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Day Not Promised

Chapter One


May the Lord keep you from dangers seen and unseen. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. —2 Corinthians 10:4 KJV


Three died, but I survived.

Omega Addams couldn’t erase the images that held her mind captive in a headlock. Angels. Demons. Dead people. Was it real or a nightmare? A simple detour home had proven deadly.

Stopping to get gas after leaving work in Midtown St. Louis had put her in the crossfire of a gun battle.

Who robs a gas market on the first day of a work week? Didn’t crime happen after dark on the weekends?

Wrong place.

Wrong day to gas up.

Bad timing.

Omega chided herself for not filling up her tank on Sunday as her parents taught her when she learned to drive.

The cracking sound of bullets from inside the convenience store grew louder as the robber—a short white guy—scurried outside while shooting like a madman.

Rapid fire didn’t discriminate as it marked unfortunate targets. Bodies collapsed onto the ground like in a video game while others ducked for cover. Officers said three people were deceased.

Not Omega.

She was spared.


She was too stunned to move to save her life.

That’s when intervention came into play. Without warning, an innocent bystander body-slammed her to the ground. His name was Mitchell Franklin.

He took a bullet for me.

It didn’t end there. It wasn’t her imagination. Omega saw two angels—too tall to be human beings. Unlike the movie and photo portrayals, they didn’t have wings. The pair became a shield to stop more carnage.

“Hey, hey.” Her baby sister, Delta, snapped Omega back to reality, shutting down the instant replay button in her mind. The more Omega tried not to think of what happened hours earlier, the more she wanted to make sense of it. Delta waved Omega’s entry key card at the sensor on the security gate to open, then parked the Kia SUV in its designated spot. On autopilot, Omega unbuckled her seatbelt but didn’t move to get out.

Her younger sister by two years walked around to the passenger door and guided Omega out like a child and helped her up the stairs.

Punching in Omega’s security combination, Delta unlocked the stained-glass front door of her condo. “You’re safe.” Yeah, that’s what the officer had said when he took her statement. Traumatized but unhurt, Omega refused medical attention.

“Miss Addams, you’re done here. You’ve given us your statement. Call someone to get you,” Officer James suggested. “Your vehicle is okay, but you’re in no condition to drive yourself.”

I’m not? Omega’s attempt to recharge her brain to think failed. Her parents weren’t an option. They lived hundreds of miles away in Texas. That wouldn’t stop them from taking the next flight out of Dallas. And they wouldn’t come alone. Eric and Glenda Addams were active members of the Black Greek letter organizations.


Many of their fraternity brothers and sorority sisters were like aunts and uncles to Omega and her siblings. Out of solidarity, they would show up too.

Omega ruled out her big brother Randall. The less he knew, the better for her. He gave a new meaning to overprotective. At least he had a more common name. Their mother had found Omega in the list of baby girl names. Since her father pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., her name was a tribute to him. Delta—the obvious name choice because their mother was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.—was two years younger than thirty-five year-old Omega.

In a daze, the police officer had studied her until she blinked.

“Miss, are you sure you don’t want medical treatment?”

“Yes—I mean no—I’m fine. I’ll call my sister. Omega pulled the phone from her purse, but her fingers were too shaky to tap on the phone icon.

“Let me help you. What’s her name?” Officer James held out his hand.


He scrolled down her recent calls and located the name.

Officer James identified himself and repeatedly calmed her sister down as he gave a recap of what happened at the location. “Miss Addams has a few bumps and bruises but is quite shaken, as you could imagine.” He frowned, glanced at the phone, and grunted. “She’s on her way.”

Delta arrived twenty minutes later from Northwest County to Gus’ Gas Mart in a rideshare.

The two sisters hugged and cried thankful tears. Delta composed herself first, then coaxed Omega to get in the car, and her sister sped away. But not fast enough.

Repeatedly, Delta assured Omega that she was safe from harm. Not after tonight.

As a single professional living alone, Omega moved to Brentwood’s gated community because of the low crime rate, diversity in the ethnic populations, and proximity to shopping,  dining, and entertainment.

In less than a ten-minute drive, her out-of-town guests could visit the many free attractions in Forest Park, including the world-famous St. Louis Zoo, the Art Museum and Missouri History Museums in Forest Park. Her idyllic bubble was no longer safe.

Inside the foyer of her condo, Delta flicked on one light fixture after another, illuminating the bay windows in the front rooms. The light blinded Omega at first, then the familiar surroundings comforted her.

To calm her nerves, Omega inhaled the scent from the vanilla fragrance candles. It gave her a headache. “That man wanted to kill me. I was so close to death at thirtyfive…murdered.” Attempting to flop on her chaise, Omega slid to the floor instead. Delta joined her on the floor and wrapped her arms around her as Omega released another round of tears.

