But their biggest challenge yet comes when Denise Jones, a fan of Honey's professional work as a business consultant, begins to suspect that Honey is having an affair with a local pastor named Bell, who is rumored to be involved with a local drug ring.
As the web of deceit continues, Denise begins to suspect that Honey is involved with Pastor Bell in more ways than one. But Denise has her own problems to deal with. First, her sister tries to convince Denise to return to her family's church - the same church where the alleged crooked pastor preaches. Second, her newfound love with a man named Hilton is not going in the direction that she'd hoped it would.
Despite the troubling circumstances, Honey and Howard continue to bring the Lord's message of love and walking in the Spirit of God to the world. Will they be able teach Denise and Pastor Bell how to walk in the Spirit and in the love of God before it is too late?
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Read an Excerpt
Honey In The Rock
By Cheryl Daniels Johnson
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Cheryl Daniels Johnson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe wind roared like a hungry lion looking for its prey. One moment it was calm and the next moment a storm suddenly and boldly established itself. This was a typical summer day in Georgia. Two women moved about the inside of a mansion. Warmth was expressed throughout the rooms and love radiated throughout the home. The tour was about to end in the studio, and the owner and her guest could hear the roaring of the wind. Jessica had no doubt that this was a pop-up storm. It was fitting that her tour for the curious and avaricious Denise would end here with God's glory.
"What was that sound? Why is that chair rocking?" Denise whispered as she followed Jessica's every move. "It sounds like you left the window open."
"Maybe it's just the wind," Jessica responded.
"But the wind wasn't blowing when we entered your house, and there are no windows in this room!"
Two years earlier, Jessica had the room built as a studio without windows for lighting and privacy. The room was used for voiceovers, tapings, and training classes. The echoes gave Denise a strange feeling. Even as a child, the thought of a dark room frightened her. Denise was known for jumping on the backs of friends at any sign of danger, especially when it was dark. Denise held her purse and positioned herself as close to Jessica as she could get. Suddenly, a blurred vision of a cloud appeared and a warm sensation came over Denise. Jessica fell to her knees and immediately began to worship and praise God. Denise headed for the door and never looked back.
Jessica Holmes stayed on her knees for hours that Saturday evening, July 19, 2003. The petite, professional looking forty-five-year-old was a trainer and a consultant. Her parents had nicknamed her Honey because of her golden brown complexion and hazel eyes. She wore her hair in a short tapered style that emphasized her small, babyish face and fashionable glasses. Extremely organized and detailed, Honey managed a couple of businesses and her family.
As Honey stood up, she felt as if she had just had an out-of-body experience. She moved slowly and stood against the only chair in the room. She then retired to her bedroom for a pleasant sleep. After two hours of darkness, the lights flickered back on.
Honey dreamed of things that were yet to come. She always had those dreams after entering the presence of God. It was as if she were in another world. In the dreams, she would appear before people crying out for help. The faces were empty—no eyes, ears, or noses. They reached out their hands and called out to her, only to disappear, leaving faceless bodies walking aimlessly in a circle. The dreams would occur daily. She often dreamt of people who she never met but would eventually enter her life—Denise Jones was one of these people. They met at a women's business seminar where Honey was the keynote speaker a few weeks after Honey's vision.
In May of 2003, Honey was rushing to the conference room of the Regency Colony Hotel in Atlanta when she bumped into Denise. It was déjà vu; the bump struck a nerve in Honey.
"Excuse me. Are you Honey Holmes? I mean Mrs. Holmes?"
"Yes, I am. And you are?"
"I'm your biggest fan, Denise Jones!"
"You're my only fan, Denise."
"I'm interested in volunteering with your organization," Denise said. "I want to be as powerful as you are in your seminars. You bring the motivation, the energy, and the power. It's so exciting!"
"I see you really enjoyed my services." Honey looked deep into Denise's eyes, sensing that she knew her, even though they had never met. She wanted to know more about this Denise. However, time didn't permit it. She was rushing to her presentation. Honey provided a number for Denise to schedule coffee and a conversation.
Denise was intrigued by Honey's style and technique; she desperately wanted to be her protégé. A petite, thirty-one-year-old paralegal, Denise was loved and respected by her family and friends. Everyone envied her during and after college—until her friends began to marry. She and one other friend were the only ones still standing as singles in a married world. Always giving and holding the hands of others in their time of need, Denise carried a tremendous amount of emptiness in her life. Finding a man was a soul-searching effort, and she needed to understand why her prayers for a husband had never been answered. Despite having a decent salary and the love of many friends and family, she was lonely and somewhat depressed.
In the middle of June, Denise met with her idol—and she hung on every one of Honey's words. How to start a successful consultant business consumed most of the conversation. Denise's admiration for Honey and her great success grew.
"Why are you so powerful?" Denise asked.
"I'm not exactly powerful. As a matter fact, all of my success comes directly from God."
