. It was so good to be close to him again, in spite of everything, that she wanted to weep. “What are you doing here?” “I told you,” she said with some effort, gently knotting the bandage to make it stay. “I wanted to warn you about your brother.” He stood and led her around behind a stand of trees and brush, where he took a seat on a birch stump. Then he pulled her downward, so that she was sitting astraddle of his lap. “You took some big chances, Miss Emma. I want to know why.” Emma lowered her eyes. “Because I love you, Mr. Fairfax,” she replied in a soft, broken voice. Steven was silent for such a long time that Emma feared he was going to send her away. When she finally brought herself to meet his gaze, she was amazed to see that he was smiling. “You love me?” “Yes, God help me,” Emma sighed. Her arms went around his neck. “I love you so much, it hurts.” “Even though you’re not sure whether I’m a killer or not?” Emma nodded sadly. He laughed, and it was a joyful, raucous sound. His hands interlocked at the small of Emma’s back, he planted a noisy kiss on her mouth. “If I didn’t know those cowboys up there would tell the story around the campfire for years to come, I’d take you right now.” She would have responded wholeheartedly, but she fancied she could hide the knowledge from Steven. He put his hand under her chin and lifted. “I love you,” he said firmly. Emma had feared never to hear those words from him, and relief made her sigh and rest her forehead against his.
Linda Lael Miller (Emma And The Outlaw (Orphan Train, #2))
She sat down about two yards away from him, near a large wandering jew. “I first heard about it at the faculty wives’ tea.” “Everything is discussed there. I’m aware of that.” “Of course I would be the last to know. Wives always are.” “Come, come, Clara, my patience and my time are running out.” Without warning he lifted up one of her hand-painted china cake plates and threw it against the wall. The outrage snapped the tension in the room, and she could weep now with some mild comfort, but without, he could see, any shock or concern for the priceless plate. (Aunt Clayburn) “You admit then you have a lover,” she said, examining the broken pieces of china, from her chair. “I don’t admit any such god damned thing,” he scoffed. “The ladies were certainly sold on the truth of it.” “I wish I had the nerve to have a lover. I might have been a better writer.
James Purdy (The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy)
Vanni, I want to marry you, take care of you and Mattie.” She frowned slightly. “Wait a minute—is there anything else you should tell me before you propose? Any other little secret stuffed in the back of your closet?” “Honest to God, that’s it. Until very recently, I had the most boring life in Grants Pass!” “You’re sure about that? Because until last week, I thought I knew everything about you. I mean, I’ve known you for years, lived with you for months. We spent so many hours just talking…” “That’s it. Jesus, isn’t that enough? I want to marry you and Mattie. In fact, once we get the lay of the land, I’d like to have more children. Maybe at least one that we actually make together. I’d give anything for that, Vanni.” She smiled. “Let’s see how many you have so far before we make those kinds of plans, huh?” “Then you’ll marry me?” he asked, brushing the hair away from her brow. “You’re a very interesting guy, Paul. It takes you years to tell me you love me, and minutes to ask me to marry you.” “I’ll wait till you’re ready, but I want us to be together forever.” The corner of her mouth lifted along with one reddish brow, teasing. “Don’t you think we should see how we work out sexually? See if we’re good together?” she asked, grinning playfully. “Vanessa, we’ll be good together. Well, you’ll be perfect and I’m sure I’ll catch on eventually.” He kissed her again. “Are you going to say yes or make me beg?” “Do you think I want to live with my father and have a weekend boyfriend forever? Yes,” she said. “I’m probably going to marry you.” “Oh God, thank you,” he said, grabbing her to him again. “Is tomorrow too soon?” “A
Robyn Carr (Second Chance Pass)
Angry tears stung her eyes. Tension built and boiled inside her. Her cheeks grew hot with suppressed anger, her movements became jerky and abrupt. She shoved an errant strand of hair out of her face, stormed to the washstand — And collided with her husband. He had been coming toward her with a piece of wet linen and a bowl half-filled with water. As he and Juliet bounced off each other, some of the water spilled onto the carpet, the rest down the front of his waistcoat. Ignoring it, Gareth held out the damp rag like a truce offering. "Here." "What's that for?" "She needs washing, doesn't she?" "What do you know about babies?" "Come now, Juliet. I am not entirely lacking in common sense." "I wonder," she muttered, spitefully. He summoned a polite though confused smile — and that only stoked Juliet's temper all the more. She did not want him to be such a gentleman, damn it!  She wanted a good, out-and-out row with him. She wanted to tell him just what she thought of him, of his reckless spending, of his carefree attitude toward serious matters. Oh, why hadn't she married someone like Charles — someone capable, competent, and mature? "What is wrong, Juliet?" "Everything!" she fumed. She plunged the linen in the bowl of water and began swabbing Charlotte's bottom. "I think Perry was right. We should go straight back to your brother, the duke." "You should not listen to Perry." "Why not? He's got more sense than you and the rest of your friends combined. We haven't even been married a day, and already it's obvious that you're hopelessly out of your element. You have no idea what to do with a wife and daughter. You have no idea where to go, how to support us — nothing. Yet you had to come charging after us, the noble rescuer who just had to save the day. I'll bet you didn't give any thought at all to what to do with us afterward, did you? Oh!  Do you always act before thinking? Do you?" He looked at her for a moment, brows raised, stunned by the force of her attack. Then he said dryly, "My dear, if you'll recall, that particular character defect saved your life. Not to mention the lives of the other people on that stagecoach." "So it did, but it's not going to feed us or find us a place to live!"  She lifted Charlotte's bottom, pinned a clean napkin around the baby's hips, and soaped and rinsed her hands. "I still cannot believe how much money you tossed away on a marriage license, no, a bribe, this morning, nor how annoyed you still seem to be that we didn't waste God-knows-how-much on a hotel tonight. You seem to have no concept of money's value, and at the rate you're going, we're going to have to throw ourselves on the mercy of the local parish or go begging in the street just to put food in our bellies!" "Don't be ridiculous. That would never happen." "Why wouldn't it?" "Juliet, my brother is the Duke of Blackheath. My family is one of the oldest and richest in all of England. We are not going to starve, I can assure you." "What do you plan to do, then, work for a living? Get those pampered, lily-white hands of yours dirty and calloused?
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
You didn’t even look at me,” I protest. He sits up on his knees and lifts my leg up by his shoulder. He’s not looking at my body. “You have pink toenail polish, and you have a bit of stubble on your legs.” He grins. “You can use my razor if you want.” His hand slides up my calf, toward my knee, leaving a wake of goose bumps behind. “Your thighs are firm, and you have a generous flare to your hips.” His hand slips to the front of my panties, where he drags his thumb back and forth for a moment. “You have this tiny dusting of hair, here.” His thumb presses against my cleft, and I arch my back to press harder against him. He chuckles. His hands drift up my sides, lifting the shirt. He tugs it up, until it rests just beneath my breasts. He presses a kiss to my belly. My nipples are hard and standing tall. He licks his lips. “Your nipples are pink and puffy and perfect. And your breasts will fit in my hands.” He throws the shirt back down, groaning as he lies back down on top of me, rocking his length against me again. “I saw everything,” he says. “I was just trying to be a gentleman.” He laughs. “You thought I didn’t look.” He kisses the tip of my nose. “Silly woman,” he scolds. “You looked.” That’s all I can say. And it comes out as a croak. Thank God he can’t hear the quiver in my voice. “I looked,” he admits. “You were naked. And so fucking beautiful that I could barely breathe. Of course, I looked.
