CFBA Tour…….Don Brown’s “Thunder in the Morning Calm”

CFBA Tour…….Don Brown’s “Thunder in the Morning Calm”

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingThunder in the Morning Calm Zondervan (August 2, 2011)byDon BrownABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. After TREASON, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, was published to rave reviews in 2005, drawing comparisons to the writing style of John Grisham, Don Brown was named as co-chairman of national I LOVE TO WRITE DAY, an event recognized by the governors of nine states to promote writing throughout the nation, and especially among the nation’s schools.

Paying no homage to political correctness, Don’s writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.

Don graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.

During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lieutenant Commander ‘Gunner’ McCormick is assigned as an intelligence officer to Carrier Strike Force 10, being deployed to the Yellow Sea at the invitation of South Korea for joint exercises with the US Navy. During his pre-deployment briefing, he discovers a TOP-SECRET MEMO revealing rumors that the North Koreans may still be holding a handful of elderly Americans from the Korean War in secret prison camps.

As it happens, Gunner’s grandfather, who was a young marine officer in the Korean War, disappeared at Chosin Reservoir over 60 years ago and is still listed as MIA in North Korea. Sworn to silence about what he has read, the top-secret memo eats at him. Gunner decides to spend all his inheritance and break every military regulation in the book to finance his own three-man commando squad on a suicide mission north of the DMZ to search for clues about the fate of his grandfather.

Risking his career, his fortune, and his life, Gunner will get his answers, or he will die trying.

Don Brown is building a loyal fan base by writing what he knows best: thrillers with heart. A former Navy JAG officer and action officer in the Pentagon, Brown pens action-packed plots and finely-drawn characters that are credible and compelling. Thunder in the Morning Calm is a novel of bravery, duty, and family love that will keep readers of all ages reading straight through to the last page.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Thunder in the Morning Calm , go HERE

My Review

Gunner knew the moment he reads a top-secret memo that some older American’s MIA’s could still be held in Korea prison camp, that he was going to find his grandfather, or do everything in his power to do so. He takes leave from his position as Lieutenant Commander, finds a team of 2 more retired service men and plans his trip to Korea.

This is my first book by Don Brown and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is so fast-paced, full of action, suspense and tension that you will not be able to but it down! I just wanted Gunner to find his grandfather, especially for the sake of Gunner’s mom. And I have heard and read about these kinds of prison camps, I was shocked at the way these men were treated, and had been treated for 60 or so years. Even though this book is fiction, reading it made me start to pray for those men who might still be held in camps such as this. Even though we don’t know for sure, it could be happening.

I would encourage anyone to read this book, it will make you think a lot more about the men and women that put their lives on the line fighting for our freedom!

This book was provided by Bethany House through Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I was not required or expected to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

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2 Book Reviews “Leaving” and “Learning”…..By Karen Kingsbury..

2 Book Reviews “Leaving” and “Learning”…..By Karen Kingsbury..

Leaving……by Karen Kingsbury

 

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310266289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310266280
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches

 

In Leaving, Karen Kingsbury continues the story of Bailey and Cody, taking us to Cody’s life after he leaves…… and Bailey’s trip to Broadway. She finds a Christian couple in the area to rent a room from, and tries to reach her co-workers for the Lord. But this doesn’t work too well, because they think she just had the job because of her leading part in the movie Unlocked.

Cody is taking classes and working at a pizza joint, until his teacher helps find a job as an assistant coach at a small high school in a small rural Christian area. He visits his mom in jail, trying to encourage her in her relationship with the Lord. Cody is a very likeable person because of his background and the way he now strives to live for the Lord.

I enjoyed reading this first book in Bailey’s series, with Bailey and Cody struggling to now live apart from each other. I really like Cody, he’s the bad boy turned good, and seems he is content following the Lord’s lead in his life, wanting to help others in need. However, Bailey is a different story for me. Her character is just too perfect! There are just no young ladies, or young men for that matter that is perfect in everything they do, go for the lead roles in movies or plays and get the lead part, befriends a movie star that is now almost perfect, making their relationship almost perfect. The characters of Bailey and Brandon are so flat and perfect throughout the book it was kind of sickening to read. I think having a few flaws would make a more interesting story, because life is full of flaws, no matter who you are.

It was nice to read about Ashley and Landon again, and the difficulties with Landon’s health issues did make the story more interesting. Not that I want anything to happen to Landon. He’s one of my favorites.

On to book two in the series for me, and will let you know how that ends.

Leaving is a book I purchased myself for my stash of books.

Purchase Learning at Amazon       And The Publisher

 

Learning….by Karen Kingsbury

Paperback: 352 pages

  • Publisher: Zondervan (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310276330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310276333
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches

 

 

In Learning, I was glad to see Bailey finally have a few flaws in her life. She learns that life isn’t so grand and perfect after all. And there is a lot more work to the Broadway job that she ever thought possible. But she still seems like a child that has been so protected in life that she has no idea what really happens in the world. She was certainly exposed though learning some things about her co-workers. She didn’t stay down on life very long though, because Brandon comes along and sweeps her away, giving her things that she probably never dreamed of with his wealth. The things he did were really almost too good to be true.

And Brandon, I guess I don’t really understand his character, he goes from being a leading Hollywood actor, and doing all of the things unsaved guys do with their wealth and fame, to being the almost perfect guy in everything. I know when the Lord saves you, He changes you, but usually it doesn’t happen overnight, and there are struggles to go through. But this character seemed to zap from one extreme to the other.

While Bailey was having her problems, it was Cody’s moment to shine. I love Cody! His character shows the true struggles of a Christian, especially one that comes from a life like Cody lived. I love that even through his every day struggles, he still depends on God to help him. He’s not looking for a spotlight position in life he just wants to help people in need, just as he was helped.

I look forward to reading the ending of Cody and Bailey’s story in the next two books.  Though it doesn’t sound like it in my reviews here, I really love Karen Kingsbury’s books. In fact, I have them all. I just didn’t care for the perfection in the two characters. I’m looking forward to Karen’s next series.