"I know God can do anything. We all know that. But what is the real secret, Honey? You can share it with me. I know God can do anything, but come on. God isn't all that!"
"Denise, do you really believe that statement?" Honey was careful not to say too much about her relationship with God. It was not the time or the place. She was deliberately keeping the conversation light to gain Denise's trust. Honey didn't want to come across as spooky or crazy. Getting people to really understand and enjoy the level of love and success Honey held with God was not easy to explain. She also knew that her character and achievements were of great interest to people who desired success. Explaining God's power and anointing to a traditional Christian can be difficult without God's demonstration of power.
Denise continued to laugh and tried hard to maintain her true thoughts regarding God and faith because she wanted to be a part of Honey's world. In Denise's eyes, business and God didn't mix. This faith thing was a little bit much for a professional person.
"Tell me," Denise said, "exactly how did you become so successful in the consulting business and how can I achieve what you have?"
"You already have everything you need. Just use your God-given talent. Whatever you do—don't try to be me or anybody else."
"I don't want to be you, but I do want to learn from you and use that in my professional walk. You see, Honey, I see nothing wrong with learning from those who have already walked in your shoes."
"Let just say walk in their footsteps—not in their shoes. Their shoes may be too little or too big for those seeking to become something that they were not called to be. Use your own gift to be who God called you to be and don't be a duplicate of someone else."
"But, I don't want to make the same mistakes," Denise said. "I want to avoid any errors to get ahead in this world, and you can help me."
Honey nodded. "That is true, but only you and God know exactly what you are called to do. Now tell me, are you called to do training seminars or what? Do you know what you were put on this earth to do?"
"Of course I do!" Denise exclaimed. "I was put here to make money, live life to the utmost, and enjoy the pleasures of the world!"
"Oh really?" Honey laughed. "Denise, maybe I'll meet with you and let you work on my team as a volunteer. Then you can see exactly what I do. I personally don't know if this is for you, but time will tell."
Denise felt that she was on her way to becoming the consultant and trainer of the year—destined to make millions like Honey. Maybe even more. She always dreamed of being the best. And taking Honey's ideas and making them her own was even better than what Denise had thought it would be. She could not wait to get into Honey's camp, take her ideas, and perfect them.
As they parted, Honey promised to call Denise within a few weeks to brief her on the dates and times for volunteer training. Their next meeting would be designed to embrace Denise and establish a line of trust to bring her into the fullness of God. Honey realized that Denise was connected to her for a particular reason, but the reason had not been revealed to her. The revelation of Denise's connection was a matter of God's timing. Honey had a close relationship with God. Her extraordinary connection with God stemmed from Honey's love for studying and listening to the Word of God since the age of twelve. This continued as she matured into her thirties, including several broken and difficult relationships. Having an alcoholic father, a co-dependent mother, and numerous abusive relationships had led Honey to excessive spending and near bankruptcy when she was single. Learning to love the Lord and her fellow man in the power of the Holy Ghost had helped her overcome the difficulties she had experienced in her life.
Honey would spend large amounts of time studying the Word and fasting, often praying in tongues and asking God for interpretation of the tongues. During her daily routine, she would often talk to God and the Holy Spirit. She loved her prayer time. She also realized she could communicate with God throughout the day without spending hours in prayer. Honey's world was filled with many hours of prayer and reading God's Word because she loved it and she knew without a doubt that God loved her unconditionally. She was fashionable, intelligent, and shared a love for understanding the Bible. Honey's husband, forty-eight-year-old engineer and businessman Howard Holmes, shared her love of God.
Howard was a private and simple person who didn't speak much, but when he did, he was powerful. They were polar opposites. Honey was petite, and Howard was tall and slim. She was extremely talkative, but Howard was more reserved. Friends often referred to them as the epitome of humbleness despite their affluent lifestyle and their level of tremendous giving and business dealings.
Denise spent a lot of quality time with Honey during the spring and summer of 2003. Denise vowed however, never to speak with her again after the strange encounter during her last visit at Honey's home and Honey's inexplicable behavior. After five months, Denise received a letter in the mail. Moments earlier Denise envisioned that summer day in Honey's home when the rocking chair moved with no one in it. As she thought of that moment, she found it hard to believe that the chair could move by itself. Denise's attention was drawn back to the decorative letter with a sweet fragrance of a woman. It was an invitation to Honey's next women's conference in January.
Honey's invitation stirred Denise's interest, but she was also afraid of Honey. Denise had never heard the things that Honey shared about God and her relationship with Him. It seemed foolish, but it touched her spirit. The event at Honey's house had been too much for her, and she decided to separate herself from Honey and the other church members.
The pink and green invitation captivated Denise. The white doves symbolized purity—even though Denise could not quite understand what the card actually meant. The card was skillfully done and gave a clear message that affected Denise. It was a strange feeling, and she could not shake it. Denise placed the letter in her purse and headed to the Hair Lace Salon, the top hair spot in town. The clients preferred to call it The Lace. This was a place where women gathered for fashion hairstyles and the latest buzz concerning women on the move, which Denise considered herself to be.