“But you weren’t. The police shot that deranged man before he could hurt anyone else. It’s over. Now I’ve alarmed your security, and I’m spending the night. Are you sure you don’t want me to call Mom, Dad, or Randall?” “No,” Omega blurted out.

Their hothead brother was the oldest at thirty-nine. The man believed in revenge at all costs when it came to his younger sisters. If there was a hint that someone intended to harm or bully them, Randall would strike first.

“I’ll be okay.” She trembled despite her declaration. “I can’t live my life in fear.”

“Right.” Delta stood and padded across her hardwood floor to her kitchen, outfitted with top-of-the-line appliances and a custom granite countertop. Four swivel stools were ready to receive guests to sample whatever Omega was in the mood to stir up.

Delta reached into a muted charcoal gray cabinet and grabbed one of her many decorative mugs that featured Black divas in hats or dresses on them.

These were a few of many ethnic accents Omega used to decorate her two-bedroom place to create a cozy atmosphere.

It was comfortable. Inviting. And safety was never in question.

What happened tonight wasn’t supposed to—not in her area on an early Monday evening. Omega tried to rationalize what she had experienced.

A hint of peppermint tea perforated the air as Delta returned and sat on the ottoman in front of her. “Here. Drink this.” Omega’s unsteady hands accepted the brew.

“How’s that lump?” Delta stood to examine the back of Omega’s head, which had suffered a blow when she hit the ground. “I’d rather have a bump or a bruise than a bullet like…” She sniffed and thought about the innocent man who had used his body as a shield to save her life.

They both would have lost their lives if the crazed gunman had his way. “I keep seeing that monster’s face. The hate in his eyes as he aimed his gun steady at me and fired.”

“Sis, it’s okay. You’re alive. You need to get some rest. Take tomorrow off to regroup.” Delta rubbed Omega’s back in a soft, circular motion. The touch was soothing to Omega.

“But I’m not staying home. If my Good Samaritan is still in the hospital in the morning, I’m going to thank him.”

“Thank God for that innocent bystander. Was he good-looking?”

“What?” Omega frowned at her sister’s attempt to lighten the mood. “I don’t know. I heard the paramedics call him Mitchell Franklin. Thank God he wasn’t killed trying to save me. I didn’t have time to check for a wedding or belly ring or nose piercing. We were getting shot at!” Omega displayed a duh expression. “Seems surreal. One minute, I’m minding my own business…

Then the next, a bullet ripped through his shoulder and whizzed by my eyes. I’ve never been up close-and-personal with a bullet. But there’s something else. Two angels were standing in front of me protecting us. I think they scared the gunman off.”

“Angels, huh?” Delta gave her a goofy look. The childhood expression usually amused Omega. Not this time. “How do you know it was angels?”

“They glowed and were taller than the Alton Giant.”

She referenced Robert Wadlow who lived across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Illinois in the early 1900s. At eight feet, eleven inches, he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest man in the world.

“Right. Where did they come from?”

“How do I know? They just appeared. All I saw were swords and shields.” Omega strained her brain to remember her true guardian angels.

Delta chuckled.

“This was real. They clashed their swords together like superheroes, and the bullets ricocheted off them before the gunman dropped his weapon and ran…but the police killed him.” She rubbed her forehead in irritation as she tried to convince her sister of what she saw.

“I guess near-death experiences make a person hallucinate.”

“As sure as my head is aching, my vision is 20/20.” Omega touched the knot and cringed.

“Right. I’ll get you more ice and painkillers.”

Had Omega been hallucinating? Did Mitchell Franklin see them too? Omega planned to ask him tomorrow when she visited him in the hospital. If he weren’t there, she would stalk him on social media. 

The Intercessors series excerpts

Day She Prayed


But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. When lust is conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.—James 1:14–15




“You don’t want to be a part of my wedding?” Omega Addams’ hurt expression matched the heaviness in Tally Gilbert’s heart as she declined the precious offer.

Wedding magazines and fabric samples were strewn across Omega’s kitchen counter, while various bridal sites were open on two laptops.

Omega and Delta had been like bonus younger sisters since Tally had started dating their older brother, Randall. His name embodied love and respect. They would do anything for each other except… No, Tally wouldn’t go down memory lane.

Her relationship with the sisters had changed when Tally broke up with Randall and broke his heart in the process.

She had her reasons.


Physical or mental abuse—no.

It was something more profound than that. Tally’s soul was at stake. To save it, she had to cut ties with the fine, sexy, and lovable Randall Addams.

She covered Omega’s hand with hers to soften the blow. “I will come and support you in any other way, being in the same wedding party as Randall would be too much tension.”  And temptation, she thought.

“Ha!” Delta, the younger of the two sisters, called out. Her dark, flawless skin reminded Tally of Randall’s. “You mean sexual tension. When you two were together, the room would sizzle.” Her lips curled into a mischievous grin.

Delta sounded like Tally’s sister, Porsha, who had said the same thing. “Randall Addams is a temptation with a pop of steroids and an extra dose of testosterone.”