Learning was provided by the publisher, Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Purchase Leaving at Amazon    and  The Publisher

 

Karen Kingsbury

New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational novelist, with more than 15 million books in print. Her Life-Changing Fiction™ has produced multiple bestsellers, including Leaving, Take One, Between Sundays, Even Now, One Tuesday Morning, Beyond Tuesday Morning, and Ever After, which was named the 2007 Christian Book of the Year. An award-winning author and newly published songwriter, Karen has several movies optioned for production, and her novel Like Dandelion Dust was made into a major motion picture and is now available on DVD. Karen is also a nationally known speaker with several women’s groups. She lives in Washington with her husband, Don, their daughter and five sons. SPANISH BIO: Karen Kingsbury es autora de mas de treinta títulos, incluyendo algunos EXITOS de venta, uno de los cuales se uso para la película de la semana de CBS. Es una de las atoras favoritas de novelas inspiradoras.Se han impreso mas de dos millones de ejemplares de sus libros. Kingsbury reside en el estado de Washington con Don, su esposo, y sus seis hijos, tres de los cuales los adotatron en Haití.

Author Website:
http://www.karenkingsbury.com

Write to Zondervan authors or their estates in care of Zondervan. Your mail will be forwarded as soon as possible, but please note that the author might not be able to respond personally. Email zauthor@zondervan.com or send postal mail to:
Karen Kingsbury
c/o Zondervan
ATTN: Author Care
5300 Patterson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tour Dawn of the Golden Promise

F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tour Dawn of the Golden Promise

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

 

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

BJ Hoff

 

and the book:

 

Dawn of the Golden Promise

Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

BJ Hoff’s bestselling historical novels continue to cross the boundaries of religion, language, and culture to capture a worldwide reading audience. Her books include Song of Erin and American Anthem and such popular series as The Riverhaven Years, The Mountain Song Legacy, and The Emerald Ballad. Hoff’s stories, although set in the past, are always relevant to the present. Whether her characters move about in small country towns or metropolitan areas, reside in Amish settlements or in coal company houses, she creates communities where people can form relationships, raise families, pursue their faith, and experience the mountains and valleys of life. BJ and her husband make their home in Ohio.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In the fifth and concluding volume of her bestselling The Emerald Ballad Series, BJ Hoff brings the exciting Irish-American historical drama to a climax with all the passion and power readers have come to expect from her.

The saga finds Morgan Fitzgerald adapting to life in a wheelchair as a result of an assailant’s bullet to his spine. Meanwhile, his wife, Finola, must face the dark memories and guarded secrets of her past. In New York City, policeman Michael Burke is caught in a conflict between his faith and his determination to bring a dangerous enemy to justice.

This unforgettable series began with the promise of an epic love story and an inspiring journey of faith. The finale delivers on that promise.

About This Series: BJ Hoff’s Emerald Ballad series was one of the most memorable series published in the 1990s. With combined sales of 300,000 copies, these beloved books found a place in the hearts of BJ’s many fans. Now redesigned and freshly covered the saga is available again to a new generation of readers—and BJ’s many new fans due to her highly successful Amish series, The Riverhaven Years—The Emerald Ballad series will once again find an enthusiastic audience.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736927964

ISBN-13: 978-0736927963

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Dark Terror

For hope will expire

As the terror draws nigher,

And, with it, the Shame…

James Clarence Mangan (1803–1849)

Near the coast of Portugal

Late June 1850

A little before midnight, Rook Mooney left his card game and went on deck. The starless night sky churned with low-hanging clouds, and although the wind was only beginning to blow up, Mooney knew the storm would be on them within the hour.

He hated sea storms at night, especially the ones that came up all of a sudden. The Atlantic was bad-tempered and unpredictable; she could turn vicious as a wounded witch without warning. Even the most seasoned sailor never took her for granted, and many a callow youth had been turned away from the sea forever by a particularly savage gale.

Had it not been for the brewing storm, Mooney would have been glad for the wind. Lisbon had been sultry, too warm for his liking. He was ready for Ireland’s mild skies.

Hunched over the rail, he stared into the darkness. Although they were another night closer to Ireland, his mood was nearly as black as the sky. He had thought to see Dublin long before now, but instead he had spent three months in a filthy Tangier cell for breaking an innkeeper’s skull.

The darkness deep within him rose up and began to spread. It was her fault. The Innocent. His hands tightened on the rail, his mouth twisting at the memory of her. All these months—more than a year now—and he still couldn’t get her out of his mind. She was like a fire in his brain, boiling in him, tormenting him, driving him half mad.

Nothing had gone right for him since that night at Gemma’s Place. He spent his days with a drumming headache, his nights in a fog of whiskey and fever. His temper was a powder keg, ignited by the smallest spark. Even women were no good for him now. He could scarcely bear the sight of the used, worn-out strumpets who haunted the foreign ports. They all seemed dirty after her. Her, with her ivory skin and golden hair and fine clean scent.

Like some shadowy, infernal sea siren, she seemed to call to him. He was never free of her, could find no peace from her.

His grip on the rail increased. Soon, in only a few days now, they would reach Dublin. He would go back to Gemma’s Place. This time he wouldn’t go so easy on her. This time when he was finished with her, he would put an end to her witchery. He’d snuff out her life…and be free.

All at once rain drenched him. Waves churned up like rolling dunes, pitching the ship as if it were a flimsy child’s toy. Angry and relentless, the gale whipped the deck. Salt from the sea mixed with the rain, burning Mooney’s eyes and stinging his skin as the downpour slashed his face.

He swore into the raging night, anchoring himself to the rail. He felt no terror of the storm, only a feral kind of elation, as if the wildness of the wind had stirred a dark, waiting beast somewhere in the depths of his being.

Drogheda

The small cottage in the field seemed to sway in the wind. Frank Cassidy resisted the urge to duck his head against the thunder that shook the walls and the fierce lightning that streaked outside the window.

After months of following a maze of wrong turns, Cassidy could scarcely believe that he now sat across from the one person who might finally bring his search to an end. It had been a long, frustrating quest, and up until now a futile one. But tonight, in this small, barren cottage outside the old city where Black Cromwell had unleashed his obscene rage, his hopes were rising by the moment.

