Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking

by Suzanne D. Williams

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20) 

I picked up the weight of the world and carried it on my shoulders. Depression. Anxiety. Confusion. Deceit. Everything done to man and done by man has become part of me. I am bitter, unhappy, unkind.

I saw sin and ran after it, giving into temptations painted gaudy colors, juggling them alongside a revised version of morality. Righteousness is adaptable. What was wrong, isn’t. What wasn’t acceptable, is.

Let’s change the rules to gild the new pro forma. Everything fits if you cram yourself into it far enough. You need only close your eyes and ignore any unusual discomfort. It’ll disappear after a while.

Might as well enjoy ourselves while a silent God reclines on His throne, twiddling His thumbs.

Except everything I’ve gained is a mirage, and this freedom I’ve embraced smells a lot like death. Looks a lot like prison bars. A tiny cell. A putrid rat hole with a bucket for a latrine and grave clothes to wrap myself in.

By kicking at the walls around me, I’ve broken my spirit. By closing my eyes, I’ve rolled in the filth of condemnation. But it felt good. But it looked good. But they said I could. But they called it “love”.

But God is deaf and dumb and stupid.

My fist raised, I shake it at the sky, unable to see further than the ceiling. “God, if you’re out there, why didn’t you stop me, pull me back, rein me in?”

I want an answer, a clash, a thunderclap. Lightning and wind carrying the voice of the Almighty. I feel justified in my accusations.

But instead, the door opens and the guards lead me out. Dead man walking.

Bloodied pride, injured feelings, every guilt and immorality I’ve renamed is open for display, and there in front of me, at the end of the path, stands my execution.

This is the end. I blew it. I am regretful. I look up, my throat tight, prepared to accept my fate.

I startle. This cross has been used already. Someone died here and bled out on the ground beneath my feet. Worse, He carried the weight of my actions on His shoulders.

Repentant. Weakened through willful starvation, I fall, face forward, in the muck. I have that Man’s blood on me now, in my eyes, my ears. It’s coating my hands.

My airways close. My heartbeat stops. I lie inert, unmoving.

Yet, there falls a gentle rain, washing my failures away. A heavenly wind blows, filling my lungs again. My eyes open to a golden future, a new beginning.

I died. But I live. As a new man. My hand in His, the Savior who died for me, my feet guided by His loving Words onto a prosperous path toward a celestial tomorrow.

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She Loves Me in the Summer

Kaidence Grimes grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth, but not a whole lot of love. She received more affection from her nannies than either of her parents and seems to be in their lives only to make the perfect match with some other high-end family. She’s their way to climb further up the social scale.

Walton Barrow left his former fiancé at the altar and hasn’t been able to live down the image since. Though she’s happily married now, the stigma of him as unable to commit still lingers. When Kaidence approaches him in Las Vegas, offering instant marriage, though he knows she’s running a scam, he also sees a way out of his issues. Instant wife. No ceremony. Perfect.

Yet the more they learn about each other, about marriage and responsibility, the heavier the weight of their actions become. And the greater the secret growing between them. A secret that will either bring them together in wedded bliss or put them back where they started – looking like fools.

About the Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit http://www.feelgoodromance.com.

CrossReads Spotlight Feature: Lady

CrossReads Spotlight Feature: Lady

CrossReads Spotlight Feature

Lady

by Tamara Leigh

Lady

HE WAS THE VILEST OF MEN
Lizanne Balmaine has spent years honing her skills at arms, determined she will never again be at the mercy of any man. When she comes face to face with the one who stole her future, she seizes the opportunity to exact revenge. Soon he is her prisoner, at her mercy. But something is different about him, something that makes her question her purpose. Is it possible a man can be so changed? More, can she right the wrong that could lay ruin to her family?

