11/29/17: The Shepherd’s Evaluation

•November 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Every year in most jobs, employees must go through an annual evaluation. This is a time when the boss or supervisor sits across the table from the employee and talks with him or her about the performance that has been exhibited throughout the year. Generally speaking, if the employee has done her job well, the performance evaluation will be favorable, often leading to a bonus or a raise in financial compensation. However, if the employee’s performance has been below par, a wide array of negative consequences could ensue, from a warning, to disciplinary action, to a demotion, or even to being fired.

Well, God does performance evaluations too, and He likes to start at the top with management. All through Scripture, shepherds and sheep are spoken of symbolically representing the leader or pastor and God’s people. God holds the position of a shepherd to an extremely high standard. After all, the shepherd is directly responsible for the welfare of the sheep. When the shepherds of Israel messed up, God did not mince words. He told them exactly what they had done wrong, enumerated the results of their mismanagement, and pronounced His judgment. Listen in at Ezekiel 34:2-10:

* … “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

* “So they were scattered… they became food for all the beasts of the field… My sheep wandered… no one was seeking or searching for them…

* “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand…” (NKJ).

        The checklist evaluation of what a shepherd of God’s people is supposed to be doing is right here in this passage. It’s not our job to judge God’s chosen leaders; God is perfectly capable of doing that Himself. However, it is our responsibility to place ourselves under leadership that is reliably following God. Are our pastors concerned with:

  • Strengthening the weak?
  • Healing the sick?
  • Binding up the broken?
  • Bringing back those who have been driven away? and
  • Seeking the lost?

Those called to be pastors and church leaders (shepherds): there’s the evaluation of your motives. Those called to be sheep: there’s your prayer list for your shepherd.

_______________________________________________

Let’s get a head start on making 2018 great by coming together in unity. Rally around the word of God through Closer Walk 2018. Join the virtual devotional group with one goal in mind – getting to know God better. Go the the “About” page of the Closer Walk 2018 blog for the easy information about joining. Our initial goal being ready to start by January 1, 2018 is 10,000 “walkers.”

Come on. Start the new year with an easy goal which is bound to produce nothing but positive, eternal results.

Become a “walker.” Click here to join in: https: https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com/about/

______________________

©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

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  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends! www.LifeThatMatters.net
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11/25/17: Make 2018 Great

•November 25, 2017 • 3 Comments

We have heard a lot lately about making things great; however, 2017 was not a great year for many people. This past year was filled with weather-related catastrophes, shootings at concerts and in churches, accidents on the road, mistrust of political leaders, illnesses, financial setbacks, deaths, and the ever-present danger of terrorism hovering over everyone. Next year has got to be better.

Let’s get a head start on making 2018 great by coming together in unity. Rally around the word of God through Closer Walk 2018. Join the virtual devotional group with one goal in mind – getting to know God better. Go the the “About” page of the Closer Walk 2018 blog for the easy information about joining. Our initial goal being ready to start by January 1, 2018 is 10,000 “walkers.”

Come on. Start the new year with an easy goal which is bound to produce nothing but positive, eternal results.

Become a “walker.” Click here to join in: https: https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com/about/

______________________

©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

img-life-that-matters

  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends! www.LifeThatMatters.net

11/24/17: Handle Your Business

•November 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Many of us have big ideas about what we want to accomplish in life. Many of us even start strong in reaching toward those goals. We go to college, we draw up plans, we attend seminars, and we nail up vision boards. Some of us take it that next step: we obtain a business license, design a website, order business cards, pass out flyers, get a Facebook page, and hang out our shingle. We write that book, buy that house, start that family, get promoted on that job, cut that demo. We’re self-promoted, self-motivated, and self-determined. All’s well and good until problems arise. It’s not until then that many of us remember that in order to handle our business well, we need to pray about all of this.

The three major obstacles to the continuance of handling one’s business are suffering, sickness, and sin. The antidote to each of these issues is covered in James, chapter 5, verses 13-16.

  • Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray… Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him… anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses[e] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (Emphasis added)

Why can’t everything just run smoothly? Why is it that when we’re sailing along with our plans, things inevitably seem to go awry? That’s because it’s so easy for us to get all wrapped up in ourselves and forget about God. We’re so busy trying to handle our own business that we forget that our first business is to handle God’s business. And we won’t know what God’s business is for us unless we are in communication with Him. Prayer is how to handle our business. Prayer is how to face the suffering life will throw our way. Prayer is the medicine for any kind of sickness. And prayer brings about forgiveness of sin.

For my suffering readers: Lord God, I am so sorry for the suffering of my readers today. Manifest Yourself to them in a mighty way so that they know it’s You. Comfort their hearts. Bring them Your relief. Hug them.