Friendship had motivated him to undertake the search for Finola Fitzgerald’s past, but nothing more than the unwillingness to disappoint Morgan had kept him going. He owed his old friend a great deal—indeed, he would have done most anything the Fitzgerald had asked of him. But in recent months he had wondered more than once if this entire venture might not end in total defeat. Every road he had taken led only to failure. Every clue he had followed proved worthless.

Until now.

The possibility of finding his answers in Drogheda had first occurred to Cassidy months ago. A Dublin street musician’s vague remark about an unsolved murder in the ancient city—a tragic mystery involving a young girl—had fired his interest and sent him on his way that same week.

According to the musician, a woman named Sally Kelly and her son Peter were likely to have information about the incident. Cassidy had wasted several days in Drogheda trying to locate the pair, only to discover that they had gone north some years past.

He started on to Cavan, eventually traveling as far west as Roscommon, but found no trace, not even a hint, of the Kellys. He started back to Drogheda, discouraged and uncertain about what to do next. To his astonishment, a casual conversation with a tinker on the road revealed that a youth named Peter Kelly had taken up a small tenant farm just outside the old city only weeks before.

Now, sitting across from the lad himself, Cassidy could barely contain his excitement. Even the brief, fragmented story he had managed to glean so far told him that this time he would not leave Drogheda empty-handed.

“If only you could have talked with me mum before she passed on,” Peter Kelly was saying. “She more than likely could have told you all you want to know. There’s so much I can’t remember, don’t you see.”

Kelly was a strapping young man, with shirt sleeves rolled over muscled arms. His face was sunburned and freckled, his rusty hair crisp with tight curls.

“Still, I’d be grateful to hear what you do remember,” Cassidy told him. “Anything at all.”

Dipping one hand into the crock on the table, Kelly retrieved a small potato, still in its jacket, and began to peel it with his thumbnail. Motioning toward the crock, he indicated that Cassidy should help himself.

For a short time they sat in silence, perched on stools at the deal table eating their potatoes. The cottage was old, with but one room and a rough-hewn fireplace. Boxes pegged to the wall held crockery and plates. A straw mattress was draped with a frayed brown blanket. There were no other furnishings.

Peter Kelly had a friendly, honest face and intelligent eyes. “I don’t mind telling you what I recall,” he said, “but I fear it isn’t much. ’ Twas a good seven years ago, or more. I couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven at the time, if that.”

“And your mother was employed as cook?” prompted Cassidy.

The youth nodded. “Aye, she had been in service for Mr. Moran since I was but a wee wane. It was just the two of us. Me da had already passed on long before then.”

“Tell me about Moran,” Cassidy prompted. “Was he a wealthy man?”

Kelly took another bite of potato and shrugged. “Not wealthy and not poor,” he said. “He had an apothecary, but he also acted as a physician of sorts. His father before him left the business and the property. The land was fine, but not exceedingly large. There were some small crops and a few trees—and a lake.”

“And Moran himself? What sort of a man was he?”

Again the lad shrugged. “I recall he was an elderly gentleman. All alone, except for the daughter. His wife died in childbirth, I believe. As best I remember, he treated Mum and me fine.” He paused. “Mum said Mr. Moran doted on the daughter.”

“You mentioned the day of the shooting,” Cassidy urged. “I’d be grateful if you’d tell me about it.”

Peter Kelly licked his fingers before reaching for another potato. “I recall it was a warm day. Spring or summer it must have been, for the trees were in leaf and the sun was bright. I was in the woods when I heard all the commotion. I wasn’t supposed to go in the woods at all,” he explained, glancing up, “for Mum was always fearful of the place. But I played there every chance I got, all the same.”

Rubbing his big hands on his trouser legs, he went on. “But didn’t I go flying out of there fast enough when I heard the screaming? Took off as if the devil himself was after me, I did.”

Cassidy leaned forward, his muscles tensed. “What screaming would that have been?”

“Why, it sounded for all the world like a mountain cat in a trap! ’ Twas too far away for me to see, but I could tell the ruckus was coming from near the lake, at the far end of the property. I took off running for the house.”

He glanced at Cassidy, his expression slightly shamefaced. “I was but a lad,” he muttered. “All I could think of was to get away from the terrible screaming without me mum finding out I’d been playing in the woods again. She was a stern woman.”

“So you saw nothing at all?”

The boy shook his head, and Cassidy felt a shroud of familiar disappointment settle over him. Still, he wasn’t about to give up. “And what happened then, lad?”

“Mum hauled me into the kitchen, then went for Mr. Moran. He told us to stay put while he went to investigate.” He paused. “I saw a pistol in his hand, and I remember me mum was shaking something fierce. We heard the shots not long after Mr. Moran left the house with the gun.”

Cassidy’s interest piqued. He leaned forward. “Shots, did you say?”

Kelly nodded. “Mr. Moran was shot and killed that day.” After a moment he added, “Everyone said it was the teacher who murdered him.”

Curbing his impatience, Cassidy knotted his hands. “What teacher, Peter?”

Young Kelly scratched his head. “Why, I can’t recall his name—it’s been so long—but I do remember he was a Frenchman. Mr. Moran was determined his daughter would be educated, you see, and not in no hedge school, either. He hired the Frenchman as a tutor, and to coach her in the voice lessons. She was musical, you know.”

Cassidy’s mind raced. “This teacher—he lived with the family, did he?”

“He did. It seems to me he had a room upstairs in the house.”

“But what reason would he have had to shoot James Moran?”

Peter Kelly met Cassidy’s eyes across the table. “The story went that Mr. Moran must have been trying to save his daughter from the man’s advances, but the Frenchman got the best of him. Mr. Moran was elderly, mind, and would have been no match for the teacher.”

As Cassidy struggled to piece together what Kelly had told him, the youth went on. “I’m afraid I don’t know much else, sir. Only that Mr. Moran died from the shooting, and the daughter disappeared.”

Cassidy looked at him. “Disappeared?”

“She was never seen after that day,” said Kelly, crossing his arms over his chest. “Mum went looking for her after she found Mr. Moran dead, but there wasn’t a trace of her, not a trace. Nothing but her tin whistle, which they found lying near the lake. No, they never found her nor the Frenchman.” He drew in a long breath, adding, “Mum always said she didn’t believe they tried any too hard, either.”