But her relationship with Randall had been more than just hormones. Their love was potent, drugging, and addictive. Anyone could see it was genuine. They supported each other’s dreams and put the other first. There was never any manipulation—ever.

“Fornication was one of many vices the Lord saved me from. God has made it clear that I can’t love the world and the Lord at the same time. It’s not fair to tempt Randall with what neither of us can have,” Tally said.

“I understand.” Omega mustered a smile. “You’re still like a sister to us, but as your fellow sister in Christ, I think you’re making the right decision. I know my brother is on your prayer list for salvation.”

“Yep. In bold letters. Other names were added and scratched off when the Lord honored my petitions. Randall Addams hasn’t budged.”

Tally was grateful her friend understood. After all, the Lord had drawn Omega to Christ first, and Omega had witnessed to others after He had spared her life in a gas station robbery. At the time, Tally hadn’t been a hard sell because Jesus was already working on her. Tally was ready to change, but she didn’t know how.

When she left Omega’s condo hours later, Tally’s mind drifted to the night God had captured her complete attention.

It was a weekend, and they always spent the night together, either at her house or Randall’s. They were doing everything married couples do without a piece of paper, and they were happy, despite the shame Tally brought on her parents by not setting a good example for Porsha.

“Respect yourself and your family. You’re a jewel, Princess,” her father had said.

“But I feel like a queen with Randall.” She pleaded her case but couldn’t win them over.

While she lay sleeping in Randall’s bed that night, Tally woke up screaming and crying. Perspiration clung to her like hot flashes, and she blinked to look around the room. A plug-in night light flickered near the door. She panted, trying to fill her lungs with air.

Randall woke and asked what was wrong.

“I saw myself standing on earth, and it was on fire. Raging. There was no escape. I was about to be burned alive. I was so scared.”

“It was just a dream,” Randall had said. “I’m here, and I’m not going to let anything happen to you. He thought I had fallen asleep after he wrapped his arms around me and rocked me gently.

She would never forget that night. How could anyone go back to sleep after feeling the heat and seeing the flames? “I wanted to be saved from hell,” she said aloud as she continued her drive home.

That had been the last night she slept with Randall. Confused, scared, and lost, Tally hadn’t known what to do until Randall casually mentioned that his sister had “gone church extreme” on him.

Randall didn’t hide his bewilderment with Omega. “Church is for hypocrites,” he had said.

Tally wasn’t sure that was true and didn’t conceal her curiosity.

She couldn’t wait to get Omega alone to hear more about her salvation experience. Omega had hesitated because Randall had threatened her not to bring up Jesus to his woman.

“Your brother thinks it’s something he did and…” Tally had smiled. “He’s been trying to do little things to make me happy. He can’t. I want a balanced life with the Lord.”

Omega had looked pleased and tortured at her announcement. “I don’t think my brother is ready for a Jesus commitment.”

Tally had sensed that by his disparaging comments.

“What are you going to do?” Omega had asked.

“I’m breaking up with him.” Tears filled Tally’s eyes as she uttered the truth.

That had been six months ago and counting, and her heart still ached for his hugs, but the Holy Ghost kept her from falling back into the lifestyle that God had warned her to escape.



Chapter One

Now unto him, that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. —Jude 1:24–25



August, Wedding Day

Tally finished her eye makeup, then finger-combed her hair that was growing out of its pixie cut style. Next, she scrutinized her appearance in a sleeveless orange dress. Finally, Tally admired the bronze polish from her pedicure as she slipped into sandals.

Why was it necessary to look good to her ex?

What message was she sending? “I’m doing good without you,” or “I want us back together,” or “See, I made the right choice?”

After taking a deep breath, Tally grabbed her keys and drove to her church. She was happy for Omega and Mitchell, whom many had dubbed the Holy Ghost power couple.

That’s what Tally desired, a praying man who knew to call on the name of Jesus to slay demons. Lord, whatever man You have for me, show me. Let him love You unconditionally, so he’ll know how to love me. Randall thought church folks were hypocrites, but hypocrites were everywhere.

On jobs.

In families.

Among friends.

Too much was at stake as the End of Time approached. Until Jesus returned as He promised, Tally stayed busy by volunteering at church functions, participating in the daily 5:30 a.m. call-in prayer line, and reading her Bible faithfully. She memorized Scriptures that the Lord dropped into her spirit to ease the sadness whenever she thought of the baby she had miscarried from the love she had shared with Randall. 

Why was it so hard for her heart to let Randall go?

Tally sighed. She would come face-to-face with Randall Anthony Gilbert.

He was tall.

Built with dark brown skin.

Solid muscles of handsome perfection.

“Whew.” It wasn’t good to linger on what her eyes shouldn’t behold to make her heart pant for more.

How often had Randall visited Christ For All Church within the year they had broken up? Twice—maybe—including today.

