Tag Archives: healing

Drain The Swamp

Have you ever found yourself in a hopeless situation? A dark and lonely place? Where everything around you lacks color and is grey.

Haunted by memories, hounding you like a hungry wolf. Lost in a swamp, walking aimlessly, looking for a way out.

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No matter what you do, or how much you walk, you are trapped with no escape. Lost and desperate, you look up and all you see are dead branches.

You look down at the murky water, with the hopes of finding life, only to be met with a distorted reflection of someone you once knew, looking back at you.

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Our hearts are preoccupied with self, and our minds are polluted with the cares of this world.

The swamp is our souls.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

How do we drain the swamp?

It’s simple, but requires a commitment. That is, reading the Bible every day without fail. Not only reading it, but praying, studying, journaling and meditating on it.

This is how the excavation begins. The draining, digging, cleaning out of the old and replacing it with the new.

When negative thoughts flood your mind, like a tsunami, and you feel hopeless, think of Jesus.

When the pain suffocates you, and you feel like giving up, cry out to Jesus.

When nothing makes sense, and there are no answers, pray to Jesus.

When you feel lost, alone, and no help can be found, call on the name of Jesus.

Only Jesus can save us from ourselves. He is our only hope in the midst of whatever we are going through.

“Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6

“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:31

We must seek Him like hidden treasure.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” Matthew 13:44

Jesus is the answer. He possesses the keys to any problem or situation we face. He alone can drain our swamps and set us free.

***May this song encourage you today: https://youtu.be/ADuWzd7x25c***

 

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The Prisoner’s Wife by Asha Bandele

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Price: $15.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

As a favor for a friend, a bright and talented young woman volunteered to read her poetry to a group of prisoners during a Black History Month program. It was an encounter that would alter her life forever, because it was there, in the prison, that she would meet Rashid, the man who was to become her friend, her confidant, her husband, her lover, her soul mate. At the time, Rashid was serving a sentence of twenty years to life for his part in a murder. The Prisoner’s Wife is a testimony, for wives and mothers, friends and families. It’s a tribute to anyone who has ever chosen, against the odds, to love.

 

***  Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/N4kqoD6gDmw ***

 

Review

I decided to read The Prisoner’s Wife after reviewing Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor. Shaka listed it as one of his favorite books, and I can see why. Asha Bandele is a beautiful writer, who penned a powerful memoir like a poet that she is.

I must admit, it was not an easy read. She touches on topics which gave me pause and had me reflect on my own life. In some ways, she and I share similar pasts which is why I identified and was profoundly moved by her writing.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a love story, but not an ordinary one. It was about her personal journey of falling in love and marrying a man named Rashid, who was serving a life sentence for murder.

One of the things I learned from reading this memoir is when someone is incarcerated, not only are they doing time, but so are their loved ones, which is what happened to Asha. She spent the majority of her time alone, other than the letters, phone calls and occasional visits.

I commend her for writing the truth and not painting an unrealistic picture. She did not romanticize her experience, but was bold, brave and courageous. She exposes the truth, shows the difficulties, and obstacles related to loving someone in prison.

If you were ever curious about what it’s like to be married to someone serving time, I highly recommend The Prisoner’s Wife. 

Asha Bandele is an author and journalist. A former features editor for Essence magazine, Asha is the author of two collections of poems, the award-winning memoir The Prisoner’s Wife, and the novel Daughter. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter.

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Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Convergent Books
Price: $14.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor—but at age 11, his parents’ marriage began to unravel, and the beatings from his mother worsened, sending him on a downward spiral that saw him run away from home, turn to drug dealing to survive, and end up in prison for murder at the age of 19, fuming with anger and despair.
Writing My Wrongs is the story of what came next. During his nineteen-year incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, Senghor discovered literature, meditation, self-examination, and the kindness of others—tools he used to confront the demons of his past, forgive the people who hurt him, and begin atoning for the wrongs he had committed. Upon his release at age thirty-eight, Senghor became an activist and mentor to young men and women facing circumstances like his. His work in the community and the courage to share his story led him to fellowships at the MIT Media Lab and the Kellogg Foundation and invitations to speak at events like TED and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

In equal turns, Writing My Wrongs is a page-turning portrait of life in the shadow of poverty, violence, and fear; an unforgettable story of redemption, reminding us that our worst deeds don’t define us; and a compelling witness to our country’s need for rethinking its approach to crime, prison, and the men and women sent there.