Cassidy frowned. “Why would she think that?”

Peter Kelly twisted his mouth. “The police didn’t care all that much, don’t you see. The Morans weren’t important enough for them to bother with, Mum said. They didn’t know where to look, so they simply pretended to search.”

Cassidy drummed his finger on the table. “Could the girl simply have run off with the Frenchman, do you think?”

The other shook his head forcefully. “No, sir, I’m certain it was nothing of the sort. Mum was convinced the Frenchman had done something terrible to the lass, and that was why Mr. Moran went after him. But Mr. Moran, he was that frail; a younger man would outmatch him easy enough, she said. Mum was convinced until the day she died that the Frenchman murdered Mr. Moran and then ran off.”

Cassidy rubbed his chin. “But that doesn’t account for the girl,” he said, thinking aloud. “What of her?”

“It pained me mum to think so, but she always believed the Frenchman took the lass with him.”

“Abducted her, d’you mean?”

Peter nodded. “Aye, and perhaps murdered her as well.” He seemed to reminisce for a moment. “Mum never liked that Frenchman, you see. Not a bit. He gave himself airs, she said, and had a devious eye.”

Cassidy’s every instinct proclaimed that at last he had found what he was searching for, but he had been thwarted too many times not to be cautious. Getting to his feet, he untied the pouch at his waist and withdrew the small portrait Morgan had sent him some months past.

He unfolded it, then handed it to Peter Kelly. “Would this be the girl?” he asked, his pulse pounding like the thunder outside. “Would the Moran lass resemble this portrait today, do you think?”

As Kelly studied the portrait, his eyes widened. “Why, ’tis her,” he said, nodding slowly. “Sure, ’tis Miss Finola herself.”

Cassidy stared at him. “Finola?” he said, his voice cracking. “That was her name—Finola?    ”

“It was indeed,” the lad said. “And didn’t it suit her well, at that? Tall and lovely, she was, and several years older than myself. Wee lad that I was, I thought her an enchanted creature. A princess…with golden hair.”

A wave of exhilaration swept over Cassidy. He had all he could do not to shout. According to Morgan, the one thing Finola Fitzgerald had seemed to remember about her past was her given name.

“You’re quite sure, lad?” he said, his voice none too steady. “It’s been many a year since you last saw the lass, after all.”

Kelly nodded, still studying the portrait. “ ’ Tis her. Sure, and she’s a woman grown, but a face is not easily forgotten, no matter the years.”

“Now that is the truth,” agreed Cassidy, smiling at the boy.

“Is she found then, sir, after all this time?” Kelly asked, returning the portrait to Cassidy.

Still smiling, Cassidy stared at the portrait. “Aye, lad,” he said after a moment, his voice hoarse with excitement. “She is found. She is safe, and a married woman now.”

“Ah…thanks be to God!” said Peter Kelly.

“Indeed,” Cassidy echoed. “Thanks be to God.”

Nelson Hall, Dublin

For the second time in a week, Finola’s screams pierced the late night silence of the bedroom. Instantly awake, Morgan reached for her, then stopped. He had learned not to touch her until she was fully awake and had recognized him.

“Finola?” Leaning over her, he repeated her name softly. “Finola, ’tis Morgan. You’re dreaming, macushla. You are safe. Safe with me.”

Her body was rigid, her arms crossed in front of her face as if to ward off an attack. She thrashed, moaning and sobbing, her eyes still closed.

Outside, thunder rumbled in the distance and the lightning flared halfheartedly, then strengthened. As if sensing the approaching storm, Finola gave a startled cry.

Morgan continued to soothe her with his voice, speaking softly in the Irish. It was all he could do not to gather her in his arms. But when the nightmare had first begun, months ago, he had made the mistake of trying to rouse her from it. She had gone after him like a wild thing, pummeling him with her fists, scraping his face with her nails as she fought him off.

Whatever went on in that dark, secret place of the dream must be an encounter of such dread, such horror, as to temporarily seize her sanity. The Finola trapped in that nightmare world was not in the least like the gentle, soft-voiced Finola he knew as his wife. In the throes of the dream she was a woman bound, terrorized by something too hideous to be endured.

No matter how he ached to rescue her, he could do nothing…nothing but wait.

In the netherworld of the dream, Finola stood in a dark and windswept cavern.

Seized by terror, she cupped her hands over her ears to shut out the howling of the wind.

The wind. She knew it was coming for her, could hear the angry, thunderous roar, feel the trembling of the ground beneath her feet as the storm raced toward her.

Faster now…a fury of a wind, gathering speed as it came, raging and swooping down upon her like a terrible bird of prey, gathering momentum as it hurled toward her…closing in, seizing her.

Black and fierce, it seemed alive as it dragged her closer…closer into its eye, as if trying to swallow her whole. As she struggled to break free, she heard in the farthest recesses of the darkness a strange, indefinable sound, a sound of sorrow, as if all the trees in the universe were sighing their grief.

She tried to run but was held captive by the force of the wind. It pounded her, squeezing the breath from her, dragging her into a darkness so dense it filled her eyes, her mouth, her lungs…oh, dear Jesus, it was crushing her…crushing her to nothing—

Finola sat straight up in bed, as if propelled by some raw force of terror. She gasped, as always, fighting for her breath.

Soaked in perspiration, Finola stared at Morgan, her gaze filled with horror.

Still he did not touch her. “You are safe, Finola aroon. ’      Twas only a bad dream. You are here with me.”

She put a hand to her throat and opened her mouth as if to speak, but made no sound. Finally…finally, she made a small whimper, like that of a frightened animal sprung free from a trap.

At last Morgan saw a glint of recognition. Finola moaned, then sagged into his waiting arms.

Stroking her hair, Morgan held her, crooning to her as he would a frightened child. “There’s nothing to harm you, my treasure. Nothing at all.”

“Hold me…hold me…”

Tightening his arms about her still more, he began to rock her gently back and forth. “Shhh, now, macushla…everything is well. You are safe.”

