Posts Tagged ‘God’

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I am an ENTP and a Christian. I was initially raised Catholic but drifted away from the religion to go off and explore my own theories on life around age 17.

At age 21, I attended a non-denominational Christian church with my mother and was pleasantly surprised by the message—it was so different from what I was accustomed to. The sermon delighted my Ti* and my Si* because the pastor shared something historical from the bible but related it to life today. I then was able to deduct it down to its core principle and walk away with something to apply to my own life: an experiment. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I decided to try this experiment for a little while—study the Bible, apply its principles to my life, see what happens. Well, as most people can understand, this was very odd behavior for a 21 year old senior in college who was the usual party planner for her friends. But I was on a quest for a deeper understanding of life, myself, my worldview. I NEEDED to understand why I was on Earth.

As I read more of the Bible, I started to recognize God at work in the world around me. You can’t recognize someone if you don’t know what he looks like, so it made sense that I hadn’t really noticed him much before. But once I got to know his character by reading the interactions between him and his people in the Bible, I could see him at work in my own life. The lessons I applied to my life from the Bible improved my relationships, finances, and satisfaction.

I also started researching historical facts and artifacts, comparing what I found to the stories in the Bible for validity. I am a math/science tutor who always needs to logically understand something before I buy into it. I learned that there is a lot of scientific and historical evidence to back up much of the Jewish history in the Old Testament. In light of all this, I drew the conclusion that the Bible was God’s guidebook to help humans live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

During my quest, I studied the Bible, history, and other religions in order to make sense of the big picture (indulging in my Si* & Ti* to fulfill my Ne’s* desire for big picture understanding). So, for me, I utilized many parts of my personality type in order to form a relationship (Fe*) with my creator. Personality type hugely plays a role in the way one approaches religion/spirituality. I am fascinated by the unknown, and I look forward everyday to discovering what my loving God has planned for me.

*Ti refers to Introverted Thinking

*Si refers to Introverted Sensing

*Ne refers to Extraverted Intuition

*Fe refers to Extraverted Feeling

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From now until New Years Day, all Kindle editions of the “Montgomery Lake High” book series will be on sale for $2.99! These can be read on all iPhone, iPad, and Android devices with the free Kindle App. 

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Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2017!

Stacy Padula’s TV interview with Brit from Boston’s Bosslady News June 6, 2015

By Max Alva

Kids have a lot of questions… that is no secret! But someone has a haunting secret (and plethora of questions) bound within the pages of When Darkness Tries to Hide by Stacy Padula. When Darkness Tries to Hide is the thrilling second book in the young adult fiction series Montgomery Lake High. The story takes place in a fictional town in western Massachusetts. Jason Davids and Chris Dunkin take the lead roles in this intriguing book, but Chantal Kagelli and Jon Anderson also play central parts.

When Darkness Tries to Hide reads like a movie reel across your mind. You get to see how a bunch of characters think, instead of just being trapped in one person’s mindset. The story begins two months after where the first book, The Right Person, left off. The main problem in this book is that Chantal’s boyfriend, Andy, is in a coma, and Jason feels responsible for the accident that landed him there. The hail is pelting down. The lightning is a spider web across the sky. Lady, Chantal’s golden retriever, is nowhere to be found. Andy is outside in the ominous storm searching for her. As far as Jason is concerned, he should have been outside saving Lady from the tornado-spawning storm. Instead Andy is sent into a coma, and Jason into a world of dismay. “He had not slept a wink in thirty-seven hours. He glanced at his clock again, seven twenty. You can do this Jason, he said to himself. Just get up and go. Go tell them the truth. Tell everyone at Alyssa’s party that you found Andy’s body. Tell them that he looked dead. Tell them about the horror in Chantal’s eyes when she came rushing up the stairs. Make sure you tell them that it is all your fault.” (page 22) No one knows about Andy’s accident until Jason spreads the news at Alyssa Kelly’s party the following evening. At the party, Jason seeks out his ex-best friend, Chris Dunkin, to confide in. Chris lends Jason an ear, even though Jason has been spreading slanderous rumors about Chris around Montgomery Lake High ever since Chris turned away from drugs, alcohol, and their group of friends two months prior. At the party, Jason and Chris come up with a plan to help Andy and unite the students at Montgomery Lake High. However, no one—not even Chris—knows Jason’s secret about the day of the storm.