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Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/ER3t-xnHgE4

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Review

Writing My Wrongs is about the power of hope, change, and redemption. It sheds light on the reality and truth of mass incarceration.

I have read many books about prison, but never as poignant, gritty, and honest as this one. This memoir provoked me in ways I had not expected.

Shaka Senghor is an inspiration and a great writer. He was born with a gift which he was able to develop during his time in solitary confinement. It was through reading and writing that he was able to heal and find himself.

His story taught me that people deserve a second chance, and should not be limited or defined by their past.

Writing My Wrongs is an important and powerful book, which touched, inspired and encouraged me. I hope it gets into the hands of the youth in public schools, detention centers, and prisons across America. I highly recommend it.

In conclusion, I want to thank Convergent for sending me this complimentary book in exchange for an honest review.

Locked up for nearly nineteen years, Shaka Senghor has used his incarceration as a vehicle for change. Through years of study and self-reflection, he has transformed himself from an uncaring “thug” into a principled, progressive man who refuses to allow his circumstances to define who he is or what he’s capable of.

Once a very angry, bitter young man, it was books that saved him from self-destructing and allowed him to see beyond the barbed-wire fences that held him captive. In an environment where hopelessness and despair grow like weeds, writing became his refuge. Eventually, he began writing creatively, tapping into the growing interest in street/hip hop literature. The author of six books and countless articles and short stories, he is inspired by revolutionary prison writers like George Jackson, Malcolm X and Donald Goines.

Whether writing street lit or poetry, Shaka speaks the truth about the oppressive conditions of the ‘hood and the not-so-glamorous side of the streets. He writes in a way that compels his readers to see the hope and humanity of a discarded generation shaped by the crack epidemic, the fall of the auto industry and the rise of the prison industrial complex. He is soon to be released and is eager to begin working with youth through gun and violence prevention programs in his hometown of Detroit.

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Another Gospel

They tell you to ignore and deny your sickness, depression, and pain. And when you pray, and nothing changes, it’s YOUR fault, because you don’t have enough faith.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

How many of you know that’s a bunch of hogwash?

For whatever reason, some people have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that depression and anxiety is an illness and disability. Much like someone who lost an arm or a limb.

However, there are some in Christendom who believe if you are struggling with any kind of illness or disease, it is either a result of unrepentant sin, demons, or a lack of faith. So, on top of suffering, there is the guilt, blame and shame added to the mix for good measure.

I happen to be an open minded person, but I have a real problem with this false teaching being purported as truth. I have been exposed to a lot in my life, and have learned a great deal in my search for God. The one thing I can tell you is that these so-called faith healers are fake, and if they do exhibit any so-called power to heal, you must question the origin from hence it came, because not everything “supernatural” is of God.

I am here to tell you, that if you are a Christian who struggles with any kind of illness or disability, you are not alone and are no less a Christian for it. Jesus never said we wouldn’t be sick or suffer here on earth. He said we will have to pick up our Cross and follow Him.

I read this morning in Matthew 10:18, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Hmm, did you catch that… “not worthy of me.”

Jesus said it like it is. These fresh revelations, or new insights of the Word of God that these self-proclaimed apostles and prophets tell you is not biblical doctrine, but another gospel.

Today, the Church has strayed so far away from the truth, it’s sad. They have a distorted, confused and mixed up doctrine. What makes matters worse is that Christians don’t like to read their Bible. They’d rather be spoon feed, than dig into it themselves. What they fail to realize is they are doing themselves a huge disservice.

I do believe God heals. However, I no longer believe in those who claim to be used of God to heal others. God is God. He doesn’t need intermediaries. All God desires that we pray, have faith, and follow Him, whether we get healed or not.

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Life’s Unfamiliar Terrain

I can’t believe this year is almost over. I apologize for not blogging, but this year has been full of changes. I seem to be in the process of transition and walking in unfamiliar terrain.

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You may have been wondering of my disappearance, and this is an attempt to fill you in.

From 2014 through 2015, I sort of fell away from my Christian faith. There were many reasons for it, which I won’t go into. But what I learned from the dabbling, experimenting, and indulging, is no matter who I was with, where I was, or what I was doing, God was with me.

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.¹

At the time, I was making bad choices, which grieved the heart of God as well as the people that care about me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking much about this while I was out there, painting the town, and being self-indulgent.

The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.²

I was a faithful, fervent and zealous Christian prior to falling away. So you could just imagine the amazement to all those who knew me.