He felt her shudder against him, and he went on, lulling her with his voice, stroking her hair until at last he felt her grow still. “Was it the same as before?” he asked.

Her head nodded against his chest.

He knew it might be hours before she would be able to sleep again. So great was the dream’s terror that she dreaded closing her eyes afterward. Sometimes she lay awake until dawn.

Her description of the nightmare never failed to chill Morgan. It had begun not long after their first physical union. Although he could scarcely bring himself to face the possibility, he could not help but wonder if their intimacy, though postponed, might not somehow be responsible.

At the outer fringes of his mind lurked a growing dread that by marrying her and taking her into his bed, he had somehow invoked the nightmare. He prayed it was not so, but if it continued, he would eventually have to admit his fear to Finola. They would have to speak of it.

But not yet. Not tonight. Tonight he would simply hold her until she no longer trembled, until she no longer clung to him as if he alone could banish the horror.

Unwilling to forsake the comforting warmth of Morgan’s embrace, Finola lay, unmoving. Gradually she felt her own pulse slow to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. “I’m sorry I woke you,” she whispered.

He silenced her with a finger on her lips. “There is nothing to be sorry for. Hush, now, and let me hold you.”

Something was coming. Something dark. Something cold and dark and sinister…

Thunder boomed like distant cannon, and Finola shivered. Wrapped safely in Morgan’s arms, she struggled to resist the dark weight of foreboding that threatened to smother her.

It was always like this after the nightmare, as if the black wind in the dream still hovered oppressively near, waiting to overtake her after she was fully awake. Sometimes hours passed before she could completely banish the nightmare’s terror.

Were it not for the safe wall of Morgan’s presence to soothe and shield her, she thought she might go mad in the aftermath of the horror. But always he was there, his sturdy arms and quiet voice her stronghold of protection. Her haven.

“Better now, macushla   ?” he murmured against her hair.

Finola nodded, and he gently eased her back against the pillows, settling her snugly beside him, her head on his shoulder.

“Try to sleep,” he said, brushing a kiss over the top of her head. “Nothing will hurt you this night. Nothing will ever hurt you again, I promise you.”

Finola closed her eyes and forced herself to lie still. She knew Morgan would not allow himself to sleep until she did, so after a few moments she pretended to drift off; in a short while, she heard his breathing grow even and shallow.

After he fell asleep, she lay staring at the window, trying not to jump when lightning streaked and sliced the night. She hugged her arms to herself as the thunder groaned. In the shelter of Morgan’s embrace, it was almost possible to believe that he was right, that nothing would hurt her ever again. She knew that with the first light of the morning, the nightmare would seem far distant, almost as if it had never happened.

But just as surely, she knew night would come again, and with the night would come the dream, with its dark wind and evil hidden somewhere deep within.

After a long time, Finola began to doze. But just as she sank toward the edge of unconsciousness, the wind shrieked. Like the sudden convulsion of a wren’s wings, panic shook her and she jolted awake.

Feeling irrationally exposed and vulnerable, she listened to the storm play out its fury. Thunder hammered with such force that the great house seemed to shudder and groan, while the wind went howling as if demanding entrance.

Again she closed her eyes, this time to pray.

My Review

Dawn of a Golden Promise by B. J. Hoff

I didn’t read the first four books in this series, and I would have enjoyed reading them altogether more, but I did thoroughly enjoy this one. The characters went through difficult situations, including abuse, and it was hard for me to read without crying! I appreciated the strong Biblical content throughout the book, I enjoy reading books that quote scripture and honor God in that way. And as one lesson in this book, God does forgive when we look to Him for forgiveness!

I rec’d this book from the publisher Harvest House through F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tours. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

FIRST WildCard Tour….Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know….by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

FIRST WildCard Tour…Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know….by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Erwin and Rebecca Lutzer

and the book:

Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor of The Moody Church since 1980, is an award-winning author of more than 20 books including Walking with God. He’s a celebrated international conference speaker and the featured speaker on three radio programs that are heard around the world. Rebecca Lutzer has used her gifts of hospitality, mercy, and teaching to minister to many women. She is an RN and enjoyed working as a surgical nurse for several years. They coauthored a book on the women in the life of Jesus and how He changed their worlds titled Jesus, Lover of a Woman’s Soul. They have been married for 35 years, live in the Chicago area, and are the parents of three married children.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of the Moody Church, and his wife, Rebecca, encourage readers to reap the blessings of memorizing Scripture in this gathering of relevant verses, 35 topics, insightful explanations, and engaging questions. This foundation of wisdom inspires readers to experience God’s Word in powerful ways.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736939520

ISBN-13: 978-0736939522

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

 

Adversity

Psalm 46:1—God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

1 Peter 1:6-7—In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

When we think back to the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed nearly 200,000 people, many images come to mind, but one image that stands out well above the others is that of a young mother being interviewed on television as she held a baby in her arms.

“I lost my son…he died in the rubble.”

“Did you get to bury him?”

“No, no chance; his body was crushed in the rubble; I just had to throw him away.”

Just then the camera zeroed in on her backpack as she prepared to board a bus. Stuffed in a side pocket was a Bible. As she boarded the bus she could be heard, speaking to no one in particular, saying, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…” Her voice trailed off as she disappeared from view.

When the report was over we just kept staring at the television for a while, pushing back tears and letting what we’d just seen sink into our souls. A dead child with no chance to plan a funeral and pay respects to her precious little one, a baby in her arms, and she was boarding a bus that was going she knew not where. Yet she still expressed belief; she still trusted that God is her refuge and strength.

Faith in adversity!

This mother—God bless her—began quoting Psalm 46, which was written as a praise song after God spared the city of Jerusalem from an invasion by Assyrians who were threatening to annihilate the inhabitants. In the midst of a harrowing escape, the Israelites found God to be an unshakable pillar.

God is our refuge. A refuge is a safe place you can run to for shelter when life’s storms are swirling around you. No wonder this dear mother found solace in this psalm, which continues, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (verses 2-3).

Yes, the mountains did give way and fall into the heart of the sea, but God is unaffected by the fluctuation on events of earth; He is always there, solid, unmoved. When the mountains are shaking and the ground beneath you is quaking, run to God, and He will meet you. Yes, even when our world falls apart in the aftermath of a horrendous natural disaster, God is unchanging and remains with us.