Randall’s sister’s nuptials had forced him to come to church. Tally chuckled, but she wasn’t happy about his default visit. “Wouldn’t it be something if God saved you right at that altar where you stood as a groomsman?”

Yeah. That would be perfect.

Wishful thinking.

Some things are impossible with man, but trust in Me, and all things are possible, God whispered through the light breeze that filtered through the crack in her window.

A funeral procession caught Tally’s attention. A day of celebration for one family had delivered sorrow to another. She slowed down and let the cars, filled with mourners, pass. Tally mouthed, “God bless you,” as she made eye contact with a woman in a passenger seat.

The lady nodded as if she’d read Tally’s lips.

God whispered Romans 12:15, Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep.

For the rest of the drive, Tally prayed for the family’s comfort and healing in the coming days. She wondered about the deceased. Were they ready for death? Did they want salvation?

Those thoughts occupied her until she entered Christ For All Church’s packed parking lot. Her mood immediately changed at the sight of the happy wedding attendees—couples, little girls and boys, the elderly—some on canes—and countless others coming to witness a grand occasion.

Tally smiled and greeted familiar church members. Although she and Randall had dated for a couple of years, she hadn’t met any of his extended relatives. The only giveaway of kinship was a resemblance. The Addams family had handsome and beautiful relatives.

Groomsmen were in position as she entered the foyer. She made eye contact with Mitchell Franklin. Although handsome without the evening attire, he wowed in his tuxedo. Omega would swoon for sure.

Mitchell grinned as Tally continued her way.

No need to search for Randall. She felt his eyes locked on her.

His presence was always overpowering. Tally denied the pull, in Jesus’ name.

Stepping into the sanctuary, she scanned the left section, designated for the bride’s family and friends, then Tally spotted her parents, Kent and Cynthia Gilbert, and her only sibling, Porsha.

“’Bout time you got here,” Porsha whispered as the sisters exchanged air kisses. “I thought you might have changed your mind. I saw Randall. Smokin’ hot.” Her sister fanned her face. “I’m sure all the single sisters got their eyes locked on him.”

The nonchalant smile was fake, but Tally squeezed her lips together anyway. Porsha didn’t say it to make Tally jealous. She was giving her observation.

Tally’s attraction to Randall wasn’t based solely on looks. His caring personality and humor hooked her after the first date, so Randall’s surrender to God’s salvation remained a top priority on her prayer list. There was no indication that he would be removed from the list soon.

They would be equally yoked as a Holy Ghost power couple, too, as the Bible said—unless God had someone else in store for her.

Her mother reached over for a hug, then her father. Tally’s breakup with Randall resulted in her parents submitting to the Lord’s salvation.

“That was nothing but Jesus,” her mom had said. Kent and Cynthia were amazed that anything or anyone could break up the lovebirds. Tally considered herself living her best life with Randall, but the Lord showed her otherwise. Her parents said it had to be no one but the Lord who could separate them.

The violinist started a soft chord as the groomsmen walked to the altar in full swagger behind Mitchell and Pastor Rodney.

It was hard not to stare at God’s handiwork. Tally’s mistake. She made eye contact with Randall.

His magnetic tug caused her to shiver, but the Holy Ghost gave her the strength to blink and look away.

Minutes later, Omega’s bridesmaids made their entrance, which included her sister Delta. Plus, sisters Caylee and April—international models who had flown in to be a part of the nuptials. After Mitchell had protected Omega at a gas station holdup, Caylee and April testified how Omega saved their lives. It was a domino effect.

The flower girl was next, then the bride appeared on her father’s arm. Omega—already pretty—was breathtaking. Happy. In love.

Tally glanced at Mitchell, and his expression softened. That warmed her heart. He loved her and outdid Randall when it came to protecting Omega. And that was saying something. Randall went overboard, safeguarding what he called his responsibility.

The music stopped, and anticipation grew as Pastor Rodney began the ceremony. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the sight of God and these witnesses…”

When it was time to exchange vows, Omega and Mitchell were overcome with emotion.

“Mitchell, I love you. You’ve been my companion, confidant, and prayer partner. Thank you for coming into my life and taking a bullet for me.”

They chuckled. It wasn’t a secret that Mitchell had body-slammed her to the ground to shield her from gunfire. That’s when God showed them that angels were guarding them.

“Omega, I’ll always protect your heart, body, and soul. I promise to love you until my last breath,” the groom said.

The moment was tender and sweet as sniffs floated throughout the sanctuary. Tally chanced a glance at Randall, who wasn’t looking at her. Good. Whew. She exhaled. But the longing on his face was unmistakable.

Then Randall turned and met her eyes. He didn’t hide his hurt. Tally suffered the same ache, so she looked away. Her thoughts were jumbled.

Pastor Rodney pulled her back in. “By the power vested in me from the Lord Jesus Christ and the state of Missouri, I now pronounce you husband and wife in holy matrimony. Let no woman or man come between you as you honor your vows to God and each other,” the pastor said before asking everyone to join in as he prayed for them. “Amen, Brother Franklin. You may now salute your bride.”