I recommend When Darkness Tries to Hide to all teenagers, even ones who have not read the first book in the series. I especially recommend this book to people who are going through hard times, and people who have issues with drugs and alcohol. I give this book four and a half stars! It deserves such a high rating because it has a very interesting idea running all the way through it that keeps the reader fascinated with the story, even after they have finished the book. The ending leaves you wanting to know what happens next and trying to imagine what the third book in the series will bring. I think it should be made into a movie, or a TV series! When Darkness Tries to Hide is filled with answers to those tough questions often asked by kids and teenagers!

John 19:26-27 states, “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”

Here we see Jesus: drenched in his own blood, with his skin ripped to the bone in places from the 39 cat-of-nine-tail lashes He received. With nails through his wrists and feet and a crown of thorns cutting into his head, he glanced down to people at the foot of His Cross. He saw not the 5000 men he had fed by the Sea of Galilee, nor even his 12 disciples.

But there, beside his mother Mary, was one of the twelve: John, the youngest of all, who was about 18 years old.

What we see here is that Jesus entrusted his beloved mother to John. This is very interesting because Jesus had many brothers and sisters of his own. The difference was that John went to the Cross.

In Matthew 12:48 Jesus said, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” We see this lived out at the foot of the Cross, as Jesus entrusts Mary to John.

As it was Jesus’ love for us that kept Him on the Cross, it was John’s love for the Lord that brought him to the Cross. In 1 John 4, John wrote, “We love because He first loved us.” John is known as “the disciple of love”, and he referred to himself in scripture as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. John knew God’s love and was therefore able to give God’s love.

In our own lives, we often have many friends around us when things are going great. But when trials enter our lives, we can be taken by surprise by those who disappear. It is a painful yet invaluable lesson to learn, for genuine love and loyalty are tested and proven through hardship.

So, where were the other disciples during the Crucifixion? What is it that kept them from the Cross?

More importantly: what is it that keeps us from coming to the Cross?

Is it fear of the unknown? Or the fear of losing things we deem valuable? A fear of change? Or perhaps, a fear of being ridiculed, rejected, or misjudged by others?

What is it that keeps us from the Cross-from the full, complete trust that Jesus knows what is truly best for our lives-from complete trust that anything He sends our way will be good for us and for His Kingdom-from complete trust that anything He withholds from us, or asks us to let go of, is not good for us to have?

Is it fear that keeps us from fully committing our lives to the One who gave His life for us?

John-the disciple of love, the one who was not afraid to be seen at the foot of the Cross-is the apostle who wrote, “perfect love casts out fear.” He also wrote “he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

God tells us 365 times in the Bible “do not fear.” Fear is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. It can immobilize us. It can keep us from God’s best-if we let it. It can keep us from coming to the Cross and laying down the things he asks of us. Fear can keep us from receiving the many blessings the Lord wants to bestow upon us.

As we see Jesus entrust His precious mother to John, what does that show us?

When we come to the Cross of Christ, The Lord entrusts us with what is important to Him.

When we remain at the Cross-even at times when everything around us is falling apart, times when it would be so easy to get mad at God and turn away from Him-when we remain there, the Lord comforts, guides, and instructs us through the words He speaks and the love He gives His believers for one another.

So, as we look toward the Cross this Easter weekend, I pray that God gives each of us a deeper understanding of His love-which is best demonstrated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Words from the Cross: A Good Friday Message.

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About 10 years ago, I found direction for my life, wisdom to make hard choices, and passion to fuel my drive. This happened when I returned to God, as an adult, desiring to learn and carry out his will for my life. After having run from him and my Christian upbringing as a teenager, I was left feeling quite empty, confused about my place in the world, and discontent. By returning to a bible teaching church (that did not cloud things up with man-made rules), I found exactly what I needed: I learned how to recognize God at work around me, as well as how to understand his promptings and how to discern his will. I learned my value and my purpose, and my heart became full of new desires – ones that brought about positive results. I lost interest in things that actually were not good for me, despite having seemed so at first, and found genuine happiness and fulfillment that I had never before known. It has been a wonderful ten years, and I am thankful to God for the life he has given me, the grace he has extended to me, and the love he has placed within me. I am still a work in progress, and I mess up a lot, but He always helps me find my way back to where I belong. This Christmas season, I am choosing to celebrate the one who the holiday is in honor of: the one who died to pay the penalty for my sins – the one who has blessed me with the best things in my life simply because I put my faith in him. Thank you, Jesus.