Tammy Falkner (Tall, Tatted and Tempting (The Reed Brothers, #1))
You always know what to do,” she said. “Not always,” he said, holding her close. “Right now, for example. I’m not sure what to do.” “Why?” she asked, her eyes still closed, her face buried in his chest. “When are you going to tell me?” She lifted her head. “Tell you?” “About the baby.” “But Jack, you know the baby and mother are—” “The baby inside of you,” he said, placing a large hand over her flat tummy. A startled look crossed her features. She pushed him away a little bit. “Did someone say something to you?” she asked. “No one had to say anything. Please tell me I’m not the last to know.” “I just saw John yesterday—and how in the world would you know?” “Mel,” he said, running the back of one knuckle along her cheek, “your body’s changing. You haven’t had a period. For a while, I thought maybe you’d had a hysterectomy or something because I haven’t noticed a period since the first time we made love, but there’s a blue box under the bathroom sink. You don’t drink your beer, and you get nauseous from time to time. Not to mention being more tired than usual.” “Lord,” she said. “You never think a man will notice. Not things like that.” “Well?” She sighed. “I went to see John yesterday to confirm what I already suspected. I’m pregnant. Three months.” “You’re a midwife. How could you not know at three weeks?” “Because I assumed I was sterile. Infertile. Mark and I did everything to try to get a baby—even in vitro fertilization. To no avail. This was the last thing I ever expected.” “Ah,” he said, finally clear on why she might keep it from him. “So, here we are,” he said. “I’m sorry, Jack. You must think I’m an idiot.” He kissed her. “Of course not. Mel, I’m in love with you.” She was frozen for a second. “Oh, God,” she finally said, plummeted into tears. “Oh, God, Jack!” She buried her face in his chest and wept. “Hey, no reason to cry, baby. You a little surprised? No more than me,” he laughed. “I never thought this could happen to me. It hit me so hard, I damn near fell down. But I love you.” She continued to softly cry. “It’s okay, honey. It’ll be okay.” He stroked her hair. “You want to have a baby, obviously.” She lifted her head. “I wanted a baby so badly, I ached. But do you?” she asked. “I mean, you’re forty.” “I want everything with you. Everything. Besides, I like babies. And I’m wild about pregnant women.” “When did you decide you knew for sure?” she asked him. “At least a month ago.” He put a hand over her breast. “Sore? Haven’t you noticed the changes? Your nipples have darkened.” “I was in denial,” she said, wiping at her tears.
Robyn Carr (Virgin River (Virgin River, #1))
I DESIGNED YOU to live in union with Me. This union does not negate who you are; it actually makes you more fully yourself. When you try to live independently of Me, you experience emptiness and dissatisfaction. You may gain the whole world and yet lose everything that really counts. Find fulfillment through living close to Me, yielding to My purposes for you. Though I may lead you along paths that feel alien to you, trust that I know what I am doing. If you follow Me wholeheartedly, you will discover facets of yourself that were previously hidden. I know you intimately —far better than you know yourself. In union with Me, you are complete. In closeness to Me, you are transformed more and more into the one I designed you to be. “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” MARK 8 : 36 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. PSALM 139 : 13 – 16 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 CORINTHIANS 3 : 17 – 18 September 17 YOU WILL NOT FIND MY PEACE by engaging in excessive planning: attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief. When your mind spins with multiple plans, Peace may sometimes seem to be within your grasp; yet it always eludes you. Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion. I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability. I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring Me all your needs, your hopes and fears. Commit everything into My care. Turn from the path of planning to the path of Peace. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 PETER 5 : 6 – 7 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. PROVERBS 16 : 9 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. PSALM 37 : 5 (NKJV)
Sarah Young (Jesus Calling, with Scripture References: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (A 365-Day Devotional) (Jesus Calling®))
I hope you’ll consider marrying me sooner rather than later.” Another kiss, slow and devastating. “Because I long for you, Kathleen, my dearest love. I want to sleep with you every night, and wake with you every morning.” His mouth caressed her with deepening pressure until her arms curled around his neck. “And I want children with you. Soon.” The truth was there, in his voice, his eyes, on his lips. She could taste it. She realized in wonder that somehow, in the past months, his heart had indeed changed. He was becoming the man fate had intended for him to be…his true self…a man who could make commitments and meet his responsibilities, and most of all, love without holding anything back. Sixty years? A man like that shouldn’t have to wait even sixty seconds. Fumbling a little with the watch chain, she lifted it and slipped it over her head. The glimmering gold timepiece settled over her heart. She looked up at him with swimming eyes. “I love you, Devon. Yes, I’ll marry you, yes--” He hauled her against him and kissed her without reserve. And he continued to kiss her hungrily as he undressed her, his mouth tender and hot as he ravished every exposed inch of skin. He removed everything but the little gold watch, which Kathleen insisted on keeping. “Devon,” she said breathlessly, when they were both naked and he had lowered beside her, “I…I should confess to a small prevarication.” She wanted complete honesty between them. No secrets, nothing held back. “Yes?” he asked with his lips against her throat, one of his thighs pressing between hers. “Until recently, I hadn’t really checked my calendar to make certain I was--” She broke off as he used the edge of his teeth to delicately score her throat. “--counting days properly. And I had already resolved to take full responsibility for…” His tongue was playing in the hollow at the base of her neck. “…what happened that morning. After breakfast. You remember.” “I remember,” he said, kissing his way down to her breasts. Kathleen grasped his head in her hands, urging him to look at her and pay attention. “Devon. What I’m trying to say is that I may have misled you last night…” She swallowed hard and forced herself to finish. “…when I said that my monthly courses had started.” He went very still. His face was wiped clean of all expression as he stared down at her. “They haven’t?” She shook her head, her anxious gaze searching his. “In fact, I’m quite late.” One of his hands came to her face, a tremor running through his long fingers. “You might be pregnant?” he asked huskily. “I’m almost certain of it.” Devon stared down at her dazedly, a flush covering his face. “My sweet, beautiful love, my angel--” He began to look over her intently, pressing kisses along her body, caressing her stomach. “My God. This settles it: I am the luckiest sod in England.
Lisa Kleypas (Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1))
He sat down beside the boy, saying nothing for a moment, but then he saw Briarley's lip quiver and lifted his arm, resting it gently on the boy's shoulder. He said, at length, 'Was he a professional, Briarley?' and when Briarley nodded, 'We couldn't have held out this long without them, lad. They taught us everything we knew in the early days,' and then, when the boy made no reply, 'Do you care to tell me about him? I've served in the Lys sector twice. Maybe we met, spoke to one another.' He could not be sure whether his presence brought any real comfort but it must have eased Briarley's inner tensions to some extent for presently he said, 'I didn't see a great deal of him, sir. When I was a kid he was mostly in India or Ireland. He came here once, on leave. Last autumn, it was. We… we sat here for a bit, waiting for the school boneshaker to take him to the station.' 'Did he talk about the war, Briarley?' 'No, sir, not really. He only…' 'Well?' 'He said if anything did happen, and he was crocked and laid up for a time, I was to be sure and do all I could to look after the mater while he was away.' 'Are you an only child, Briarley?' 'No, sir. I'm the only boy. I've got three sisters, one older, the others just kids.' 'Well, then, you've got a job ahead of you. Your mother is going to need you badly. That's something to keep in mind, isn't it?' 'Yes, sir. I suppose so, but…' He began to cry silently and with a curious dignity, so that David automatically tightened his grip on the slight shoulders. There was no point in saying anything more. They sat there for what seemed to David a long time and then, with a gulp or two, Briarley got up. 'I'd better start packing, sir. Algy… I mean the headmaster said I was to go home today, ahead of the others. Matron's getting my trunk down from the covered playground…' And then, in what David thought of as an oddly impersonal tone, 'The telegram said “Killed in action", sir. What exactly – well, does that always mean what it says?' 'If it hadn't been that way it would have said “Died of wounds", and there's a difference.' 'Thank you, sir.' He was a plucky kid and had himself in hand again. He nodded briefly and walked back towards the head's house. David would have liked to have followed him, letting himself be caught up in the swirl of end-of-term junketings, but he could not trust himself to move. His hands were shaking again and his head was tormented by the persistent buzzing that always seemed to assail him these days in moments of stress. He said, explosively, 'God damn everybody! Where's the sense in it…? Where's the bloody sense, for Christ's sake?' And then, like Briarley, he was granted the relief of tears.
