Monday, March 28, 2016

To Protect and Serve - An Outstanding Story From The Courage Series- Personal Favorite!

“Okay, God, I’m ready. Show me the first small step,” she prayed, and for the first time in a forever of prayers, she felt like Someone had actually heard. 
“You’re awful quiet,” Eve said as she and Jeff sat by the big bay windows of the restaurant. Then she smiled. “Not that you’re ever very loud.” 
The words running through Jeff’s head pulled thoughtfulness to his face. “I was just thinking about what the guy said in the sermon today— you know, about how if Friday had been the end, then the cross would be a symbol of tragedy instead of the symbol of hope.” His fingers went up and drifted across the metal cross at his
chest. “We always want it to be Sunday, don’t we? We don’t want to go through the Fridays of life, but the resurrection of Sunday would mean nothing without the tragedy of Friday.”
“I don’t think I’d ever thought about it like that either,” Eve said softly. “I kind of feel like I’m at Saturday now— waiting, not knowing what’s coming next. Sometimes I think what’s coming will be Sunday, and sometimes I’m afraid it’s going to be another Friday.” 
Jeff nodded. “I’ve been at Saturday so long, I’m not sure I’d even recognize Sunday anymore.” He held up the cross. “Mom gave me this.”
“At the academy,” Eve said, and Jeff nodded. “I take it she wasn’t thrilled about the fire department thing.” “No. She didn’t understand. She thought I had a death wish.” He shrugged. “Maybe I did.”
...Courage was holding out a hand and trusting that she would take it. Faith was believing that Sunday would follow Saturday as Saturday had followed Friday— if only you held onto the hope long enough...

To Protect and Serve
The Courage Series

By Staci Stallings 

I had a "God Incident" this weekend...You know, the type of happening that seems to be coincidental, yet proves to be so very much more? When I opened To Protect and Serve, I had no idea that it was going to include a time setting which included Easter Weekend. When I started reading parts such as the above excerpt, I actually had chills.. How wonderful to have a Christian Novel that included the Easter miracle set into our contemporary lives!

Finding myself stopping to consider the concept of having "Fridays" to go through--as we all do--yet recognizing that we have been promised a "Sunday" that has already proven to come for us for thousands of years, certainly takes us directly to the heart of the weekend that Jesus had not only died for us...but Arose!

This is the first novel in the Courage Series and I had never read the author before. Needless to say it was a very pleasant surprise, as well as a spiritual and inspiring story for me...

It's a love story. The novel has that element, but moves on into presenting an exciting, yet heartbreaking picture of those who serve our country through fire protection--To save others' lives, they will risk their own... all without any explicit sexual content! What a lovely break for this reader.

Strong, with a strength he had gained and a strength he would have to find in himself to do this job, his voice came. A solemn vow to all those his life would touch. “… I promise to protect and serve to the best of my ability. I promise the wisdom to lead, the compassion to comfort, and the love to serve unselfishly whenever I am called.” A moment of silence for them all to breathe, one more moment affording a final opportunity to turn back. But like the image of those steps, he knew he never would. If someone needed him, Jeff Taylor, now standing at the door to his destiny, was ready and willing to help.

Jeff Taylor had been shy and unable to deal with interacting with women until he met and fell in love with Lisa on a night when both had been the lonely single at a bar's table. While Jeff had a background that we later learn about that helped to lead to his personal and professional choices, Lisa Matheson had long ago chosen to become a professional business woman and head her own company. But not only did she have issues with delegation, she found that she still have to deal when they were clients who found her not only beautiful, but assumed that she would do anything to please that client...

The looks Tucker was giving her sent chills— and not the good kind— up Lisa’s spine Tuesday afternoon as she sat across the table for lunch with him and his grandfather...
“We’re almost there,” Tucker said as his voice darkened. He pulled off the freeway and stopped at an intersection. “Just chill. Okay?” But she knew all too well where chilling was going to get her. With no more than a half-second of thought, she reached for the door handle, clicked it, and swung it open as the light turned green ahead of them. “What are you doing?” he practically screamed. “What I should’ve done when you showed up.” One hand clicked her seat belt as her first heel hit the pavement. Horns behind them blared to life. Her body out, she slammed the door and stumbled from the middle of the road across three lanes to the other side as the cars played pinball with her path. “Cripes! How do I let myself get into these messes?” Beep. Honk. Beep. And she made it safely to the other side of the street. 
“Great. Now what?” She looked around to get her bearings, and then she realized that Tucker might actually have the audacity to come try to find her.  That thought jerked her steps down the street. “I truly hate guys,” she said into the night air. “I really and truly do. They are nothing but egomaniacal, selfish, inconsiderate jerks, and if I never see another one again, it will be too soon.”

Readers enjoy seeing the camaraderie and friendship developed among firemen and watch as they handle daily emergencies, such as when Jeff talks a young boy from jumping off a bridge...and much more.

While Lisa has a difficult time trying to deal with all of the work she has and the problems necessary to build up a small business.

While the two begin to slowly meet and share quiet times talking and learning about each other,  Lisa soon learns that there is danger for danger when one of his best friends dies from being caught in a fire...

The major attribute that comes through Stallings book is...reality...Readers are fully aware of both internal and external thoughts of confusion, anger, joy, and love...and, when asked to participate, with God as a primary character there in those emotions... The dialogue between each of the couple and the God to whom each shares, is very personal and provocative... Is God helping to bring the two together? Or should they move on, reverting back into their lonely, separate lives. 

Is it worth so much pain and fear to have a love so great that losing it would affect your whole life?

“Lisa?” He stepped over the hose as she flew the last three steps into his arms. Holding her, the strength in his arms flowed into her spirit as the world around them dropped away. All she wanted to do was hold him...she pulled him closer to her as a stream of tears slid down her face. You have this moment and only this moment. What you do with it is your choice. 
A moment or a hundred thousand. Whatever God gave them, she would stand right at Jeff Taylor’s side. Then in the moment when God called one of them home, she would look back with no regrets for she would have spent all the time from that moment to this loving with complete trust. And that was the only measure of love that ever truly mattered.

Stallings has given readers much more than a sermon...she has opened the lives of two people, who could be you or somebody you know. She has given each God's spirit so that even when there were Fridays in their lives, there was that promise, that realization that Sunday comes...and His Spirit lives with us each day, Fridays, especially...

This is a personal favorite for 2016...a glorious expression of God's Love... A must-read for many! If only every teenager today could read that it's not necessary to rush into marriage and all it entails... So check it out for yourself or as a gift...


A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci's stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That's what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

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