Mitchell’s movements seemed coordinated as he tugged her closer. He lifted her veil so nothing could hinder him from pressing his lips to Omega’s for their first kiss as husband and wife.

“God, I want that,” she whispered to herself but loud enough for Porsha to hear.

“Me too.” Her sister sighed and slumped her shoulders against Tally.

They smiled as God whispered to Tally’s spirit, You’ll be a bride one day. It isn’t wishful thinking.

I know, Lord. When You return in the rapture for Your bride, her spirit replied, referencing the ten virgins in Matthew 25:40.

The guests stood as the bride and groom glided down the aisle toward the exit, where they formed a receiving line to greet guests in the foyer. Paired off, the bridal party followed.

Brace for impact, her mind whispered as Randall neared her pew.

He slowed his steps as he approached with his bridesmaid on his arm.

“Praying for you, sis,” Porsha mumbled.

Tally nodded and swallowed. Yeah, I need it.

Randall’s eyes sparkled at her.

He still loved her.

She still loved him.

Why did that make her happy and sad at the same time?

Whatever he was about to say, his marching partner tugged him away.

“That was close, sis.”

Tally glanced at Porsha. “Yep. Even after all these months, my feelings are still strong too. I’ll congratulate Omega and Mitchell, then I’m out of here. My heart can’t survive being in the same room with him.”

“Want some company?” Since Tally wasn’t staying for the reception, neither were Porsha and her parents.

Too bad for Porsha because her younger sister, who stood two inches taller than Tally without the four-inch heels on her feet, would be sure to garner attention at the reception. She had thick, shoulder-length hair styled to one side in curls and a baby face without dimples, which Tally had. Both always received compliments for their pretty eyes.

“Sorry. I’ll need some quiet time after this.” Tally knew her sister would understand, although she had never been in love.

Tally needed to give thanks for making it through today’s temptation and renew her prayers for Randall to ditch his pride and repent.

Row by row, guests spilled into the aisle to form a line to greet the happy couple personally. Since Tally was on the end, she was the first person out of their pew.

The well-wishers hugged, laughed, and took selfies with the bride and groom, slowing down the line, which was okay with Tally.

Caylee squealed her delight when she saw Tally and squeezed her neck.

“I’ll talk to you before I leave to return to Australia.” She introduced Quinn, Mitchell’s younger brother, with whom she was paired. He seemed infatuated with the model.

Tally spoke to more pairs until Caylee’s younger sister, April, was next with her groomsman. Again, she received a warm welcome and a tight hug.

The young woman, now nineteen, was a polished professional who had surrendered to the Lord and was living her dream as a runway model overseas. Tally was aware that Randall was two couples away, and she guessed her ex was impatiently awaiting her arrival.

“Get it over with.” Porsha nudged her. “You got this, sis.”

Right. Tally swallowed the fear of yielding to lust and stepped forward.

“Hi. I’m Gina, Mitchell’s cousin, and this is —”

“Randall,” he and Tally said simultaneously as he scooped up her hand in an intimate handshake. She could feel her heart race.

“We were an intense couple at one time,” he told Gina but never took his eyes off Tally. His caress sent tingles down her spine. “Hands still as soft as I remember.” Randall boldly appraised her appearance. “You let your hair grow out. Beautiful.”

Gina cleared her throat, making it obvious she didn’t like the attention Tally received.  Neither did Tally. She tried to inch closer to the bride and groom. Randall wasn’t having it.

“We should have gotten married before my sister. It’s never too late to kiss and make up. I’m willing if you are.” His mesmerizing brown eyes challenged her as his nostrils flared.

Rebuke that spirit in My name, God’s voice thundered.

“Every knee shall bow, and mouth confess that Jesus is Lord. The Lord Jesus rebukes you. Goodbye, Randall.” Tally shook her hand free and congratulated the bride and groom with hugs and smiles without looking back at her ex.

She waved goodbye to her family and made her getaway to the parking lot. Her emotions fell apart in the car before she strapped in her seatbelt.


Chapter One

For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. —Luke 23:29


I’m coming for the children, God whispered.

Jude Morgan stirred but didn’t open his eyes as he sank deeper under the covers. Nothing was going to rob him of his sleep. He hadn’t hit the bed before midnight for three days because of working overtime for Boeing, church meetings, and other commitments. Jude was determined to get a total of seven hours of sleep.

I’m coming for the children, God repeated.

Jude’s eyes popped open, looking to his left, then right in his dark bedroom. Was he dreaming? Did he hear a voice? The hum of his central air was ready to lull him back to sleep.  Holding his breath, Jude remained alert but didn’t leave his bed. He questioned whether he heard right.

I’m coming for the children, God thundered.