R.F. Delderfield
He nodded against my neck and his hands came around to cup my breasts, grinding into me again from behind. I ground back. He moaned, slipping a hand down the front of my panties. “Tell me what you like,” he whispered against my ear, moving against me. Oh my fucking God… What didn’t I like? It had been so long and I was so deprived I was afraid he was going to finish me right there. My body began to tremble at the build. I couldn’t take it anymore. He seemed to sense it because he pulled his fingers back right before I disintegrated in his hand, and he laid me down on the bed, sliding over me. He hovered on his forearms and ran a thick, muscular thigh up between my legs until it hit my core and I sucked in air against his lips. Oh my God, he was so good at this… And he fucking knew it. He smiled and kissed me, his tongue darting in my mouth, his rough hands canvassing my skin like he wanted to feel every inch of me. I did the same. It felt so good to touch him. My eyes had spent so much time learning his body, and my hands wanted to map him. I ran fingers along his chest, over the curve of his broad freckled shoulders, down the muscles of his back, along the valley of his spine. I breathed in his scent as I grabbed his firm ass and pulled him into me and he groaned, rubbing hard against my leg. I couldn’t believe this was real, that I got to touch him, that he was kissing me, that there was nothing between us but my thin G-string. His bare skin pressing into mine was the most exquisite feeling of my life, a million nerve endings connecting with his, little electrical shocks that merged into one huge surge. He sat up and kneeled between my legs, picking up my foot and putting it on his shoulder. The view was fucking spectacular. The definition of his chest continued down with a line of hair into a V muscle that pointed at his divine penis like an arrow. I reached out and took him in my hand and his breathing went ragged. My gaze came back up to his hooded eyes. He kissed my ankle and I watched him do it, biting my lip, stroking him, my need unraveling into something so starved I wanted to beg him to have mercy on me and just fuck me already. I thought of the way he’d touched me in the car, his strong hands massaging my calf, and I couldn’t help but feel like he was continuing something he started earlier. He ran his palms from my ankle, behind my knee, up my thigh, and he hooked my panties in his thumbs and pulled them down and off. Then he balled them in his hand, shut his eyes, and put them to his nose, breathing in. When his eyes opened again, they’d gone primal. He came at me like a wild animal. He lowered onto me, his jaw clenched tight, every muscle of his body tense, and I lifted my hips. He held my gaze as he eased himself in, slow and deliberate, and I wrapped my legs around his waist, feral with need, frantically urging him deeper. One… Two… I wasn’t going to last a minute and it was all overload, his naked body pressed to mine, the feel of him inside me, rhythmically thrusting against my core, deeper and deeper, his quivering breath over my collarbone, his hips grinding between my legs, his scent, his sounds, the heat of his skin, the rocking of the bed, the moaning in my throat—my back arched and I fell apart at the same time he did, clutching at everything, pulling him into me, pulsing with his release. He collapsed on top of me and I was decimated. I lay there like a rag doll, twitching with aftershocks. He gasped for breath, his face by my ear. “Holy…fucking…shit,” he panted. I just nodded. I couldn’t even speak. I’d never had sex that good. Never in my life—and I’d had my share of good sex. It was like we’d been foreplaying for weeks and I’d been sexually malnourished, starving, waiting for him to feed me.
Abby Jimenez
February 10 Is Your Imagination of God Starved? Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things. Isaiah 40:26 The people of God in Isaiah’s day had starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their imagination aright. Nature to a saint is sacramental. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in Nature. In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply use our starved imagination to realise it. The test of spiritual concentration is bringing the imagination into captivity. Is your imagination looking on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Your work? Your conception of what a worker should be? Your experience of salvation and sanctification? Then your imagination of God is starved, and when you are up against difficulties you have no power, you can only endure in darkness. If your imagination is starved, do not look back to your own experience; it is God Whom you need. Go right out of yourself, away from the face of your idols, away from everything that has been starving your imagination. Rouse yourself, take the gibe that Isaiah gave the people, and deliberately turn your imagination to God. One of the reasons of stultification in prayer is that there is no imagination, no power of putting ourselves deliberately before God. We have to learn how to be broken bread and poured-out wine on the line of intercession more than on the line of personal contact. Imagination is the power God gives a saint to posit himself out of himself into relationships he never was in.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
So everything turns on whether the reported events actually happened. No other religion bases its entire edifice on datable facts. The events it reports either happened or they didn’t, but the result is that the gospel creates heralds, not speculative pundits, mystics, and moralists. Jesus Christ does not create a school or a pious community for the spiritually and morally gifted. Rather, he brings a kingdom — the kingdom of God — which casts down the proud and lifts up the downcast.
Michael S. Horton (Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples)
WILL I BRING MYSELF UP TO THIS LEVEL? “. . . perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1     Therefore, having these promises. . . .” I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.     I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived—a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will—where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?     Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
Yes, we should pray regardless of feelings, and yet we should do everything we can to engage and warm our hearts, because prayer is a lifting of the heart to God (Lam 3:41).
Timothy J. Keller (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
He kissed her long and hot, drinking in her taste and scent. Her hands went to his hips, her fingers hooking through the belt loops on his khaki shorts. She pulled him against her, arching her back, the fly of her jeans against his. Josh sucked in a deep breath and finally, reluctantly, lifted his head. “I’m so damned glad to see you.” “I’m so damned glad I got on that bus,” she said, her voice breathless, her smile wide. “I hope you’re planning to stay for a while. Like all day. And night. And then the next. Four or five.” Her eyes widened. “The next four or five days?” He lowered his head, brushing his lips over hers. “I was thinking more like months.” She laughed softly, her breath hot against his mouth. “So everything I remember feeling last year is still here.” “Definitely still here,” he agreed. And stronger. Absence did make the heart grow fonder. He also knew it made memories fade and fantasies grow. But it seemed that neither of those things had happened in regard to Tori. He remembered everything—the freckles on her nose, the length of her eyelashes, the reddish-gold highlights in her hair, the way her laugh punched him in the gut and made him hard as steel. “Thank God,” she said softly. “So that’s a yes to the four or five months?” She laughed again. “Part of me is a very definite yes.” “That’s the part I want.” “Well, I can definitely offer you a chance to hang out with me for a few days.” “Done.” “You don’t even want to know what for?” “Doesn’t matter.” “Wow,” she said again. Josh brushed his thumbs over her cheekbones. “That’s what I was thinking.” She blew out a little breath. “So how do you feel about weddings?” “Are you proposing?
Erin Nicholas (My Best Friend's Mardi Gras Wedding (Boys of the Bayou, #1))
The words looped in my head. Download it for free. Cheerful, triumphant. Download it for free! What a freaking bargain. “I’m sorry,” I said. “She found what?” "That website. Meems, what was the name again? Bongo or something?” Mimi looked up from her iPad. “What are you talking about?” “That website where you found Sarah’s book.” "Oh,” she said. “Bingo. Haven’t you heard of it? It’s like an online library. You can download almost anything for free. It’s amazing.” My hands were shaking. I set down Jen’s phone, and then I set down the wineglass next to it. Without a coaster. "You mean a pirate site,” I said. “Oh God, no! I would never. It’s an online library.” "That’s what they call it. But they’re just stealing. They’re fencing stolen goods. Easy to do with electronic copies.” "No. That’s not true.” Mimi’s voice rose a little. Sharpened a little. “Libraries lend out e-books.” “Real libraries do. They buy them from the publisher. Sites like Bingo just upload unauthorized copies to sell advertising or put cookies on your phone or whatever else. They’re pirates.” There was a small, shrill silence. I lifted my wineglass and took a long drink, even though my fingers were trembling so badly, I knew everyone could see the vibration. "Well,” said Mimi. “It’s not like it matters. I mean, the book’s been out for years and everything, it’s like public domain.” I put down the wineglass and picked up my tote bag. “So I don’t have time to lecture you about copyright law or anything. Basically, if publishers don’t get paid, authors don’t get paid. That’s kind of how it works.” "Oh, come on,” said Mimi. “You got paid for this book.” "Not as much as you think. Definitely not as much as your husband gets paid to short derivatives or whatever he does that buys all this stuff.” I waved my hand at the walls. “And you know, fine, maybe it’s not the big sellers who suffer. It’s the midlist authors, the great names you never hear of, where every sale counts … What am I saying? You don’t care. None of you actually cares. Sitting here in your palaces in the sky. You never had to earn a penny of your own. Why the hell should you care about royalties?” I climbed out of my silver chair and hoisted my tote bag over my shoulder. “It’s about a dollar a book, by the way. Paid out every six months. So I walked all the way over here, gave up an evening of my life, and even if every single one of you had actually bought a legitimate copy, I would have earned about a dozen bucks for my trouble. Twelve dollars and a glass of cheap wine. I’ll see myself out.
Lauren Willig
Just as she built enough determination to end her life, a song came on the radio that said 'So many times I've questioned certain circumstances and things I could not understand.' Those words caught her attention and she pulled the car over to the side of the road. She wept and prayed as she continued listening to the rest of the song, "Through The Fire". While still in tears, she returned home and said to her husband, 'I am going to make it.' Together they knelt down and began to pray, asking God for help. Everything began to change, and a healing began to take place in her mind. Afterward when she would sense any sign of depression returning, she would ask her husband to sing "Through The Fire", and the dark cloud would seem to lift.
Gerald Crabb (Through The Fire)
Lift up your eyes. Don’t get lost in your troubles. Dare to believe that good things will happen. Dare to believe that God was speaking to you when he said, “In everything God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28 NCV).