Sin is like being on a raft that gradually drifts out to sea.  One minute you are near the shore, and the next, you are in the middle of the ocean.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.³

All the things I was choosing to do, weren’t the things God wanted me to do. I was refusing to die to self. I still didn’t want to surrender ALL to Jesus. It wasn’t His will be done, it was my will be done. Until everything came crashing down on January 2, 2016, and a light bulb went off. I suddenly realized what I was doing, and immediately repented.

Through it all, I learned how much God loves me, and how faithful He is. He never gave up on me, and kept pursuing me.

Today, I am grateful for all that God has done in my life. I am still in an unfamiliar terrain, a place of a transition, and in a process of restoration. But I can honestly say, that I’m at peace. Jesus saved me, rescued me, delivered me and set me free. Praise Him! No one could have done it, but Him.

If He did it for me, He can and will do it for you. He is no respecter of persons. He loves us, which is why He died for us. There is nothing you or I can do that will make Him ever stop loving us. He is a good, good Father.

¹Psalm 139:8
²1 John 2:16
³James 1:14

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The Art of Disguise

Sometimes I think life is one big masquerade. Everyone is playing a different character and acting out their prospective roles. Some have mastered the art of disguise better than others.

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Some people are good at projecting an image, by dressing a certain way, splashing on cologne, wearing designer sun glasses, and driving nice cars.

They look successful on the outside; flashing their pearly whites evidenced by their barrage of selfies on social media.

However, nothing can disguise a tormented soul, a troubled mind, a broken heart, or the scars of an abusive past. The perpetual pain they live with day after day, hoping, longing and praying for it to go away.

They don’t want their secret being known. So they disguise their pain and shame for fear of being found out. They want to maintain their image by appearing to have it all together.

Those preserving their image, are the ones that are the loneliest and most isolated and disconnected because they avoid, hide, mask and disguise their pain, instead of facing it.

If they would risk being vulnerable, they would be surprised to see they are not alone, and that many walking around are in the same predicament.

Life has a way of bringing us to a point where the truth reveals itself, no matter how much you try to hide behind make up, jewelry, clothes or perfume.

You can only hide for so long, before the stench of what is shattered and broken inside manifests. It’s best to address it and heal from that which is provoking you to adopt the art of disguise before it wreaks havoc upon your life.

Are you hiding behind a mask, or an image you want to portray to everyone around you? Are you playing a role, but hurting inside? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.

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The Stigma of Shame

I have been doing a study on shame. It’s been something I have been avoiding to delve into for quite some time. Why? Well, who really wants to start digging up old doo-doo.

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Shame is one of those things you would rather just hide, ignore or bury, than have to face or look at. Shame is much more pervasive than guilt.

The stigma of shame is something humanity struggles with, if some realize it or not. We all mask it differently. God forbid we feel naked or exposed… that will only bring about more feelings of shame.

Some people think it is guilt they are feeling or struggling with, when in actuality it is shame. Shame is deeper and stems from messages you were told as a child. Shame is connected with self loathing and disgust of one self.

Those who have suffered from sexual abuse, carry the stigma of shame in its most palatable form.

So what do we do once we know that shame is pretty much controlling and navigating our existence? Well, we delve right into the abyss and unravel its mysteries.

There is a passage of Scripture that I always identified with, the story of the man with a withered hand. (Mark 3:3) This man walked around hiding his hand, until Jesus who had compassion, healed him on the Sabbath. He told him to stretch forth his hand and he was instantly healed.

Sometimes we have to risk exposure in order to heal. Yes, it is humiliating at first, just as it was for the man with the shriveled hand. He had to expose it in front of everyone in the Synagogue. He had to demonstrate courage to overcome his shame and allow Jesus to heal him.

It’s sort of like the pus of an infection, if you keep covering it, it will only get worse. You have to expose and clean it, in order for it to heal. Same applies to the inner infection of shame.

If you struggle with shame, know that you aren’t alone. If you desire to heal, then you must be willing to risk and face the Goliath in your life. Once you do, you will experience freedom. This is something I’m striving for and want in my life.

Do you struggle from shame? When was  your earliest recollection?

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Do What Jesus Did by Robby Dawkins

Publisher: Chosen Books
ISBN-10: 0800795571
ISBN-13: 978-0800795573
Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Don’t get stuck at asking “What would Jesus do?” Be equipped to do it.

Chicagoland pastor Robby Dawkins hadn’t moved past that question either–until he discovered that the miraculous things Jesus did during His lifetime are not just history. They’re today’s reality. When he started living the way Jesus did, he started living life, as he says, straight out of a superhero movie.