The Lord’s disturbing edict caused Jude to jolt up.  As a youth minister at Christ For All Church, Jude believed in praying and then taking the time to listen to Jesus.

He waited to see if the Lord would reveal a vision to understand the message better. Being one of God’s sheep and an intercessor, he recognized his Shepherd’s voice.

That wasn’t a warning or prayer request. Jude began to weep as he slid out of bed and dropped to his knees.  If King David in the Bible could cry out to the Lord, then Jude had no shame. “Lord, what do you mean? Not the children.” He stared into the darkness, and God’s presence created a blinding light.

This world is increasingly wicked. Man has sacrificed the souls that I created and gave them to idols, inside and outside the womb, to Molech and Chemosh, the Lord said. Demons are waiting for their mutilated bodies to torture them.

With his face bowed in submission, Jude’s heart ached as the Lord mentioned the names prominent in the Bible for fake gods. If there was one thing God hated, it was idolatry—past and present.

In Biblical times, people would burn their children, including babies, alive to their pagan gods called Molech. King Mesa of Moab had offered his eldest son, a prince, in a burnt offering to Chemosh in front of his enemies to win a war he “ultimately” lost.

Who is sacrificing children? Jude thought. It was hard to visualize the brutality carried out throughout history.

Knowing his thoughts, God answered.  The heart of man is wicked. They have become their own gods, butchering babies before they are born. Their souls are Mine! The room shook from the Lord Jesus’ anger, and Jude trembled in His presence.  When they are born, they are realigning their sex. I am God, the Creator of Heaven and earth. I make no mistakes!

“God, have mercy on us,” Jude pleaded.

Men take innocent babies and use them for sex. They do not teach them about Me. Guns are their toys. They prostitute their children for money, drugs, and evil acts. I have been watching. God called out deeds done in darkness from the world.

“God, what can I do?” Jude pleaded for guidance.

Judgment has been set, God spoke, and then an unsettling quiet filled Jude’s bedroom. This was not good. He glanced at the time displayed on his phone: 2:32 a.m. After what he’d just experienced, how could Jude even think about falling back to sleep? His body told him to try.

A year shy of forty, Jude wasn’t married, nor did he have children, but a church member and single mother, Sinclaire Oliver, had three, and Jude spent time with them, mentoring her oldest son, Carlton.

His friends at church, the Addamses, and Franklins, were two married couples eager to start families. What did this mean for them?

Renewed with a mission, Jude began to pray. Yep, his spirit was too active to get a restful night’s sleep.

In his mind, he wondered who would repent and return to God.


Jude was exhausted when he climbed back into bed after praying for hours.

He felt drugged and weak, and his head and heart ached. Jude needed coffee for physical strength. Nope. He shook his head. This situation called for fasting and prayer.

I’m coming for the children kept reverberating in his head.

There was no way Jude was going into the office, nor would he work from home today. He called his supervisor. When Jude got Kenneth’s voicemail, he left a message, then emailed him. His boss would think Jude wanted a long weekend.

The next call was to Pastor Rodney.

The church secretary informed Jude that their pastor was out for a conference and wouldn’t return until Saturday night.

“Great. Thank you.” Jude began his morning routine at the kitchen table with his Bible open. 

No television.

No satellite radio.

No phone calls.

For the rest of the day, Jude prayed and read his Bible.

Jude’s heart remained heavy as he sang praises to the Lord to end his fast day. “Lord, You are a righteous God, and let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

On his way to the kitchen, Jude patted his whining flat stomach, courtesy of a consistent gym schedule. Opening the refrigerator, he found a container with leftovers from his mother’s house.

Jude warmed up her chicken Alfredo. Stepping out on his deck, he ate under a nice June breeze. The day was calm, with no hints that God’s judgment could happen anytime.

His thoughts went to Sinclaire Oliver. What did God’s judgment mean for her children?

He grabbed his phone, scrolled to her name in his history, and tapped.

She answered with a “Praise the Lord” greeting.

That always made Jude smile—no, grin—as he remembered how Sinclaire fought against the church and Jesus’ salvation. Her son, Carlton, was the witness she needed to draw her to Christ.

“Praise the Lord, Sinclaire. What are you and the children doing tomorrow night?”

“Taking Sissy to a birthday party.”

“Hmmm.” He couldn’t mask his disappointment. “Well, I wanted to hear your voice and know you and the children are okay.” If he had the strength, Jude would drive the half hour to see them now, but Friday evening would be better.

“We are. Jude, are you okay?” She sounded concerned.

He nodded as if she could see him while his spirit screamed no.

“Do you mind if I stop by on Saturday then?”

Sinclaire sighed. “His father has visitation rights, beginning at noon.”

Jude would not be deterred. He had to see his favorite little friends, not knowing if they would be spared in God’s judgment. “How about I bring breakfast and visit before Harrison comes?”

“You know how he feels about the men at Christ For All. He thinks every brother and minister is trying to steal Carlton from him, and I’m not in the mood to go head-to-head with Harrison about insecurities and attitude.”