Max Lucado (Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World)
But in Westbrook, I have no idea what might come at us, but I know something is already in the works for both of us. I just need her to stand with me. “Why does it feel like this is just the beginning of a war?” She sniffles in my sweatshirt but I don’t fucking care. “That’s because we are in the middle of it and the enemy just showed up.” “She doesn’t want us together.” “They want us to dance to their tune for the sake of the great land.” “What do we do, Ace?” She questions, looking up at me. I lift my hand and wipe the remaining tears that fall on her cheek and my fingers. Her tears burn into my skin and I just want them fucking gone. I wish I had better words to tell her. I wish I had the courage to tell her that everything is going to be alright but I’m not going to lie to her. Everything is going to go to shit, but I refuse for that to include us. “We do what we do best.” “And what’s that?” I lean down and kiss her forehead, lingering there as I take a whiff of her. She smells like a heaven and temptation at the same time, I might just die in her scent. “We fuck shit up.” I groan, as I look down at her, feeling the tenseness of my entire body. She smiles then, a sad, tired smile. Tonight has been too much but I don’t think it’s over. Not for us anyway. “Promise me something.” She starts, looking up at me, with the wind blowing her hair into her face. I move the silky strands away, staring into her eyes—hard eyes filled with so much confusion right now. “Anything.” The entire world if you want it. The moon and the stars are yours, you rule them all. Me, baby. I promise you me. . . “Promise me that you will never lie to me. Or keep anything from me.” I had a feeling this was coming. At this point, I’m not sure if lying will keep her safe or if it will make things worse. Something tells me that the latter is much more probable now with the stench of war in the air. Will she lie to me too? “So long as you promise to do that too . . .” She nods her head, then reaches for my hand that cups her cheek. She loops our pinkies, mirroring something we used to do whenever the boys were around. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to her with the boys watching but sometimes, I could sense she was sad or she could sense that something was happening with me. So, she would come stand close to me, but we wouldn’t look at each other as our pinky fingers interlocked under the table, or at our backs where no one could see. God, I’m a sucker for this girl. Been a fool for her my whole life. “I promise.” We whisper at the same time.
Thandiwe Mpofu (Vicious Hate (Westbrook Blues #2))
Try to grasp the essence of what the great artists, the serious masters, say in their masterpieces, and you will again find God in them. One man has written or said it in a book, another in a painting. Just read the Bible and the Gospel, that will start you thinking, thinking about many things, thinking about everything, well then, think about many things, think about everything, that will lift your thoughts above the humdrum despite yourself. We know how to read, so let us read!
Vincent van Gogh
Anxious to demonstrate her competence, Amelia strode to the other window and began jerking at the closed draperies. “Thank you, Mr. Rohan, but as you can see, I have the situation well in hand.” “I think I’ll stay. Having stopped you from falling through one window, I’d hate for you to go out the other.” “I won’t. I’ll be fine. I have everything under—” She tugged harder, and the rod clattered to the floor, just as the other had done. But unlike the other curtain, which had been lined with aged velvet, this one was lined with some kind of shimmering rippling fabric, some kind of— Amelia froze in horror. The underside of the curtain was covered with bees. Bees. Hundreds, no, thousands of them, their iridescent wings beating in an angry relentless hum. They lifted in a mass from the crumpled velvet, while more flew from a crevice in the wall, where an enormous hive simmered. They must have found their way into a hollow space from a decayed spot in the outer wall. The insects swarmed like tongues of flame around Amelia’s paralyzed form. She felt the blood drain from her face. “Oh, God—” “Don’t move.” Rohan’s voice was astonishingly calm. “Don’t swat at them.” She had never known such primal fear, welling up from beneath her skin, leaking through every pore. No part of her body seemed to be under her control. The air was boiling with them, bees and more bees. It was not going to be a pleasant way to die. Closing her eyes tightly, Amelia willed herself to be still, when every muscle strained and screamed for action. Insects moved in sinuous patterns around her, tiny bodies touching her sleeves, hands, shoulders. “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” she heard Rohan say. Amelia highly doubted that. “These are not f-frightened bees.” Her voice didn’t sound like her own. “These are f-furious bees.” “They do seem a bit annoyed,” Rohan conceded, approaching her slowly. “It could be the dress you’re wearing—they tend not to like dark colors.” A short pause. “Or it could be the fact that you just ripped down half their hive.” “If you h-have the nerve to be amused by this—” She broke off and covered her face with her hands, trembling all over. His soothing voice undercut the buzzing around them. “Be still. Everything’s fine. I’m right here with you.” “Take me away,” she whispered desperately. Her heart was pounding too hard, making her bones shake, driving every coherent thought from her head. She felt him brush a few inquisitive insects from her hair and back. His arms went around her, his shoulder sturdy beneath her cheek. “I will, sweetheart.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
He was carrying her big heavy trunk, so he was fairly helpless, which was the way she liked it, because she was yelling at him. “Why can’t you let me handle things my own way, why?” “Because your own way would entail milking a cow for hours and washing their clothes and then sewing them all new ones and God knows what else!” “I don’t understand,” she said. “I would’ve thought after we got married you would calm down a bit, be less protective, less…you know. You. That American way that makes you stand out like a black peg among white nails.” Alexander laughed. “You don’t understand anything,” he said, panting a bit. “Why would you think that?” “Because we’re married.” “To shatter your illusions, I’ll warn you right now that everything you’ve seen will increase a hundredfold now that you’re my wife. Everything.” “Everything?” “Yes. Protectiveness. Possessiveness. Jealousy. All of it. A hundredfold. That’s the nature of the beast. Didn’t want to tell you beforehand, thought it might scare you off.” “Might?” “There you are. You can’t get the marriage annulled.” Alexander glanced at her, his eyes burning. “Not after it’s been so…thoroughly consummated.” They couldn’t even wait to get home. He carried the trunk into the pines and sat down on it. Tatiana climbed on top of him. “Don’t be too loud in the woods,” he told her, lifting her onto himself and kissing her. Afterward Alexander said, “That’s like asking you to shed your freckles for a day, isn’t it?
Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1))
DEPORT yourself from the coast of negative attitudes and you will give your dreams a lift up from a level of high concentration of repeated failure to an indelible success! God is with you!
Israelmore Ayivor (Daily Drive 365)
There is so much wisdom in the straightforward words of A. W. Tozer: The church is famishing for want of his presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged.2
Darlene Zschech (Worship Changes Everything: Experiencing God's Presence in Every Moment of Life)
Mick?” she whispered. “Yeah?” “Are you feeling something?” “You could say that,” he murmured. “You?” She licked her lips and he nearly groaned. “I think so,” she whispered. “That’s good.” “Are you going to kiss me?” He cupped her face, let his thumbs trace her jawbone, his fingers sinking into her silky waves. “No,” he said quietly. “And not because I don’t want to, but because when I do, I want to know you’re ready. That you’ll feel it.” She sighed. “Guys do whatever they want all the time, no emotions necessary. I want that skill.” Another shaky breath escaped her, and since they were literally an inch apart, they shared air for a single heartbeat during which neither of them moved. Her gaze dropped to his mouth. “Okay, so I’m definitely feeling things.” She hesitated and then her hands came up to his chest. “Maybe we should test it out to be sure.” God, she was the sweetest temptation he’d ever met, and he wanted nothing more than to cover her mouth with his. Instead, he brushed his mouth to her cheek. “Please, Mick,” she whispered, her exhale warming his throat. He loved the “please,” and he wanted to do just that more than anything. But when she tried to turn her head into his, to line up their mouths, he gently tightened his grip, dragging his mouth along her smooth skin instead, making his way to her ear. “Not yet,” he whispered, letting his lips brush over her earlobe and the sensitive skin beneath it. She moaned and clutched him. “Why not?” It took every ounce of control he had to lift his head and meet her gaze. “Because I want to make sure you’re really with me, that you’re feeling everything I’m feeling. That there’ll be no doubt, no regrets.” “You sure have a lot of requirements.” He laughed. And she was right, it was all big talk for a guy who didn’t do relationships anymore. Still, he forced himself to step back and shut the passenger door. As he rounded the hood to the driver’s side, he tried to remind himself of all the reasons she was a bad idea. He lived two hundred miles away and he was hoping to move his mom up by him and never come back here. Not to mention that Quinn lived an equal two hundred miles in the opposite direction and she was in a deeply vulnerable place. No way would he even think about taking advantage of that. But when he slid behind the wheel and their eyes locked, he realized that while his mind could stand firm, the rest of his body wasn’t on board with the in-control program.