So can you. In this dangerous book, you’ll learn simple, practical ways to take hold of your God-given “power tools”–prophetic ministry, healing, ministering the presence of God and deliverance from demonic power. And through amazing but true stories from the front lines of ministry, you’ll see what happens when ordinary Christians harness God’s superpower to bring His Kingdom to earth.

It’s time to beat the sickness, suffering and despair of the impossible. Time to embrace a powerful faith. It’s time to do what Jesus did.

Review

Do What Jesus Did is primarily about Pastor Robby Dawkins life and ministry. This book focuses on his ministry of healing and deliverance.

The premise of this book is how Christians can be used of God to heal and route demons out.  Pastor Dawkins writes this book as an autobiography, testimony and teaching guide for others.

He focuses on the fact that believers  can be used of God to heal others. He also gets into why some don’t get healed after praying for them.

He writes about his personal experiences with healing and miracles after praying for people. He gives pointers on what you should do, when and how.

I thought Do What Jesus Did was an interesting and entertaining read. However, I struggled with the validity of his examples. It’s not that I don’t believe God can heal. I do believe God can heal, but I don’t believe it’s just a simple matter of walking up to people and praying for them.

Truthfully, I  had trouble with the theology of this book. I can’t verify what he wrote in his book, if it did or did not occur.  But, I personally had a hard time believing in the authenticity of  his examples.

I am not quick to believe everything I read, even if it is written by a popular pastor. I have seen too many things in my life to just take someone at their word, especially when it comes to the supernatural realm.

It is of my belief that when it comes to the supernatural, one must tread carefully.

In conclusion, I want to thank Chosen for sending me a complimentary copy to review.

Robby Dawkins, born to missionary parents, knew from a young age that God had called him into ministry. He and his wife, Angie, responded to God’s call to plant what is now the Vineyard Church of Aurora, Illinois, which they have pastored since 1996, and which uses power evangelism continuously. He has traveled to over 30 countries, including many Muslim nations, helping build the Church internationally. Robby and Angie have six sons and live in Aurora, Illinois.

 

 

 

 

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He said He wanted to Kill Me

Last night I decided to go to church for prayer service. Before I was married and had kids, I lived at Times Square Church. I was there every Tuesday and Friday night and all day Sunday. I even served on the choir before someone told me they wanted to kill me.

I never told a soul. I just stepped down quietly from the choir. I mean, who in their right mind was going to stay in the choir after that? Maybe I should have stayed, but deep down, I was disillusioned.

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Early one Sunday morning, I was praying alone in the choir section when I sensed a presence. I opened my eyes to find a tall male standing before me. I recognized him, he was in his choir robe like me. He said he needed to ask my forgiveness. I asked him for what (since I never had any dealings with him). He said for wanting to kill me.

I think I was traumatized at that moment because all I said was, I forgive you. I can’t believe that’s all I said.

Why couldn’t I have told him, “Hey dude, what did I ever do to you to warrant your wanting to kill me?” I mean, wouldn’t that have been more normal?

Eighteen years later, I think back and wish I would have had enough courage to ask him why.

I went through a whole gamut of emotions and questions. All I was doing was praying. Aren’t you suppose to feel safe in church? I did not feel safe at all. I actually never looked at church the same way again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Times Square Church greatly. It is where God brought me, put me, planted me and where I grew up in the faith. It is where I first experienced the presence of God. The preaching is phenomenal and I’ve made great friends there. Many who are now leaders or serving overseas as full time missionaries.

It’s not the church’s fault, it’s not anyone’s fault. However, last night, memories began to flood my mind and emotions began to well up. Yes, I forgive this man, wherever he is. The irony of it all is that I didn’t even know his name. But his face will be forever etched in my memory.

Conceptually, I understood at twenty-seven that evil was using this man as a host. But it’s still hard to grasp something like this magnitude, especially since it happened in church by a supposed brother in Christ. I couldn’t understand it, still don’t and perhaps I never will.

However, since then, I no longer close my eyes when I pray in church. I do for second or two, but then I open them again. I only pray with abandon when I’m alone and in the confines of my home.

I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience in church?  If so, please share. I would love to know I’m not alone.

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When a Woman You Love Was Abused

by Dawn Scott Jones

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825429757
ISBN-13: 978-0825429750
Price: $12.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD

 

 

 

 

Description

Your wife hurts because someone sexually molested her; you hurt because you love her and sense her heartache. How can you help?