SHE WAS A QUESTION NEVER BEFORE ASKED OF HIM
Ranulf Wardieu does not seek a bride, nor a settling of scores when his mission for the king places him in the path of a beguiling, raven-haired maiden. But fascination turns to fury when she imprisons him. Accused of wrongdoing, the nature of which she refuses to reveal, he discovers the lady is as skilled at wielding a sword as she is at verbal sparring. When he bests her at her game and his jailer becomes his captive, he is determined to learn what wrong he has done her. However, as they engage in a battle of wits and wills and he glimpses her woman’s heart, he discovers Lizanne is a question never before asked of him—one his own jaded heart refuses to answer.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Finding Faith & If I Run

CrossReads Short Takes: Finding Faith & If I Run

CrossReads Short Takes

Finding Faith

by Melanie D. Snitker

Finding Faith

Single mom Serenity Chandler is determined to do anything to provide better opportunities for her son, Gideon. Moving away from her family support system so Gideon can attend a special school seems like the right choice, even if it means her entire life is about to change.

The satisfaction of helping children and being a part of their lives is one reason Aaron Randall loves his job as a music therapist. When Hope Academy instills a dating policy, he doesn’t give it a second thought. Until the new coworker who’d caught his attention turns out to be the parent of one of his students.

Any relationship between them will put his job at risk. The more time Aaron spends with Serenity and Gideon, the harder it is to ignore what they could have together. With Aaron’s job and Gideon’s education hanging in the balance, they’ll have to rely on faith to find their way.

Finding Faith is the fourth book in the Love’s Compass series.

It can be read on its own, although it does contain spoilers for the previous books.

This is a sweet, Christian romance novel.

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If I Run

by Terri Blackstock

If I Run

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truthThat’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

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God’s High Places

God’s High Places

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (Psalm 91:14)

Does the Lord say this to me? Yes, if I have known His name. Blessed be the Lord, I am no stranger to Him. I have tried Him, proved Him, and known Him, and therefore do I trust Him. I know His name as a sin-hating God, for by His Spirit’s convincing power I have been taught that He will never wink at evil. But I also know Him as the sin-pardoning God in Christ Jesus, for He has forgiven me all trespasses. His name is faithfulness, and I know it, for He has never forsaken me though my troubles have multiplied upon me.

This knowledge is a gift of grace, and the Lord makes it to be the reason why He grants another grace-gift, namely, setting on high. This is grace upon grace. Observe that if we climb on high, the position may be dangerous; but if the Lord sets us there it is safe. He may raise us to great usefulness, to eminent experience, to success in service, to leadership among workers, to a father’s place among the little ones. If He does not do this, He may set us on high by near fellowship, clear insight, holy triumph, and gracious anticipation of eternal glory. When God sets us on high, Satan himself cannot pull us down. Oh, that this may be our case all through this day!

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Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional

CrossReads Book Spotlight: Lady at Arms

CrossReads Book Spotlight: Lady at Arms

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Lady at Arms

by Tamara Leigh

Lady at Arms

LADY AT ARMS: A “clean read” rewrite of the bestselling WARRIOR BRIDE, published by Bantam Books, 1994

HE WAS THE VILEST OF MEN
Lizanne Balmaine has spent years honing her skills at arms, determined she will never again be at the mercy of any man. When she comes face to face with the one who stole her future, she seizes the opportunity to exact revenge. Soon he is her prisoner, at her mercy. But something is different about him, something that makes her question her purpose. Is it possible a man can be so changed? More, can she right the wrong that could lay ruin to her family?

SHE WAS A QUESTION NEVER BEFORE ASKED OF HIM
Ranulf Wardieu does not seek a bride, nor a settling of scores when his mission for the king places him in the path of a beguiling, raven-haired maiden. But fascination turns to fury when she imprisons him. Accused of wrongdoing, the nature of which she refuses to reveal, he discovers the lady is as skilled at wielding a sword as she is at verbal sparring. When he bests her at her game and his jailer becomes his captive, he is determined to learn what wrong he has done her. However, as they engage in a battle of wits and wills and he glimpses her woman’s heart, he discovers Lizanne is a question never before asked of him—one his own jaded heart refuses to answer.

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