Jill Shalvis
Mick?” she whispered. “Yeah?” “Are you feeling something?” “You could say that,” he murmured. “You?” She licked her lips and he nearly groaned. “I think so,” she whispered. “That’s good.” “Are you going to kiss me?” He cupped her face, let his thumbs trace her jawbone, his fingers sinking into her silky waves. “No,” he said quietly. “And not because I don’t want to, but because when I do, I want to know you’re ready. That you’ll feel it.” She sighed. “Guys do whatever they want all the time, no emotions necessary. I want that skill.” Another shaky breath escaped her, and since they were literally an inch apart, they shared air for a single heartbeat during which neither of them moved. Her gaze dropped to his mouth. “Okay, so I’m definitely feeling things.” She hesitated and then her hands came up to his chest. “Maybe we should test it out to be sure.” God, she was the sweetest temptation he’d ever met, and he wanted nothing more than to cover her mouth with his. Instead, he brushed his mouth to her cheek. “Please, Mick,” she whispered, her exhale warming his throat. He loved the “please,” and he wanted to do just that more than anything. But when she tried to turn her head into his, to line up their mouths, he gently tightened his grip, dragging his mouth along her smooth skin instead, making his way to her ear. “Not yet,” he whispered, letting his lips brush over her earlobe and the sensitive skin beneath it. She moaned and clutched him. “Why not?” It took every ounce of control he had to lift his head and meet her gaze. “Because I want to make sure you’re really with me, that you’re feeling everything I’m feeling. That there’ll be no doubt, no regrets.” “You sure have a lot of requirements.” He laughed. And she was right, it was all big talk for a guy who didn’t do relationships anymore. Still, he forced himself to step back and shut the passenger door. As he rounded the hood to the driver’s side, he tried to remind himself of all the reasons she was a bad idea. He lived two hundred miles away and he was hoping to move his mom up by him and never come back here. Not to mention that Quinn lived an equal two hundred miles in the opposite direction and she was in a deeply vulnerable place. No way would he even think about taking advantage of that. But when he slid behind the wheel and their eyes locked, he realized that while his mind could stand firm, the rest of his body wasn’t on board with the in-control program.
Jill Shalvis (Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, #1))
Do you love him?” Jared looked at the closed door. “Yes.” “You’re lying.” He grabbed Jared’s shoulder and turned him around. “You’re fucking lying!” Jared’s face was inscrutable, his muscles rigid under his touch. “I’m in a good relationship. Let me be.” Gabriel tightened his grip. “Look me in the eye and say you love him. And I’ll go and never come back.” Jared clenched his jaw. “He’s everything I ever wanted in a boyfriend.” “That’s not what I asked.” Jared looked him in the eye and said, “I love him. I’m over you. I don’t love you anymore.” Gabe sucked a breath in. He felt sick to his stomach. “Prove it,” he whispered, hating himself a little for being so pathetic. “How am I supposed to prove it?” “Hold me. And I’ll know. I always knew.” Some emotion flickered across Jared’s face. “That’s silly.” “Prove it, then,” Gabriel repeated, firmer this time. “If you’re telling the truth, you’ve got nothing to hide, right?” Jared didn’t move. “Or do you?” Gabriel said, raising his eyebrows. Pressing his lips together, Jared lifted his arms and put them loosely around him before quickly letting go—but Gabe grabbed his shirt. “Real hug. Or are you scared?” Swearing through his teeth, Jared yanked him close and hugged him so hard he could barely breathe. Gabriel didn’t care: he melted against Jared, into him, wanting to hide in him, crawl under his skin and never let go. Cursing again, Jared squeezed him harder, and God, Jared’s scent, his arms around him, his strength—it felt so good, right and perfect on so many levels that he felt high. He’d been cold for so long. He felt warm now. Warm, cherished and loved. “Baby,” Jared croaked out, kissing Gabe’s brow and then his cheek, his breath unsteady and ragged. Gabriel smiled—Jared hadn’t called him that in years. “Missed you,” he whispered, closing his eyes and leaning eagerly into the touch as Jared kissed his face. “So much.” “I know,” Jared said, trailing his lips across Gabriel’s cheek and inhaling deeply. He seemed to be faring no better than Gabe: just as hungry for touch. And God, he’d been hungry for this. So hungry that at times it felt as though the need was gnawing a hole inside his soul.
Alessandra Hazard (Just a Bit Unhealthy (Straight Guys #3))
Let me kiss you,” I begged, wishing there was something else I could do to ease him. I reached up and took those gorgeous cheekbones in my hands, bringing his mouth down to mine. My kisses were tender, brushing his soft lips with mine, licking into his sweet mouth. With gentle hands, I rubbed his arms and chest. I let my fingers sift down through the light hair on his belly, until I brushed his cock. “Oh,” he said into my mouth as I began to stroke him lightly. “Oh,” he said again as I grazed his nipple with my free hand, and tangled my tongue with his. I kissed him to say that everything was okay, no matter if we fucked or not. I kissed him to tell him how grateful I was that he loved me. So grateful. Josh shifted carefully. He adjusted the angle of his hips, and the effect was a bit of friction on my cock, which was still buried inside him. I couldn’t hold back my moan. It just felt so good. That seemed to make Josh feel brave. He put some weight on the headboard and experimented with lifting himself up my shaft. God in heaven, it was good. My kisses lost focus as Josh’s firm body slid up and then down my shaft. He tipped his hips further, then did it again. “Baby,” I breathed. But that’s all I said. Because speaking was beyond my capacity at the moment. Slowly, he thrusted again. And again. Each time he moved, I felt everything. His body hugged my cock in the most beautiful way. And his sweet breath brushed my face, his tongue skimmed my mouth. “It’s so…” I struggled to tell him how I was feeling. “…Hot inside you. So… intense. Are you all right?
Sarina Bowen (Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye, #1))
Somehow everything inside him registered those words with Kane. His soul mate. The person who shared space inside his soul. He couldn't help the small grin he gave or how he scooted closer to reach out and run his fingers through Kane's silky dark hair. As the candles flickered, Avery slowly lifted the short pieces and realized auburn might be the true color of Kane's hair. He loved auburn hair. God, he was so physically attracted to this man. Avery started to move forward again as though drawn by a magnetic force. Slow down, mister. You'll scare him off before you even get a chance.
Kindle Alexander (Always (Always & Forever #1))
No, Kane, you aren't listening. Let me finish. I need you to listen. I know this is too soon. And I'm not saying right now, but promise me, one year from today, that you'll marry me if you still want to be with me." Avery held a small black velvet box and flipped open the lid. Kane's eyes landed on the ring and then darted straight to Avery's face where an intense expression stared back at him. A minute or two passed with neither man willing to look away. "Say something," Avery finally said. "You barely know me," Kane shot back. A few minutes ago, he thought they were breaking up, and now, Avery was down on one knee. What? "I said in a year. One year from today. I don't want to marry you tomorrow. A year will give us time. If either of us wants out, it's all right, but for now, this is a promise ring. You are promising to be mine," Avery said, carefully explaining everything while still down on one knee. "We can't marry," Kane fired back. "We can in the church. We can be married by your God's word," Avery said, pleading with him now. "Avery, my God doesn't believe in us," Kane said. That had Avery faltering. He lowered his arms and stood, backing Kane against the wall both literally and physically. "But he does. I know he does. I know you're meant for me. I know you're the other half of my soul. We are meant to be together. I know in one year we will be married, and I promise to spend the rest of my life loving you, taking care of and standing beside you. Say yes," Avery said, placing both palms on the side of Kane's face, slightly lifting his head to look into his eyes. "You're killing me, Kane. You told me always on the phone. You said you agreed with always." "I'm scared," Kane whispered. He wasn't sure he'd ever said those words out loud before in his life. "Me too. What we have between us is so strong. Please say yes," Avery said, placing a simple kiss on his lips. "Okay," Kane said, his voice growing stronger with each word he spoke. "Yes, I will marry you in one year." "Thank you, I'll hold you to that!" Avery grinned before devouring his slightly parted lips. Kane kissed him back with everything he held inside his heart. The barriers he'd constructed over his heart tore free. He was so completely in love with Avery Adams, and they hadn't broken up, actually quite the opposite.