In the midst of the devastation, God is our source of supply. The psalm continues, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells” (verse 4). Most likely that refers to a tunnel that had been built some time earlier to bring water into the city in case it was ever besieged. The people of Jerusalem saw this provision as God giving them specific help at their time of their need.

Then the psalm gives us a command: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (verse 10). Let us cease striving and let God be God. Even in adversity He is there; or perhaps we should say especially in adversity He is there!

Adversity should not drive us away from God; rather, it should drive us into His arms. He is there for the grieving mother, and for the family that has experienced indescribable loss. The psalm ends, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (verse 11).

God wants to be believed. And our faith is more precious to Him than gold, which perishes. When we continue to trust Him even when there appears to be no reason to do so—and we go on believing God’s bare Word, our faith will “result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).

Reverend Henry F. Lyte was a pastor in Scotland who battled tuberculosis most of his life. On his final Sunday, September 4, 1847, amid many tears the congregation sang a song he himself had composed, “Abide with Me.” It spoke of the unchanging God in an ever-changing world:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see;

O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

The young mother in Haiti—who was clutching an undernourished baby in her arms and had no time to mourn the tragic death of her son—found solace in the God who was still beside her when the earth gave way. “God is our refuge and strength,” she said amid her grief and uncertainty of the future.

In times of adversity, our faith can hold fast. And God is both honored and pleased.

Taking God’s Word to Heart

Reflect on the account of the Haitian mother who tragically lost her son. How has Psalm 46 been a source of strength for you during adversity? What other Scripture passages do you turn to for help in difficult times?

What does it mean to you that God is your refuge? In life’s journey, why is God’s unchangeable nature a source of strength for us?

Recall an instance when God provided timely help for a specific need. What did that experience teach or confirm for you about God’s character?

What are some ways God has used adversity to shape your life?

Why is God honored and pleased when we exercise faith in times of adversity?

My Review

Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know
By Erwin and Rebecca Lutzer

This is a wonderful book of Bible Verses with 2 or 3 pages explaining the verses, plus several study questions at the end of each chapter. The verses in this book deal with issues we all face every day or topics we want to learn more about Some of these are anxiety, forgiveness, grief, hope, loss, love, assurance, character and many, many more.  This book can be used as a Bible Study, Devotional, or just a book to read. However you choose to use it, you will be amazed at the wealth of information in this book.

I recommend this book to everyone. You can’t go wrong having a copy of this book on hand.

Thank you to the publisher Harvest House for providing me a copy of this book through F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tours. I was not expected or required to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine alone.

Sweet Baklava……by Debby Mayne

Sweet Baklava……by Debby Mayne ….Abingdon Press

Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 03/2011
Binding: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781426708701
Retail Price: $13.99
Author: Debby Mayne

 

Book Blurb
After years of looking for a place to belong, Paula Andrews finally finds her niche in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Her soap and candle shop flourishes, and her friendship with the Papadopoulos family gives her the love and support she never got from her own family.

The only thing missing is a romance—or in the grand hopes of the Papadopoulos family, a proper marriage. Preferably with Nick, their favorite son, currently serving in the Air Force. Paula, however, has doubts. After all, he’s been gone a long time and loves flying. Their lives have grown apart. Would he still feel anything for her?

When Nick comes home on leave, sparks fly, and not just with Paula. Nick’s father wants him home, helping with the family sponge-diving business. His mother wants him back in the family, back in church. Nick just wants Paula . . . and the Air Force.

So who’s going to give in first? And what will it mean for their love and future?

My Review

Sweet Baklava……by Debby Mayne

Paula Andrews owns a Soap and Candle Shop in Tarpon Springs Florida. After moving around all of her life with her mother, she has finally found a place to belong and her shop is booming with business, especially after she started selling her products on the internet.

Nick Papadopoulos will be home soon from the Air Force and he knows his father will pressure him to change his mind about re-enlisting and joining the family business. The decision might be easier if he knew how Paula felt about him. Maybe he would find that answer when he arrived home.

First of all, I don’t think this book no where near is as bad as the reviews that’s it has gotten. I enjoyed the story actually. I liked the idea of Nick and Paula’s relationship heating up after so many years, and that they come from completely different backgrounds. And I love Nick’s family and the close relationship they have, it reminds me of my own family. I did get frustrated a bit about the ins and outs of the relationship through the entire book, and then at the end, boom, it just happens all of a sudden. But Overall Sweet Baklava was a good summer read with a wonderful family to get to know and a sweet couple that finally found their way back to each other. I encourage you to grab a copy of this book and read it, and see what you think!

I received this book free from Abingdon Press to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55

Debby Mayne

Debby Mayne has published more than 25 books and novellas, 400 short stories and articles, and devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor for Long Ridge Writers Group, and a copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers. She has had novellas in three anthologies that made the CBA bestseller list. Her novel, Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars from Romantic Times Magazine, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July. She and her husband Wally have two grown daughters, Alison and Lauren, a son-in-law Jason, and a granddaughter named Emma. To learn more about Debby visit www.debbymayne.com.

 

Purchase at Amazon

Melody Carlson’s “Homeward” ebook now $2.99

Hey folks, a few weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to read and reviewed Melody Carlson’s ebook “Homeward.”  This RITA award winner from Melody is a Must Read!
If you haven’t read any of Melody’s books, this is a great chance to read one cheap! The ebook version is now on sale for $2.99.

You can purchase it on Kindle HERE     And on Nook HERE

See my review of “Homeward” HERE

Revell Blog Tour….Blue Skies Tomorrow….By Sarah Sundin

Revell Blog Tour….Blue Skies Tomorrow….By Sarah Sundin

ISBN: 978-0-8007-3423-7
ISBN-10: 0-8007-3423-8
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
Number of pages: 448
Publisher Revell
Publication Date: Aug. 11
Formats: Paperback

 

BOOK BLURB
In a time of peril, can they find the courage to confront their fears and embrace a love that lasts?