More of the Montgomery Lake High books were read in an Atlanta prison. Here is the review of The Right Person:
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Excerpt from Stacy Padula’s novel “The Aftermath”

Prologue

Jason Davids glanced at his bedroom clock. Seven nineteen. Twenty-four hours had passed since one of the darkest moments of his life. He sighed and fell back on his unmade bed. He curled into the fetal position and tried with all of his might to will the horrifying image out of his mind.

He had not slept a wink in thirty-seven hours. He glanced at his clock again. Seven twenty. You can do this Jason, he urged himself silently. Just get up and go. Go tell them the truth. Tell everyone at Alyssa’s party that you found Andy’s body. Tell them that he looked dead. Tell them about the horror in Chantal’s eyes when she came rushing up the stairs. Make sure you tell them that it is entirely your fault.

Jason heard a loud knock on his bedroom door. “Jay-dawg, you ready?” Luke’s voice cried out. “We have to pick up Laurelle and Missy on the way,” he added as he whipped open the door.

Jason sat up in his bed and rested his head in his hands. “Yeah,” he replied to his older brother. “I’m good.”

“You’re going to Alyssa’s party in a t-shirt and sweat pants?” Luke asked as he sat down at Jason’s desk and stared at him with amusement.

“Oh,” Jason said and glanced down at his attire. The thought of getting dressed had not even occurred to him. “No, I guess I’m not.”

Luke laughed. “What drug are you on right now?” he questioned him.

“None,” Jason stated flatly and stared blankly at his feet.

“Then what the heck is wrong with you?” Luke asked.

Jason shrugged.

“All right, well, get dressed and come downstairs when you’re ready,” Luke said, eyeing Jason with a look of concern.

Jason nodded slightly.

“Did you sleep last night?” Luke pressed him.

“No,” Jason admitted quietly.

“You and Cathy all right?” Luke asked, holding his stare on Jason.

Jason shrugged.

“Well, freshen up. I’ll see you in a few,” Luke stated. He tossed something at Jason as he exited the room.

Lifelessly, Jason glanced at the minuscule bag that had landed beside him on his bed. If he had the energy, his eyes would have protruded from his face in horror. “You have got to be kidding me, Luke,” he heaved, shaking his head in dismay. He flung the bag onto his floor, fell back on his bed, and closed his eyes. You can do this, Jason. Just get dressed and get out the door, right now. Bring out the charm and the plastic smile. Forget what Cathy said. Just get up and face the facts. You’ve made a mess of a good person’s life. You have to tell them the truth. It doesn’t matter what Cathy wants. Andy is all that matters now.

 

 

Chapter 1

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(Three Weeks Later)

It sounded like a train coming toward him, but there was not a train in sight. A flash of light shot through the room—the capsule. Was this a time warp? Or, perhaps, a flashback? Running—more running without getting anywhere. “No, Chantal! Stop!” he screamed. His words froze in the air.

She could not hear him. Time was running out. She was running toward the staircase with her long auburn hair flowing into Jason’s face. Watching, he knew that she was not going to make it before the trembling began. She fell over before he could reach her. Once again, he had let her down.

The light flickered, and he struggled to remain standing. He reached the stairs, but did not stop by Chantal’s side. The door ahead looked like a castle wall—a barricade. The other side held the destruction. The other side possessed the danger. This door—his enemy—was keeping them safe.

“Jason, don’t!” Cathy’s voice cried out. She did not sound like his fifteen year old girlfriend; she sounded like a hissing demon.

He latched onto the doorknob as it transformed into a vault. It looked like his locker. His mind was blank. I can make this right, he thought. He pressed his hand to the door. It was a glacier. Water began trickling through his fingertips. He felt completely alone. A crackling sound above caught his attention. Wake up, Jason! he screamed at himself. Wake up before you see him. Not again.

In an instant, Andy’s pale face appeared through the water. Jason’s heart pounded. “Trade places with me!” Jason pleaded as he reached out toward Andy. There was a crash, and then Andy was gone.