Kindle Alexander (Always (Always & Forever #1))
Opening the freezer, Easy smiled. God bless the Rixeys’ ice-cream addiction. There were so many containers, it seemed entirely plausible that they’d robbed an ice-cream delivery truck. He sorted through the tubs until he found a container of chocolate. Bingo. Next, he grabbed the milk from the fridge. And then he opened a bunch of cabinets until he found a blender at the back of one of them. The layer of dust on its surfaces told of how long it had gone unused. He rinsed and wiped it off, then brought the detachable pitcher to the other counter, where the ice cream lay waiting. Shane’s expression was two seconds away from amused. “Not a word, McCallan.” He held up his hands and shook his head, but he couldn’t hold back the smile. Fucker. Scoop, scoop, scoop, milk. Lid on, Easy placed the container on the blender and hit mix. Two minutes later, he had something approximating a very thick milk shake. He spooned it into a glass, then gathered the bagel and soup. Next he built his sandwich, sneaking pieces of beef and cheese as he worked. “Damn, that looks good,” Shane said, pushing off the stool and grabbing a plate for himself. “Think I’ll make some food for me and Sara, too.” Easy suddenly felt less self-conscious with Shane making food for his woman, too. Whoa. He froze with a piece of rye bread in his hand. Jenna was not his woman. But maybe she could be. Slapping the bread on top of the lettuce, Easy’s thoughts spun—he came up with lots of reasons why it probably wasn’t a good idea, but that didn’t make him want it any less. Mid-sandwich-making, Shane spoke in low, even tones. “We don’t have to do that thing where I tell you to handle Jenna with care if you’re thinking of starting something with her, do we?” For. Fuck. Sake. Not that Easy was particularly surprised by the question. Hadn’t he been half expecting it? And, his brain noted with interest, it wasn’t a warning off. “Nope.” “I didn’t think so,” Shane said in that same casual, even tone. “I see how protective you are of her, Easy, and I’m glad for that. I know you’ll treat her right, so I’m not saying a thing about it, except handle with care.” Nodding, Easy concentrated on making the floor stand still under his feet. “I like her, Shane,” he finally said, echoing the conversation he and Shane had had a few nights ago about Shane’s growing feelings for Sara. And, well, hi, how ya doin’, Mr. Hypocrite, Easy had told Shane he had to come clean with the team. Despite the fact that Easy hadn’t done so himself. Still. “Yeah,” Shane said, clapping him on the back of the neck and squeezing. “I know.” Wow. From the thin cabinet next to the oven Easy retrieved a baking sheet to use as a tray. Improvisation he could do. He loaded it down with everything he thought they’d need, lifted it into his arms and then he was all about getting back to Jenna.
Laura Kaye (Hard to Hold on To (Hard Ink, #2.5))
I shouldn’t have suggested it. I’m making a nuisance of myself again—” He stopped her with a touch to her hand. He was being presumptuous again. But he had to make sure she understood, that in spite of everything that had happened, he didn’t blame her in any way. He laced his fingers through hers and drew her back. He took courage when she didn’t resist. With his other hand he tenderly lifted her chin to gaze into her eyes. “You have never, and could never, be a nuisance to me.” What had happened to her to make her think so little of herself? He caressed the smooth porcelain of her cheek. “Every second of every minute I’ve spent with you over the past weeks has brought me immense pleasure.” “I’ve brought you trouble.” He rubbed his thumb across the delicate arch of her cheekbone, relishing the silkiness of her skin. “God has used you to help me grow. And I thank Him for that. I wish we didn’t have to part ways.” “Then will you think about opening a new chapel and helping me to run the workshop?” He hesitated once more, which only caused her to break free and retreat to the door. “Wait, Christine. Could you give me a few days to pray about it?” She halted. “Perhaps I just need to have more faith that God will provide for my needs. After all, other missionaries have stepped out in faith, those with much less than me.
Jody Hedlund (An Awakened Heart (Orphan Train, #0.5))
Being a vessel of God Almighty, I am divinely guided and protected wherever I am and whatever I am doing, the glory of the Lord God Almighty is always with me. Everything that I write, all that I say and do, is in the holy directive of God Almighty who writes in me and moves and speaks in me for his people, for his everlasting glory and honour… Go for all the Stellah Mupanduki healing books breathed by the Holy Spirit for you because there is a hope and a future for your life in today’s era…If you seek to live a blissful, peaceful, long and healthy life, seek these God-given books…they are above mortality…they overcome all dark spirits of the heavenly realm that causes troubles, illnesses and struggles and death in this land of the living. Seek Jesus Christ and live. Thank you Holy Spirit, you are God and you are good all the the time, may your name be blessed and lifted high above all the time...For Sacred Readers...Sacred Writing...Sacred Healing
Stellah Mupanduki (The Moulding Of the Holy Spirit Of A Sovereign God: Leap My Child)
Being an Author who writes and advocates about tough things people go through in life; the Holy Spirit encourages me to encourage all people to be persevering in-spite of whatever hardships they are going through, or whatever horror they feel they are facing in their lives. He says; “Read and go with the flow, with that belief of success printed in your heart and things will take good shape soon and you will praise the Lord with tears of joy instead of tears of misery…I am with you and everything will be fine…” Therefore; if you feel you are hanging on a cliff, in terms of vulnerability and affliction, trials and tribulations; keep reading the Stellah Mupanduki healing and mouldding, cleansing and protecting books breathed by the Holy Spirit of a Sovereign God and you will be lifted up to the top and you overcome. Don’t panic, don’t look at time, just read and you will overcome, go with the flow in reading even though deep down you are crying, screaming and you feel hopeless and disintegrated in everything. You will be fine, everything is working for the good in Christ for you…Remember, salvation and peace come from the Lord God Almighty...Sacred writing…For Sacred Readers…Divine Healing.
Stellah Mupanduki (Know Yee Are Little Kings: Above and Not Beneath)
Lord, anything and everything can take Your place, even social media. I’m sorry. You alone are God. —Julie Garmon
Guideposts (Daily Guideposts 2018: A Spirit-Lifting Devotional)
BEYOND THE DIFFICULTIES When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, you will return to the Lord your God in later days and obey Him. He will not leave you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your fathers that He swore to them by oath, because the Lord your God is a compassionate God. Deuteronomy 4:30-31 HCSB Sometimes the traffic jams, and sometimes the dog gobbles the homework. But, when we find ourselves overtaken by the minor frustrations of life, we must catch ourselves, take a deep breath, and lift our thoughts upward. Although we are here on earth struggling to rise above the distractions of the day, we need never struggle alone. God is here—eternally and faithfully, with infinite patience and love—and, if we reach out to Him, He will restore perspective and peace to our souls. If you find yourself enduring difficult circumstances, remember that God remains in His heaven. If you become discouraged with the direction of your day or your life, lift your thoughts and prayers to Him. He will guide you through your difficulties and beyond them. Do the unpleasant work first and enjoy the rest of the day. Marie T. Freeman Recently I’ve been learning that life comes down to this: God is in everything. Regardless of what difficulties I am experiencing at the moment, or what things aren’t as I would like them to be, I look at the circumstances and say, “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?” Catherine Marshall A TIMELY TIP Difficult days come and go. Stay the course. The sun is shining somewhere, and will soon shine on you.
Freeman (Once A Day Everyday ... For A Woman of Grace)
February 23 MORNING “I will never leave thee.” — Hebrews 13:5 NO promise is of private interpretation. Whatever God has said to any one saint, He has said to all. When He opens a well for one, it is that all may drink. When He openeth a granary-door to give out food, there may be some one starving man who is the occasion of its being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed too. Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses, matters not, O believer; He has given it to thee as one of the covenanted seed. There is not a high blessing too lofty for thee, nor a wide mercy too extensive for thee. Lift up now thine eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is thine. Climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the utmost limit of the divine promise, for the land is all thine own. There is not a brook of living water of which thou mayst not drink. If the land floweth with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are thine. Be thou bold to believe, for He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” In this promise, God gives to His people everything. “I will never leave thee.” Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is He mighty? He will show Himself strong on the behalf of them that trust Him. Is He love? Then with lovingkindness will He have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on our side. To put everything in one, there is nothing you can want, there is nothing you can ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing at the resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven which is not contained in this text — “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening-Classic KJV Edition)
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. -Acts 16:25 Paul and Silas had been beaten with rods (v. 22). They were put into prison and their feet were in stocks (v. 24). Their feet were spread as far apart as possible in order to produce severe leg cramps. Do you think they felt like singing praises to god? Not likely,neither would any of us. Why did they sing and praise God? They had peace - divine peace. They were able to remain calm during very stressful circumstances because they trusted God. They knew that God was in control of everything, and His purposes would be accomplished. The same can be true for us. There are a lot of times that we don't feel like singing and praising the Lord, but it helps. It may not result in something as dramatic as an earthquake, which is what happened with Paul and Silas (v. 26). However, it will lift your spirits out of whatever prison and stocks that you are in. During one of the darkest trials of my life, my mind imprisoned by the events that had taken place, I began to sing and praise God. I didn't feel like it, but I felt a whole lot better afterward.