“I get that, but I just want to see them.”

“O-okay. See you about ten?”

“I’ll be there at 9:55.” They chuckled and ended the call.

Hours later, when Jude laid his head on his pillow, a tear fell as his heart was full of sorrow for what was yet to come.

God is righteous was his last thought before he closed his eyes.


Chapter Two

From now on, there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father… —Luke 12:52–53



On Friday morning, while Jude showered and dressed for work, he prayed for joy. The Bible said it was the source of Christians’ strength. Jude needed supernatural strength today! He and a group of church members were designated intercessors.

God revealed spiritual warfare to them that others didn’t see. They were the actual Ghostbusters, but the battle with demons wasn’t for the faint at heart. It was a matter of life or eternal damnation of one’s soul.

The Christians the Lord selected as intercessors needed to be fearless, know how to pray without ceasing, and fast for spiritual strength.  That was Jude, except this time, it seemed personal.

Aren’t all souls personal to the Believers? God asked, and Jude felt the rebuke.

Chastened, Jude repented, walked out the door, and then drove to his office, where he hoped to distract his mind for eight hours.

One more day, and he would get a glimpse of the Oliver family.

Jude didn’t have much time to spend with Sinclaire’s children before Carlton’s father, Harrison Sr., arrived, so he didn’t plan to be late. He bought breakfast crepes and mini cinnamon rolls topped with white icing and bits of pecans at Carlton, Sissy, and TJ’s favorite place. Even their mother was okay with the sugary treats ever so often.

The aroma inside the bakery triggered Jude’s stomach to grumble for the first time since Thursday morning. It was a good sign because his appetite had waned since the Lord woke him. Jude ate on autopilot for daily nourishment since his taste buds seemed numbed. He was still on spiritual alert.

Once he arrived at Sinclaire’s apartment building, Jude opted to hike the stairs to the second story rather than take the elevators. He was eager to see the family that inspired him to hope that one day God would bless him with one of his own—if God would send any more children into the world.

Jude rang the doorbell and waited, hearing the children’s excited voices. When Sinclaire opened the door, he was already smiling and in a better mood.

Sinclaire was refreshing. She was a pretty lady—fair skin, sandy brown hair, and a shape that turned heads, which was not her focus since surrendering to the Lord.

She had made lousy dating choices, resulting in three children from two men. Sissy and TJ favored Sinclaire. Carlton, not as much.

“Praise the Lord, Jude.” Sinclaire greeted him with a contagious smile. She took the bags out of his hands and stepped back.

Carlton, who would be ten by the end of the summer, was getting taller.  Jude wouldn’t be surprised if the boy reached his height of six-three in high school. “Hi, Minister Jude.”

“Hey, buddy.” Jude wrapped him in a hug and kissed the top of his head. Jude might not be his biological father, but he believed a child could never have too much attention and affection.

Clare, who was six years old and everyone called Sissy, stretched out her arms. Tyler Jr., age four, was named after his father but called TJ. Both children had the same father.  Jude heaved them up with little effort.

“Follow the food to the kitchen,” Sinclaire teased as if she had been the breakfast chef instead of serving takeout. “Wash your hands before you touch anything,” she instructed her children when Jude set them on their feet, and they raced off.

Sinclaire studied him, then lifted her chin and nodded. “You had me worried the other night. You didn’t sound right.”

“Tired.” He rolled his shoulders. “I was up…praying.” Lord, please don’t let her ask me why.

She didn’t. “That’s what us saints do, especially you, minister,” she said as she took the food out of the bags and set it on the counter.

The children returned with grins and water dripping from their fingers. Sinclaire fussed and reached for the kitchen towel. “When you wash your hands, make sure they’re dry before you leave the bathroom.”

Jude waved her off. “I got this.” He took a paper towel and squatted and dried their small hands.

Carlton pulled out the chair for his mother. Pleased by his actions, Jude nodded. As his mentor, Jude groomed him for manhood. Carlton bowed his head and blessed the food.

His younger siblings mumbled Amens and reached for the mini rolls first. Sinclaire had set glasses of milk by their plates.

The discussion was lively, and they vied for Jude’s attention. He didn’t disappoint. He wanted to make promises for summer fun now that school was out: picnics, museums, and other activities to show them how much they were loved. Jude couldn’t make plans, not knowing if God would take them away from Sinclaire…and him.

Twenty minutes later, the children were fed and returned to their rooms to play. Jude helped restore the kitchen. “Seems like I haven’t seen you in so long.”

Tilting her head, Sinclaire smiled. “I guess that means we’re missed.”

“Most definitely,” Jude said, then let it rest. He wanted to be a friend to her first, then build from that foundation. One thing Jude didn’t want was for her to think he was like the other guys who were attracted to her, only to deceive her.