For my sick readers: Lord God almighty, please bring about healing for my readers today. Send someone to them who can lay their hands on them, pray, and anoint them with oil. If there is no one close, give them the ability to lay hands on themselves, anoint themselves, and believe by faith in You for their healing. If You want to heal through medication, make that medication effective right away. Thank You for confounding the doctors.

For my readers in sin: Lord God, move my readers to confess their sins today. Bring a good Christian listener across their paths with whom they can share in confidence and with whom they can pray. Thank You for forgiving their sins and helping them to turn from them. Thank You for the testimonies of deliverance they will be able to share that will bring You glory.

Amen!

______________________

©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

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  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

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Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

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11/23/17: “What if” for Thanksgiving

•November 23, 2017 • 3 Comments

This is my 60th Thanksgiving, probably my favorite holiday. Why? I love the fellowship of family and I love the tradition of the family meal. All those happy, familiar faces swirled together with all those delectable smells just make my heart sing. Our family meal includes baked turkey, oyster dressing, mac-n-cheese, greens, green beans, sweet potatoes with those little marshmallows, pigtails and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, iced tea (with lemon, mint, and 7-up), the relish tray (with pickles and green olives), sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, vanilla ice cream, and MONKEY BREAD. Other traditional happenings for Thanksgiving include lots of laughter as we share old stories about each other, and the obligatory game of Spoon. We also go around the table before we eat and say something for which we are thankful.

I have never known a Thanksgiving without family, someplace to be for this scrumptious meal, and the other traditions. I am indeed blessed and thankful. We have faced Thanksgivings welcoming new family members and missing those who have either moved away on earth or who have moved away to Heaven, but the traditions have survived. My mother’s monkey bread recipe was passed down to us, but Meloni, one of her granddaughters, has taken up the mantel to bake tons of it every holiday. I have no idea why my mother added the pigtails and sauerkraut to our African-American meal, but it’s here to stay as far as we’re concerned. Daddy was the one who always made his special iced tea and now my sister grows mint in her backyard so the tea never goes without it. And we’re ruthless around the card table playing Spoon, and would have it no other way.

What if I had never known these traditions? I probably would not miss what I had never known, but I also would not know the joy of what I had missed. This is why we reach out to others at this time of year. Some people criticize the fact that people don’t think to reach out to others throughout the year; however, it is a blessing to give holiday cheer to others at holiday time. Let’s not belittle hearts that want to reach out, be it all year long or just once a year.

What if we started a new Thanksgiving tradition? What if we were to pay attention to our loved ones and do something for them that would make their lives more comfortable? Then what if we fulfilled those needs, not because they deserved it or earned it, but because we were able to bless them? Think about extending grace this year (grace is getting what we don’t deserve). Here are some ideas:

  • Cover gas for their car for six months. Either load a gas card with six months worth of money or send a gas card once a month.
  • Pay 3 – 6 months of certain bills.
  • Baby-sit for free for those who have little kids so the parents can have some alone time.
  • Act as a cleaning service for them one Saturday.
  • Wash their car.
  • Give a woman a spa day or pay for her next hair and/or nail appointment.
  • Take on the other person’s normal household chores.
  • Do their ironing.
  • Set up a social media account for an older family member and show him or her how to connect with family members.
  • Fly loved ones home for the holidays.
  • Etc. (Be creative.)

The Golden Rule says for us to do unto others what we would have done unto us. What if we obeyed that on this Thanksgiving?

______________________

©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

img-life-that-matters

  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

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Boomerangs FrontCover

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

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11/20/17: 41 Days to God

•November 20, 2017 • 1 Comment

There are 41 days left in 2017. Maybe for you, this has been the best year of your life. It could have been your graduation year. Possibly you finally landed that dream job. Perhaps you married the love of your life, or had a precious baby. On the other hand, 2017 may have turned out to be a completely horrible year. You experienced a severe financial reversal, have been embroiled in conflict, are fighting a physical illness, or have lost adored loved ones to death.

Whether the circumstances of life have treated us well or terribly, we still have a God who can be approached with both our thanks and our questions, our rejoicing and our tears. He is able to appreciate our thanks, and He can answer our questions and heartaches. How is God able to be both a celebratory friend and a comforting Father at the same time? How can He be both the punisher of and the forgiver of sin? How can He hate the sin but love the sinner? 

Thoughts of God simply blow our minds and they should. A god who can fit neatly into our complete understanding is a god we don’t need. God is bigger than our mental capacity; nevertheless, God has revealed enough of Himself to us that we can know Him intimately and love Him personally.

  • First John 5:20 says, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (NKJ).
  • Proverbs 2:1-5 says, “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” (NKJ).