Carolyn Dale Newell (In the Storm)
I will never leave thee.” Hebrews 13:5 No promise is of private interpretation. Whatever God has said to any one saint, he has said to all. When he opens a well for one, it is that all may drink. When he openeth a granary-door to give out food, there may be some one starving man who is the occasion of its being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed too. Whether he gave the word to Abraham or to Moses, matters not, O believer; he has given it to thee as one of the covenanted seed. There is not a high blessing too lofty for thee, nor a wide mercy too extensive for thee. Lift up now thine eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is thine. Climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the utmost limit of the divine promise, for the land is all thine own. There is not a brook of living water of which thou mayst not drink. If the land floweth with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are thine. Be thou bold to believe, for he hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”In this promise, God gives to his people everything. “I will never leave thee.” Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is he mighty? He will show himself strong on the behalf of them that trust him. Is he love? Then with lovingkindness will he have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on our side. To put everything in one, there is nothing you can
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening (C. H. Spurgeon Collection))
I am a convinced Universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God. I want to set down not the arguments of others but the thoughts which have persuaded me personally of universal salvation. First, there is the fact that there are things in the New Testament which more than justify this belief. Jesus said, “When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself.” Paul writes to the Romans: “God consigned all men to disobedience that he may have mercy on all.” He writes to the Corinthians, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be saved.” I believe that it is impossible to set limits to the grace of God. I believe that not only in this world, but in any other world there may be, the grace of God is still effective, still operative, still at work. I do not believe that the operation of the grace of God is limited to this world. I believe that the grace of God is as wide as the universe. I believe implicitly in the ultimate and complete triumph of God, the time when all things will be subject to him, and when God will be everything to everyone (1 Cor 15: 24–28). For me this has certain consequences. If one man remains outside the love of God at the end of time, it means that that one man has defeated the love of God—and that is impossible. Further, there is only one way in which we can think of the triumph of God. If God was no more than a King or Judge, then it would be possible to speak of his triumph, if his enemies were agonizing in hell or were totally and completely obliterated and wiped out. But God is not only King and Judge; God is Father—he is indeed Father more than anything else. No father could be happy while there were members of his family for ever in agony. No father would count it a triumph to obliterate the disobedient members of his family. The only triumph a father can know is to have all his family back home. The only victory love can enjoy is the day when its offer of love is answered by the return of love. The only possible final triumph is a universe loved by and in love with God.
Robert Wild (A Catholic Reading Guide to Universalism)
When my sister died, and you lifted me into your arms to take me away, for a split second, just long enough to make me hate myself for thinking something so selfish in the worst possible moment, I... I asked God—not long after cursing Him—to give you yo me. I didn't care in what way, even if it was only for the sake of helping me, or ending my life for me, but I asked Him to give you to me—I just never imagined that He would... give me so much.
Jessica Redmerski (Everything Under The Sun)
Fig-tree, for such a long time I have found meaning in the way you almost completely omit your blossoms and urge your pure mystery, unproclaimed, into the early ripening fruit. Like a curved pipe of a fountain, your arching boughs drive the sap downward and up again: and almost without awakening it bursts out of sleep, into its sweetest achievement. Like the god stepping into the swan. ......But we still linger, alas, we, whose pride is in blossoming; we enter the overdue interior of our final fruit and are already betrayed. In only a few does the urge to action rise up so powerfully the they stop, glowing in their heart's abundance, while, like the soft night air , the temptation to blossom touches their tender mouths, touches their eyelids, softly: heroes perhaps, and those chosen to disappear early, whose veins Death the gardener twists into a different pattern. These plunge on ahead: in advance of their own smile like the team of galloping horses before the triumphant pharaoh in the mildly hollowed reliefs at Karnak. The hero is strangely close to those who died young. Permanence does not concern him. He lives in continual ascent, moving on into the ever-changed constellation of perpetual danger. Few could find him there. But Fate, which is silent about us, suddenly grows inspired and sings him into the storm of his onrushing world. I hear no one like him. All at once I am pierced by his darkened voice, carried on the streaming air. Then how gladly I would hide from the longing to be once again oh a boy once again, with my life before me, to sit leaning on future arms and reading of Samson, how from his mother first nothing, then everything, was born. Wasn't he a hero inside you mother? didn't his imperious choosing already begin there, in you? Thousands seethed in your womb, wanting to be him, but look: he grasped and excluded—, chose and prevailed. And if he demolished pillars, it was when he burst from the world of your body into the narrower world, where again he chose and prevailed. O mothers of heroes, O sources of ravaging floods! You ravines into which virgins have plunged, lamenting, from the highest rim of the heart, sacrifices to the son. For whenever the hero stormed through the stations of love, each heartbeat intended for him lifted him up, beyond it; and, turning away, he stood there, at the end of all smiles,—transfigured.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke)
I know. You are about to say that Satan lifts up the evil lords to thwart God’s power (that’s the standard argument, I believe) but you can’t have it both ways. If there is an all-powerful God who created everything, then He must have created Lucifer to become Satan. If He has a Divine Plan, then Satan is part of that plan—evil, hatred, misery, disease, squalor, death—these must all be part of the plan. Mordred and Malestair and their ilk are part of God’s plan. The other option is that Satan was a mistake. But if God made a mistake—especially one of that magnitude, one Hell of a mistake—how can you believe that He is all-knowing and all-powerful? It calls into question the supposedly ‘inevitable’ outcome of the cosmic battle between good and evil.
Scott Davis Howard (Three Days and Two Knights)
He put one of the platters in front of Liv, forcing her to get up-close and personal with his dinner creation. It looked even worse on her plate than it had from a distance. Liv was glad she had a strong stomach. She’d seen some fairly disgusting things during nursing school, especially during her surgery rotation and in the burn unit, but none of them were quite as nasty as Baird’s “pizza.” “Well, go ahead. I thought you were starving.” She looked up to see him watching her, black eyebrows raised in anticipation. Oh my God, I’m actually going to have to eat it! Her stomach rolled at the thought. “You, uh, gave me so much I don’t know where to begin,” she lied weakly. “Only one piece.” He frowned. “Is it too much?” “It’s just a little more than I’m used to. Uh, on Earth we cut a pizza into eight or ten wedges.” And we don’t top it with fruit cocktail! “I can cut it into smaller pieces if you want,” he offered. “No, no. That’s okay. I’ll make do.” There was no putting it off anymore. Taking a deep breath, Liv lifted the huge sloppy slice and forced herself to take a bite. “You like it?” Baird stared at her suspiciously. “Mmm, delicious,” Liv mumbled, fighting her gag reflex. Inside her mouth the flavors of canned salmon, lima beans, and fruit cocktail were fighting and she wondered how in the world she would swallow without throwing up. But the big warrior was still watching her carefully for her reaction and she didn’t want to insult him. With a monumental effort she choked down the mess and prayed it wouldn’t come back up. “So it’s good?” he asked again. “Unforgettable,” Liv assured him which for once was the absolute truth. “Glad you like it.” Baird lifted his own piece of pizza and, keeping his eyes on her the entire time, took a huge bite. But when he started to chew, his face turned a peculiar shade of red. “Gods!” Getting up from the table in a hurry, he ran to the sink and spat out the mouthful. Then he turned back to Liv. “That was fuckin’ horrible. Why didn’t you tell me?” Liv shrugged, not sure if she should laugh or feel sorry for him. “I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” “I’d rather have my feelings hurt than eat that slop.” Baird frowned. “I don’t understand what you humans see in that dish anyway.” “Well…” Liv tried to think of a way to put it tactfully. “We don’t always make it exactly like that.” She nodded at the half a pizza she’d put back down on the metal serving tray. “But I did everything the clerk told me to,” Baird protested. “He said it was mistake proof. That anyone could do it.” “Anyone can do it. You just put a little too much on it, that’s all.” “Damn it to hell.” Baird sighed. “I’m sorry, Olivia. I wanted to make all your favorites—the things I saw you eating in my dreams. It was between this and that other stuff you like with the raw sea creatures rolled in the white grains. I thought this would be easier.” “Sushi?” Liv bit her lip to keep from laughing. “You were going to try and make me sushi?” As badly as he’d screwed up the pizza, she couldn’t imagine what his version of sushi would look like. Visions of a whole dead fish coated in sticky rice and rolled in peas and carrots instead of roe rose to mind. Ugh. Baird shrugged. “I wanted to. I wanted to make you something special every night. But I guess I’m not very good at cooking human food. Sorry.” He sounded so crestfallen and his broad shoulders slumped so sadly that Liv couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. She rose and went to put a hand lightly on his arm. “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m sure if I tried to make Kindred cuisine I wouldn’t do any better.” Baird