When her husband becomes a casualty of the war in the Pacific, Helen Carlisle throws herself into volunteering for the war effort to conceal her feelings. But keeping up appearances as the grieving widow of a hometown hero is taking its toll. Soon something is going to give.

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit. His stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life–and a convenient excuse to ignore his deepest fear. When the beautiful Helen catches his eye and captures his heart, he is determined to win her hand.

But when Ray and Helen are called upon to step out in faith and put their reputations and their lives on the line, can they meet the challenges that face them? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with drama, daring, and all the romance of the WWII era, Blue Skies Tomorrow is the captivating final book in the popular Wings of Glory series.

My Review

Helen Carlisle is now a widow, after her husband was killed in the military. But she wasn’t the grieving widow everyone thought she was. In fact, she was glad her husband was gone, because of his abuse, which no one would ever believe. That is until Ray came upon the scene, and he figured it out, to which Helen denied that anything bad happened between she and Jim. No one could find out about the abuse, because Jim was so nice and sweet around everyone else, not one would believe Helen. She was just a cripple after all, and the way she stumbled around caused all of her accidents, so Jim told everyone.

This is my first book by Sarah Sundin, I haven’t read the other books in this series, but I still enjoyed this one! I like that the author deals with spousal abuse in this book, something that truly needs to be dealt with. And just like in the book, the abuser blames the one he’s abusing. Helen was blessed that Ray found out, but then he left her for a while, not helping. And it was a double blessing when she found a way to leave her in-laws house and the abuse from Jim’s father. I hope anyone reading this book that is dealing with an abusive situation will realize that there is help, and go find it!

I also liked Ray and Helen. Ray was so gracious and kind, wanting to help Helen, even if she didn’t want his help at first. He loved the Lord, which was evident in the way he lived. Helen was so sweet, and she wanted to raise her son the right way, not abusing the women in his life. Her self confidence was trampled on more than once by jerks that call themselves men. But I am glad there was a happy ending, and Helen was able to have a happy life, away from abuse and critical, hateful things said about her handicap condition.

This book was provided by Revell Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

About the Author….Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin is the author of A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Purchase at Amazon……

FIRST WildCard Tour…….Sifted…… by Rick Lawrence

FIRST WildCard Tour…….Sifted…… by Rick Lawrence
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Rick Lawrence

and the book:

Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand

David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rick Lawrence has been editor of GROUP Magazine, the world’s most widely read resource for Christian youth leaders, for 23 years and is the co-leader of The Simply Youth Ministry Conference. In his role as “Youth Ministry Champion” at Group Publishing, he leads the organization’s expeditionary efforts to challenge, encourage, and equip youth pastors. Lawrence has authored hundreds of magazine articles and is the author, co-author, or editor of 31 books, including JCQ’s: 150 Jesus-Centered Discussion Questions, Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry, and the adult/teenager small-group curricula Make Their Day and Ten Tough Things. He’s a consultant to national research organizations and a frequent conference and workshop speaker. Lawrence and his wife, Beverly Rose, live with their two daughters in Denver, CO.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Worn down by the troubles in your life? Overwhelmed by piled-up problems? Worried about others who are hurting? In his book, Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand, Rick Lawrence offers fresh biblical perspective on pain, based on a single Scripture snapshot: Luke 22:31-32.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1434700747

ISBN-13: 978-1434700742

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

 

Introduction

“Show me a hero and I’ll show you a tragedy.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

For my birthday one year my wife gave me a book about Sir Ernest Shackleton, the legendary explorer who in 1914 attempted to be the first to circumnavigate Antarctica from sea to sea, only to endure epic hardships after his ship (prophetically named the Endurance) got stuck in pack ice.1 For most of the ensuing year the Endurance slowly morphed from a seagoing icebreaker to a ghostly frozen outpost, with its rigging sheathed in ice and its desperate crew counting on the spring thaw to set them free again. But instead the thaw sent hulking blocks of bluish ice crashing into the ship’s thick hull. And after a month spent bracing themselves against the pummeling, the twenty-seven men of the Endurance abandoned ship, camping on the pack ice as the sea’s frozen incisors slowly chewed and swallowed its timbers. The last to slip below the surface was the mast, a barren tree on the frozen expanse. And in the eerie aftermath Shackleton’s men knew that catastrophe was about to accelerate into tragedy. They were almost a thousand miles from help, with dwindling provisions, subzero weather, no means of communication, grinding ice behind them, and treacherous waters in front of them. And no Endurance.

One thing they had going for them—some historians would say the only thing they had going for them—was the remarkable will of Ernest Shackleton, a man whose capacity for hope seems borrowed from heroic fiction. By the following summer he had willed the entire party—every last man who’d been on that ship—safely home. They had to eat their beloved sled dogs to survive. They had to fit up salvaged lifeboats for a harrowing five-day journey over open water to the temporary safety of Elephant Island. They had to fashion a makeshift sail for Shackleton and five of his men, then point the largest of their lifeboats toward a distant whaling station on South Georgia Island, across the widow-making Southern Ocean. Along the way they had to survive twenty-foot swells that often engulfed their twenty-two-foot boat, a kind of sleepless dementia that reduced some of the men to a catatonic fetal position, frostbitten fingers encased in ice and frozen to the oars, and navigational challenges akin to sinking a basket from the upper deck (historians call it the single greatest feat of open-boat navigating ever). Once the men were in sight of South Georgia’s craggy shores, hurricane-force winds threatened to smash the boat on outlying rock formations. Finally, the half-dead men hauled their little boat onto the shore of a tiny rock cove. And then Shackleton and two of his men had to cross the width of the island’s forbidding, unmapped, mountainous interior in one thirty-six-hour all-or-nothing death march to the whaling station on the leeward side of the island.

The men, determined apparitions, stumbled out of the frozen mist of the mountains and shuffled into the Stromness station, where the shocked workers at first insisted their story couldn’t be true. From that moment, Shackleton’s name was legend.

Apsley Cherry-Garrar, writing about his experiences with the great Antarctic explorer Robert Scott in his book, The Worst Journey in the World, says: “For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organization, give me Scott; for a Winter Journey, Wilson; for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen: and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time.”2

Now, that’s some kind of a man.