We all want to know God better. Join me a year-long trek starting January 1, 2018. Closer Walk 2018 will be our journey together. Click to the “About” page of the CloserWalk2018 Blog to get prepared so you’re ready to start. There are just 41 days to God – that is, to getting to know God better! https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com/about/

Our goal is at least 10,000 “walkers”. Together, we’ll be a faith-force, close enough to God to hear His voice and get our marching orders for 2018.

______________________

©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

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  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

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Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

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11/10/17 Dark Room Development

•November 10, 2017 • 1 Comment

My friend Diana is enduring every mother’s worst nightmare: both of her sons, her only children, were killed in a horrific car crash just a few days ago. As my heart and prayers go out to her, I remembered the following devotion I had written about six years ago. In the light of her tragedy and so many others we hear of on the news every day, and as we question God and the purpose of all this pain, it seemed appropriate to repost these devotional thoughts today.

*********************************************

In my senior year of high school, I worked on yearbook staff and was editor of one of the sections of the volume. Our student photographers on staff not only took the pictures, but developed them right there at the school in our darkroom. Using only the illumination of a special red light, the film would be transferred somehow to the paper and then the paper would be dipped in several different trays holding chemical solutions. As the photos were moved from tray to tray, the image began to emerge. The process took a considerable amount of time and care and seemed almost magical.

Understandably, our teacher and those photographers would get quite upset if someone opened the dark room door while they worked. Too much light would flood in and mess up every piece of film on which they had been painstakingly laboring. More than those pictures would be ruined. All the money for the film and the time those photographers had logged on their assignments had been a waste. Deadlines for getting the yearbook pages designed were pushed back without those photos. And supposed those pictures had been of the miraculous catch that won the homecoming game, the photo-finish at the swim meet, or the principal’s surprise 50th birthday party thrown by the whole school? The photographic memories of those events could never again be recaptured. The darkness of that dark room made the proper development of those pictures possible so that everything else necessary to produce a memorable yearbook could happen.

We live in a fallen world where it rains on everyone. God re-purposes dark rooms and allows them to develop us. When we are experiencing the darknesses of financial reversals, failures, job losses, strenuous challenges, sicknesses, disappointments, loneliness, separations, and deaths; look at things through the illuminating red light of the blood of Jesus. Fall into the arms of Jesus and let Him hold you in the dark. Watch as God takes time and care to develop the picture that has been taken. Don’t rush through any of the stages. Let Him gently carry you through every “chemical.” Only when the process is complete will you be fully developed. You’ll only be ready for use on just the right “pages” of life when His image emerges through you. And it will.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (NKJ)

______________________

©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

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  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

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Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

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9/19/17: Don’t Chance It

•September 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

A section of II Kings talks about the divided kingdom era. Israel and Judah split after the reign of Solomon and each section had a king. The kings of Israel were generally evil, while the kings of Judah generally tried to lead the people to stick with God. Neither section ever seemed to be able to totally turn the people’s eyes exclusively back to pure worship of God, so it was a downhill slide for both until the end of the Old Testament when God finally said He’d had enough. Then, after 400 years of silence between the testaments, God ushered in the Church age through Jesus Christ and, in terms of Biblical history, that’s where we are today.

What I noticed while reading this part of the Bible was God’s long-suffering. As evil as the kings were, He let them reign for years. Sometimes the kings would come up against an enemy who was oppressing them, and the king would cry out to God for help with a promise to change his ways. God would help him – deliver him and the people from the oppressor – and then the king and the people would go right back to their evil by ignoring God and worshipping Baal. Then God would let that king die and another would reign, only to play out the same scenario.

God’s patience is not a license to sin; yet, how many times do we – like the evil kings of Israel and Judah – take advantage of it? Ecclesiastes 8:11 tells us what our problem is: “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong” (NIV). You see, when we think we have gotten away with something, we don’t stop, count ourselves lucky, and repent promising never to do that again. To the contrary, when we are not punished immediately, we are emboldened to go a little farther next time.

Please note, Romans 6:23a has not changed, “For the wages of sin is death…” (NIV), and neither has Numbers 32:23b, “…be sure your sin will find you out” (KJV). Those evil kings got their come-uppins and we will too. God’s patience gives us a chance to repent and change. Do you really want God to deal with you in your sin? Don’t chance it. Let’s trust instead in what God can do with an obedient heart.

______________________

©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch Sharon in two shows on The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network: 
    • Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott, and
    • A View from the Upper Room

from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv

(Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)

img-life-that-matters

  • 619hstwgsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Join the movement! Closer Walk 2018(c) https://closerwalk2018.wordpress.com
  • 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You.
  • Start every day of your new year with one of these thoughtful devotional readings that will focus your attention on our amazing heavenly Father.

http://www.hsbn.tv/_store.html#!/366-Glimpses-of-God-Getting-to-Know-the-God-Who-Knows-You/p/77442498/category=15564996

  • Pick up copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

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Boomerangs FrontCover

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

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Sharon’s other books still available:

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