In When a Woman You Love Was Abused, author, pastor, and survivor Dawn Scott Jones candidly shares from her own abuse experience to help you understand the thoughts and fears that hold your wife captive, the stages of her healing process, and what you can do to play an active role in helping your wife thrive despite her past abuse.

The journey is difficult. It’s maddening. It’s exhausting. And it’s arduous. But you’ll find reward and fulfillment as you experience the beautiful transformation together.

Review

When a Woman You Love Was Abused was a tough book for me to read.

However, I am glad Dawn Scott Jones wrote this book. There aren’t many books written on the subject of helping the spouses of abuse survivors.

The only other book I have read on this subject was The Haunted Marriage by Clark E. Barshinger, Ph.D., Lojan E. LaRowe, Ph.D. and Andres T. Tapia.

I found When A Woman You Love Was Abused to be a more comprehensive guide to understand and help spouses as they undergo the healing process/recovery.

I must write a disclaimer, however, to warn women or men who are survivors. Depending on where you are at in your recovery, I would use discretion and exercise caution in reading this book. There is graphic details which could trigger and/or upset you.

Dawn Scott Jones is a survivor and does a great job in breaking down the sequence of healing throughout the various chapters in this book.

There are three parts:

Part 1. Understanding the Survivor

Part 2. Understanding the Healing Process

Part 3. How You (the Spouse) Can Help

I found each part and chapter to be extremely helpful and full of good information to help inform and guide spouses of abuse survivors.

I highly recommend this book to husband’s who are married to survivors. This book will help husband’s understand what their wives are going through and offer helpful suggestions.

In conclusion, I want to thank Litfuse Publicity for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Dawn Scott Jones is a survivor who has been sharing her testimony for more than twenty years. She is an ordained minister with the Assembles of God, is the creator of numerous audio teaching products, and has served in a variety of leadership and ministry roles.

Find out more about Dawn Scott Jones at http://www.dawnjones.org/

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Book Review: When You Need a Miracle by Linda Evan Shepherd

Publisher:   Revell (July 1, 2012)
Language:  English
Pages: 205
ISBN-10: 080072108X
ISBN-13: 978-0800721084
Price: $12.99
Purchase:  Amazon | CBD | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God makes the impossible possible every day.” ~ Don Piper

Description

When we are hurt, we want a God who is big enough to rescue us from heartache and circumstances beyond our imagination. But even if we believe that such a God exists, we don’t always know how to approach him, much less how to ask him for impossible.

Linda Evans Shepherd knows what it’s like to be in a desperate need of a miracle. And she knows what it’s like to receive God’s answers to her prayers. In this powerful book, she shows you how to reach out to God and simply ask. She shows how God’s answers may not come packaged in the ways we would expect, but they do come in ways that will transform our lives. Through solid biblical teaching and dramatic real-life stories, Shepherd walks you on a journey of renewed hope and the assurance that God still works miracles.

Review

When You Need a Miracle is predominantly a book about prayer. Linda Evans Shepherd takes you step by step in learning how to pray and also what hinders prayers from being answered.

She shares from a deep, personal place reflecting on some of her own life experiences. She discusses two incidents when she especially needed a miracle. One had to do with her brother and the other had to do with her daughter.

When You Need a Miracle really touched me in many ways. My heart ached in certain parts of the book. Especially when she discussed what happened to her daughter.

But, my heart also rejoiced when the Lord answered her prayer and did a miracle.

The chapter which spoke the most to me was Chapter Five, entitled The Forgiveness Factor. There was much truth dispelled on each page.

In this chapter, Linda Evan Shepherd discusses a tragic situation which occurred in someone’s life. I had difficulty reading this chapter because I identified strongly with what had occurred in this person’s life.

When tragedy happens to people at the hand of another person, it’s not so easy to forgive. This chapter delves into the importance of forgiveness.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 7 entitled, Fighting the Enemy. I learned some very powerful prayers in this chapter which I will continue to implement in my own life.

Overall, there is much to glean and learn from When You Need a Miracle. I recommend this book to anyone struggling in their life and desire a miracle through answered prayer.

In conclusion, I want to thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.

Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a successful speaker, and a media personality. The president of Right to the Heart Ministries, she is the author of When You Don’t Know What to Pray and When You Can’t Find God. She lives in Colorado. Visit www.NeedMiracleBook.com for more information.

 

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