Evangeline Anderson (Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1))
You know Beau and I were close as kids…” I decided to start there. It seemed like the best place. “Oh good God, you mean to tell me this has something to do with Beau? Beau Vincent?” I cringed and nodded without glancing over at her. “Yes, it has everything to do with Beau,” I whispered. Leann’s hand covered mine, and I took some comfort in the gesture. “This summer Beau and I started spending time together. You were with Noah or working, and Sawyer was gone. I thought it would be good to rekindle the friendship Beau and I once shared.” Leann squeezed my hands, and I continued to explain how we’d played pool at the bar where his mother worked, went swimming at the hole, watched a movie at my house, and then I paused, knowing what I told her next was going to be hard for her to comprehend. After all, I was the good girl. “That night in the back of his truck, Beau and I…we”--I swallowed hard and squeezed my eyes shut--“had sex.” Leann let go of my hands and slipped her arm around my shoulders instead. “Wow” was her only response. “I know. It wasn’t the only time either and…and although I know it won’t happen again…I think…I think I love him. Maybe I always have. No. I know I always have. When I’m with Beau, I feel things I’ve never felt with Sawyer. I can be me. There’s no pretending. Beau knows my worst flaws.” “The heart wants who the heart wants. We can’t help that,” Leann said. I sighed and finally lifted my eyes to meet hers. The unshed tears blurred my vision. “But I’ve ruined his life. All he ever had was Sawyer. Make no mistake, I went after Beau. I can look back and see it now. This is all my fault. I should have never come between them.” I sniffled and buried my head in her shoulder. “Beau could have said no. He knew he was destroying his relationship with Sawyer every moment he spent with you. Don’t you take all the blame for this.” The stern tone in Leann’s voice only caused me to cry harder. Beau needed Sawyer. He might not have realized it, but he did. Somehow I had to make it right. “How do I fix this? How do I help Beau get Sawyer back?” “You can’t fix this for them. Beau knew what he was doing, Ash. He chose you over Sawyer. Now that you’ve let Sawyer go, are you going to choose Beau?” I wiped the tears from my cheeks and peered over at her. “Choosing Beau will cause everyone in Grove to hate him. They’ll all see him as the guy who took Sawyer’s girl away. I can’t do that to him.” Leann shrugged. “I don’t think Beau cares about everyone else. He made that apparent when he decided sneaking around with his cousin’s girl was what he wanted to do. He has to love you, Ash. Never in this lifetime would I have thought Beau would do anything to hurt Sawyer. He loves him. So that can only mean he loves you more.” She reached over to pay my shoulder. “Question is: Do you love him as fiercely? Are you willing to snub your nose at your family and the people in town in order to have him?
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1))
Good God!" Fionna half-raised an arm self-consciously. "What?" she queried. "What is it?" Anxious dismay shot through her. Had her coiffure come undone? Was she underdressed for the occasion? Overdressed? What? she wondered. What? "A moment," was all he said. "Allow me a moment." His eyes wandered over her, at least twice over. His regard was long and undeniably appreciative. When at length those incredibly blue eyes fused with hers, Fionna's heart gave a little leap, then began to beat with a frenzy she could not control at what she read there. Oh, bother! Whom did she fool? Why should she hide it? Everything inside her glowed. Her heart sang, and she didn't care a whit. Lean fingers caught hers. He lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed her fingertips, never breaking the hold of their eyes. "You're truly stunning," he said simply.
Samantha James (The Seduction Of An Unknown Lady (McBride Family #2))
The world will let a man serve the devil and quietly go to hell; no one lifts a finger to stop him or even says, “May God have mercy on your soul.” But the world will never let a man serve Christ and go to heaven quietly. Everybody cries, “Stop, wait!” and does anything and everything to keep him back.
J.C. Ryle (Coming Events and Present Duties: What the Bible Tells Us Clearly about Christ’s Return [Updated and Annotated])
Religion can be a way to hide, numb, or even entertain ourselves like a spiritual Candy Crush, either through the comforting blandness and predictability of mainline Protestantism or through the temporary lifting of our spirits and hands in Evangelical worship. Of course, there are many ways of pretending shit ain’t broke in ourselves and in the world, but escapist religion is a classic option, and churches have seemed to turn into places where we have endless opportunities to pretend everything is fine.
Nadia Bolz-Weber (Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People)
Mary Grace lifted her eyes to the sky, perhaps to where she felt her God would be. Rachel did the same, even though she did not believe in a sky-god. She felt that if any god or gods existed, they would be diffused throughout everything and everyone on earth, neither benevolent nor malign, but simply existing, drawing everything together, living and dead. But the sky was beautiful that evening, and for a moment the whole village cast their gaze to the heavens and let the last of the sunlight bathe them in God’s love.
Eleanor Shearer (River Sing Me Home)
Being nonreligious involves more than intelligence, knowledge, practicality, and method. It calls for virtue, heroism, and greatness of soul. It takes an exceptional personal asceticism to be nonreligious. All of us have known great atheists, genuinely strict ones, who didn't deceive themselves about a god. For them, atheism was an honor, the highest form of human courage. They maintained those heights only by a constantly renewed act of the will, stretched to the limit against every suffering, and finally death. This is no easier today. So where do we get the idea that modem man, the average man, he whom we adjudge to be atheistic, indifferent, and irreligious, has achieved those heights? In the routines of a society of comfort, of moral flabbiness, of an absence of willpower, of debasement, what is there to prepare a person for lifting himself to the heights of atheism's rigorous virtue? What readies him for that merciless clarity about himself and about the world, which irreligion always involves? Where do we see the spiritual greatness, the morale, the quality of exactitude, the rigor on which criticism of myth and the rejection of the sacred are always based? The scientific method and a smug materialism are not enough! It takes men who are hardheaded with their feet on the ground. I do not see them. Everything points to the opposite. We see people on a bed of ease, and wishing no other happiness for others. They whimper at the slightest danger, the slightest suffering (look at the leftists ! ). Flabby skepticism and exuberant disdain are not enough to produce an adult man and an irreligious society. We can rest assured, to the contrary, that in the current psychological tendencies, in the absence of any character preparation for facing up to great progress and great tests, in the transfer of human energies to the exclusively cerebral, in the collapse of the will in favor of the imagination, in the rejection of all self discipline, the only way of escape is into the social and the religious. Everybody since Bergson has proclaimed the need for a soul-supplement. All right, we have it in the new religions.
Jacques Ellul (The New Demons)
… Where are the ways through black wastes? God, do not abandon us! What are you summoning, God? Raise your hand up to the darkness above you, pray, despair, wring your hands, kneel, press your forehead into the dust, cry out, but do not name Him, do not look at Him. Leave Him without name and form. What should form the formless? Name the nameless? Step onto the great way and grasp what is nearest. Do not look out, do not want, but lift up your hands. The gifts of darkness are full of riddles. The way is open to whomever can continue in spite of riddles. Submit to the riddles and the thoroughly incomprehensible. There are dizzying bridges over the eternally deep abyss. But follow the riddles. Endure them, the terrible ones. It is still dark, and the terrible goes on growing. Lost and swallowed by the streams of procreating life, we approach the overpowering, inhuman forces that are busily creating what is to come. How much future the depths carry! Are not the threads spun down there over millennia? Protect the riddles, bear them in your heart, warm them, be pregnant with them. Thus you carry the future. The tension of the future is unbearable in us. It must break through the narrow cracks, it must force new ways. You want to cast off the burden, you want to escape the inescapable. Running away is deception and detour. Shut your eyes so that you do not see the manifold, the outwardly plural, the tearing away and the tempting. There is only way and that is your way; there is only one salvation and that is your salvation. Why are you looking around for help? Do you believe that help will come from outside? What is to come will be created in you and from you. Hence look into yourself. Do not compare, do not measure. No other way is like yours. All other ways deceive and tempt you. You must fulfil the way that is in you. Oh, that all men and all their ways become strange to you! Thus might you find them again within yourself and recognize their ways. But what weakness! What doubt! What fear! You will not bear going your way. You always want to have at least one foot on paths not your own to avoid the great solitude! So that maternal comfort is always with you! So that someone acknowledges you, recognizes you, bestows trust in you, comforts you, encourages you. So that someone pulls you over onto their path, where you stray from yourself, and where it is easier for you to set yourself aside. As if you were not yourself! Who should accomplish your deeds? Who should carry your virtues and your vices? You do not come to an end with your life, and the dead will besiege you terribly to live your unlived life. Everything must be fulfilled. Time is of the essence, so why do you want to pile up the lived and let the unlived rot?
C.G. Jung (The Red Book: Liber Novus)