Breathing heavily, with sweat dripping down his forehead, Jason shot his large blue eyes wide open. “Again? Really?” he said aloud in the stillness of his dark bedroom. He brought his hand to his chest and breathed in deeply. He turned toward his alarm clock. Three thirty-three a.m. It had been three weeks since the storm had struck Montgomery, since Andy had slipped into a coma and since Jason had realized that he was living in a cloud of darkness.

* * *

Later that evening, Jason sat upon the bleachers behind Montgomery Lake High School, leaning back comfortably and paying little attention to the JV football game in front of him. Surrounded by the popular MLH underclassmen, Jason continuously yelled obscenities at everyone who was not his friend. As usual, this caused obnoxious laughter to erupt from the crowd and embarrassment to burn within the innocent passerby. Each time Jason got a reaction out of someone, his friends gave him props, which only egged on his tactless behavior.

“Yo, dude! Is Luke really dating Missy Kent?” Nick Chandler, a sophomore, asked Jason. “I’ve heard some things.”

Jason shrugged carelessly. “I have no idea, dude,” he replied after taking a sip of vodka and Sprite from his soda bottle.

“Your brother’s the man, dude. Seriously,” Nick stated and slapped Jason’s hand before walking over to a group of junior girls.

Jason glanced toward the field. Where’s my boy? he thought as he shot his eyes from left to right, looking for Chris Dunkin. Coach Mitchell wouldn’t rest his star running back—not against Lincoln North. Jason looked toward the scoreboard. 7 to 3, us. Glancing back at the field, he saw Bobby Ryan throw a long pass toward the end zone. There he is. He catches; he runs; he scores! “Woot! Woot!!” Jason yelled loudly as the band began playing MLH’s touchdown song. Jason turned to slap hands with Bryan Sartelli. “If Chris had gotten sober before tryouts then he probably would have made varsity,” Jason commented beneath his breath as he turned back toward the field. “My brother should pull him up.”

“Let’s go back to Luke’s car. I need a refill,” Bryan said. He waved his empty coke bottle in the air, stealing Jason’s attention away from the field. “I don’t get many nights like this, without ‘you-know-who’,” he added and rolled his hazel-brown eyes. Jason assumed that Bryan was referring to his overbearing girlfriend—the mayor’s daughter—Courtney Angeletti.

“Ha!” Jason laughed as he rose from the bleachers. “Let’s peace-out. Luke wanted to go to Samson’s anyway. You can do a lot more than booze out of a soda bottle with that crew.”

“All right. See you guys later,” Bryan called loudly and nodded toward the large group that they had been sitting with.

“Yeah, later,” Jason said as he glanced at the field before descending the bleachers.

“Let’s grab Anderson,” Bryan suggested.

“Where is that kid? I haven’t seen him since we got here,” Jason asked as he paused to peer through the crowd.

“There he is!” Bryan called out.

Jason followed Bryan’s gaze and spotted Jon standing behind the cheerleaders with Katherine Rossi. “Ha! Of course he’s talking to type-A-quality. He never lets us down.”

“He’s so sweating that girl,” Bryan said with a laugh as he stepped in front of Jason.

“He’s ridiculous to think that he has a chance with her,” Jason stated. “She’s here trying to watch her boyfriend play, and Jon’s here trying to score points of his own.”

Bryan shook his head and laughed. “He’s the champ! I wouldn’t discredit the possibility.”

“Tru-dat,” Jason sang and flicked the visor of Alyssa Kelly’s baseball hat as he passed by her.

“Hey, guys!” she cried out with a bright smile. “Where are you headed?” She was sitting beside Marielle Kayne, who was wearing Chris’ football sweatshirt.

“Oh, hey,” Bryan said as he turned to face the girls. “I didn’t see you there.”

“Hi,” Marielle said quietly. Jason noted the suspicious expression on her face as she glanced at Bryan’s empty soda bottle.

“We’re grabbing Jon and then heading out with my brother,” Jason stated and nodded toward Jon. “What are you ladies up to tonight?”

“You’re not staying to watch the game?” Marielle asked. “Chris is playing so hard out there!”

“Obviously!” Jason exclaimed. “He’s winning the game for us. I don’t need to watch the whole thing. I have faith my boy will pull through.” Jason turned away from Marielle and took a sip of his drink.

“We’ll catch you girls later,” Bryan said as he jumped down a row of bleachers. “Have a good one.”

Jason waved goodbye, without making eye contact with either of the girls, and followed Bryan down the rest of the bleachers.