Sinclaire’s eyes sparkled. “The children and I miss you too.” She turned her back to him to wipe off the table. “Have you heard the big fuss on social media about women who say they don’t want to have children for selfish reasons like keeping their money, having uninterrupted quiet time, and not subjecting their conditioned bodies to unnecessary pain for a child? Hmph. I can’t believe a lot of women agreed.”

Not knowing where the conversation was going, Jude was cautious in his questioning. “Do you feel that way? Regrets?”

“I regret my vulnerability with two men, but then I look at my children. I know I will always have them to keep me company, make me proud, and care for me when I’m old. No regrets with the gifts God gave me.”


She chuckled. “But I guess it’s true because I heard a report last night that the number of births is down to the point where medical schools are reducing admissions in that specialty,” she said with her back to him.

Jude’s heart crashed as his body froze at the news. Had the judgment started? Sinclaire chatted away with little care in the world.

She turned around. “I’m not surprised. Women are smarter. What woman wants to fall for a man who isn’t interested in her feelings but only in her bed? Twice, I fell for it. If I could go back, I would change many things about my life.” Sinclaire bowed her head in shame.

Jude stepped closer to her. He wanted to rest his hands on her shoulders to encourage her but didn’t. Jude knew his boundaries with the sisters in the church and didn’t cross them, especially with this one who had his heart, but she didn’t know it. Plus, some women didn’t like to be touched because of whatever physical abuse they had suffered in a relationship before Christ saved them. Jude respected boundaries.

“Don’t beat yourself up. We were all born in sin. Sin is in our bloodline, and Jesus’ blood on the cross was the transfusion we needed. Sin is a sickness that only Jesus can heal. You repented, so your sins are forgiven, sis.”

“Thank you for the pep talk, Jude.”

The doorbell rang, and Sinclaire sighed. “Carlton, it’s probably your dad. Are you ready?” she called.

“Yes, mom.” The boy appeared.

Jude stayed in the kitchen while she opened her door. He was glad Sinclaire never invited Harrison Wakefield inside. She confided in him that Harrison had no interest in her romantically and barely had a civil relationship after she petitioned the courts for child support.

“Be good for your dad, son,” Sinclaire told Carlton when he came to the door.

“He’s my kid. I know how to keep him in line. C’mon.” Harrison’s rough tone begged for a hit to the jaw or a beat down from the Lord. Harrison could pick his poison.

Jude didn’t like the man’s tone, but he had no right to demand anything as he continued to watch from the kitchen.

Vengeance is Mine, God whispered. Your job is to minister to sinners.

“Yes, sir,” Carlton answered in a respectful tone. The boy looked forward to his parental visits with Harrison.

“Where are you two going today?” Sinclaire asked in a friendly tone.

“I’m not sure. Maybe to the park or a baseball game.”

“Baseball? Yay.” The child hugged his mother.

“Come on, Carlton,” his father demanded impatiently.

“Love you, son,” Sinclaire said as she closed the door.

She twirled around and sighed. “Whew. Can we say extra?”

Her phone rang.  She grabbed it off the counter and answered, “Hey, Omega. What’s up?”

Jude watched as the blood seemed to drain from Sinclaire’s face with whatever Omega Addams told her.

Not only had Tally Addams helped Sinclaire get employment at the company where Omega worked, but they were also friends and church members.

Jude came to her side as Sinclaire dropped the phone and ran to the window. He picked up the phone, watching Sinclaire, who was shaking. “Praise the Lord, Omega. This is Jude.” He put the call on speakerphone. “What’s wrong?”

“God showed me a vision. Harrison has a gun and plans to kill Carlton. Sinclaire said they had just left. Do you know where they went?”

“What?” Jude held his breath, balling his fist at Harrison, hoping God would spare Carlton. This had become Jude’s worst nightmare.

“They’re gone.” Sinclaire bawled and shook her head. “I don’t. This is Harrison’s scheduled weekend, so they could go anywhere, but he mentioned a park or baseball game.”

Omega’s husband, Mitchell, added to the conversation. “Can we do an Amber Alert?”

“No. Carlton wasn’t taken.” Sinclaire’s voice shook. “Can I file an endangered child report?”

Mitchell said, “I’ll call my brother-in-law to see if there is a file on employee cars and license numbers. We can give authorities that information so they can look out for his vehicle.”

Harrison worked at Randall Addams’ company and had no idea that Randall’s sister, Omega, had befriended his ex-girlfriend Sinclaire, the mother of one of his children.

Without warning, Jude released an agonizing cry. “Lord, not Carlton. Not Carlton.” He dropped the phone and fell to his knees to pray.

Sissy and TJ came out of their rooms and patted his back.

“It’s okay, Minister Jude. Jesus will fix it,” Sissy said, unaware of the possibility that this could be God’s will not to fix it.

Sinclaire joined him on his knees with a gut-wrenching cry. Jude had no choice but to pray God’s divine will and comfort for what was coming.

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