The Lace had a refreshing, contemporary vogue flare with an artistic flavor, which included engraved carvings, custom blinds, decorative chairs, and coordinating pillows from the prominent designers in the area. With a chic look of pure elegance, the place was truly inviting. The stylists were fashionable and contemporary, resembling models from the runways of Paris. Drinks were often served and those who didn't drink often referred to the salon as the undercover "shot house of the new millennium." The city ordinance and liquor codes left the salon with only one option: to serve only wine and non-alcoholic beverages to customers who desired a different type of spirit in order to lift their spirit and imagination during a few rounds of gossip. The prices were expensive, but the talk was cheap and nasty to the core. Jennie Wilson held the crown for most talkative and most accurate. Spoken as a true orator, Jennie held to her namesake M & M: Motor Mouth. If you wanted to know it, she knew it. People listened to Jennie.
Jennie was six foot three. Her long legs towered over patrons as she added hair extensions. Dressed in three-inch heels, she wore the clothes of a local designer. Her hair and makeup looked as if she was ready for a photo shoot. She was slender with the build of a runway model, and the mouth of a runaway hen. On Saturday, November 1, she told the dangerous and adventurous tale of a local pastor, Larry Bell. Jennie believed that he was living a double life—one as a pastor and the other as a drug lord of a major drug ring. Denise and others listened to every detail of her words.
"Girl, my cousin said that he has been a part of this ring for years. He orders his associate pastors to carry the drugs to missionaries in Mexico and other drug-infested areas, claiming to be working for the Lord. His name is not imprinted on any of the items, but he has a secret system. Not even his family knows of his second life—a life he lived prior to joining the church. He is a true drug lord and gangster," Jennie said as she shook her head.
From a salon chair across from Jennie, one patron asked, "If he is such a gangster, then why are you talking about him? Do you not fear death?"
Another patron yelled, "I know that's right. Don't let anybody come up in here and shoot all of us for listening to you!"
Jennie smiled like a bewitched witch. "They are not going to shoot me. I'm packing and I know people. They may get all of you, but not me. Girl, it's the truth—so help me God. And he is about to tell the congregation tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" Denise yelled.
"That's right, with the feds standing right behind him. I have never been wrong before. That man, your pastor, is a drug lord. My cousin is the pastor's secretary and she's not going to lie about that. She is a Christian."
"Jennie, you're always right, but this is too much, girl." A shampoo person moved closer and hit her on the arm. "But, girl, you can create some tales. Remember the one about the pastor and the affair you claimed he was having? Uh huh!"
"Yeah, girl! You claimed you even did her hair!" Denise yelled. "It was his sister from D.C.! What's up with that, girl? You ain't no CNN, girl!"
Jennie stopped in the middle of doing a client's hair and said, "I was right, girl. That was not his sister! And he is still, let me be quiet. You people better wake up!"
Denise was placed under the hair dryer and noticed a pair of designer shoes and a matching handbag on the woman next to her. She admired the style and look of the bag and shoes and desired to know the brand. The woman stood up and walked over to Jennie and looked at her. Suddenly, Jennie fell to the floor and the customers started to scream. The woman sat in the chair next Jennie, and without attending to her, crossed her legs. Denise could only see the bottom half of the woman and her back from where she was seated. She could not see her face.
Denise could hear the woman even under the dryer. She spoke with such authority. "Pick her up if you like. She'll be fine," the woman said.
Jennie slowly got up looking dazed by the fall. "What happened? I was talking and suddenly I felt faint and fell to my face! Girl, where is that Honey?"
Denise removed her head from the dryer. My goodness. It was Honey Holmes who walked past the woman, causing her to hit the floor! Or did she? That woman is so weird!
Before Honey left, she paid the bill for Denise as God had instructed her to do and walked to her brand-new Mercedes. As she drove into the hills, she recalled God's voice. God had forewarned her that morning that there would be trouble with Pastor Bell and had given Honey direct instructions on what to do regarding the uproar and the exposure of his ministry. She was given specific instructions from God about what to reveal at an appointed time. The presence of God was upon Honey as always, but it was heavier than other times.
Excerpted from Honey In The Rock by Cheryl Daniels Johnson Copyright © 2012 by Cheryl Daniels Johnson. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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The book is a demonstration of the power that the believer possesses to bring about miracles in his or her own everyday lives. I rate this book 5 stars!!!!! A must read!
If you ever wanted to know about the power of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives, this is the book for you. Mrs. Johnson pulls from the Holy Scriptures and her personal experiences to weave a story about the authority give to us when we accept Christ as our saviour. The book is funny, gripping, and anointed. You will truly go to another level with God when you finish reading this compelling story about love and redemption.