It’s an understatement to say Shackleton’s story captured me— the effect was more like addiction. I took the book with me on a four-day vacation, and every morning I’d get up at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. and eat through its pages like a starving man. Shackleton’s courage romanced me—his capacity for swallowing pain and then persevering mesmerized me. It was hard to resist the lure to worship him as if he were a kind of god.

But the final scenes in Shackleton’s life are unbearably and heartbreakingly human.

Away from the heroic challenges of his Antarctic explorations, he was ill equipped for the normal life of a husband and father. He grew restless for the financial security that had eluded him all his life, so he launched many wrongheaded and failed business ventures, ultimately descending into alcoholism and dying of a heart attack more than $1 million in debt.

The story’s end bashes hard against the soul.

How is it possible that the same kind of everyday frustrations and failures common to you and me should cut the legs out from under a man of this magnitude? How could he survive the harshest conditions on earth but crumple under the weight of his mortgage?

The thought of a transcendent figure like Shackleton disintegrating because of the assaults of his day-to-day disillusionments fueled a kind of outrage in me. I turned the last page then snapped the book shut to punctuate my frustration and dissonance. If the drip drip-drip of our everyday pains, those familiar discouragements and imploded hopes, can eat away the soul of a giant, then what chance do we relative midgets have? Titanic resolve compressed Shackleton’s soul into granite; then a thousand tiny pains consumed it, like rock eating termites.

Later that year I read about a similar dismantling at work in the story of Meriwether Lewis, the incomparable leader of the greatest expedition in North American history.3 He, like Shackleton, led a handpicked group of brave men in one of the most improbable feats of survival ever recorded, returning from his explorations of the western frontier with every last man (save for one who died of an unknown illness) safely home. But forced to merge back into the flow of normal life, Lewis tried and failed to handle its challenges, slowly disintegrating into a shell of his former self and ultimately committing suicide.

In my soul something dark and dreadful grows. How am I to beat back the rock-eating termites when they swarm? In A Long Obedience in the Same Direction Eugene Peterson writes: “Unpleasant things happen to us. We lose what we think we cannot live without. Pain comes to those we love, and we conclude that there is no justice. Why does God permit this? Anxiety seeps into our hearts. We have the precarious feeling of living under a Damoclean sword. When will the ax fall on me? If such a terrible thing could happen to my friend who is good, how long until I get mine?”4

The Damoclean sword (“the threat of imminent harm”) that is Shackleton’s story reminds me that it’s so often not the big things that bring us down; even we midgets somehow summon the courage to face obvious life-threatening challenges. Rather, it’s the everyday holocausts that carry the leverage to take us out—the sucker punches that buffet us when all we’re trying to do is raise our kids, work our jobs, and make sure we have perpetual access to a good four-dollar cup of coffee.

The Attack of the Termites

In an email response to a close friend who’d written to encourage us, my wife chronicled our own infestation of termites after a church leader blindsided us with a painful accusation, leaving us feeling

pummeled and crushed:

Life has simply been overwhelming for me. I

received your emails after a very trying and exhausting

time. I haven’t had the energy to respond. Your

words were nourishing for my soul. Actually, it was

hard to really take them in. I wanted to dismiss

them in light of what recently happened to Rick

and me. On top of [the accusation], in the last ten

days:

• Both of our cars have needed expensive

repairs—Rick’s just suddenly stopped

on the street and could have led to a

catastrophic accident if it had been on

the highway where he does most of his

driving.

• We have mounting financial pressures

from my extraordinary medical care, and

we’re scrambling to find ways to address

them.

• Emma broke two bones in her wrist the

night before we were to leave for Seattle for

a friend’s wedding—we spent the night in

the emergency room with her, wondering

if we should simply cancel the trip.

• A copper water pipe broke in our crawl

space, pouring water into our basement

area an hour before we were to leave for

the airport.

• I reached a tipping point in my parenting

challenges, and we went to meet with a

family therapist this week to deal with our

issues.

• Our garage door broke, leaving us stranded

in our house an hour before Rick was to go

and teach a new class at church.

• I started on an antidepressant drug because

things just became too overwhelming for

me.

No, there are no capital-T tragedies on this list—they are simply the vanguard of the army of rock-eating termites. And, as you might suspect from your own termite infestations, a little over a month after my wife wrote this note we’d already fumigated most of them.…

• We’d met face-to-face with the person who’d

accused us and had started down the path toward

reconciliation.

• We’d somehow found a way to fix both cars.

• We’d refinanced our house to put ourselves in a

better financial situation.

• My six-year-old daughter, Emma, was out of her

cast and somersaulting around the house again.

• We’d met twice with a family counselor, and our

home environment was much more peaceful and

kind.

• A plumber fixed our water pipe while we were

away in Seattle.

• The garage door is as good as new.

• The mild antidepressant Bev took helped stabilize

a downward spiral of emotions.

No one died. No one was abducted by aliens or Richard Simmons. No one gave up or gave in. But for a long while we wondered how much we could handle before the walls crumbled around us, as Aragorn and his warrior companions must have felt defending the gates of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. So we survived the swarm … again. And the wizard Gandalf thunders down the mountain with his army of horsemen to save the fighters at Helm’s Deep—a day-late rescue that smells a lot like most of our own rescues.5 But what’s left of our ramparts after the assault? Smashed walls. The dead. The traumatized survivors. I’ve always heard that “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”—well, it might also be true that “whatever doesn’t kill you maims you.” We walk with limps, but we hide them well behind our stiff upper lips.

Max Lucado writes: “Many live their lives in the shadows. Many never return. Some dismiss…. ‘Well, everybody has a little slip now and then.’ Some deny…. ‘These aren’t bruises. These aren’t cuts. I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been. Me and Jesus? We are tight.’ Some distort…. ‘I’m not to blame. It’s his fault. It’s society’s responsibility…. Don’t point the finger at me.’ When we fall, we can dismiss it. We can deny it. We can distort it. Or we can deal with it.”6

We know this truth about following Christ: Pain abounds, but grace abounds more. But is this alchemy mutually dependent? Has God decreed that we gorge on one to taste the other? And why is it such a certainty that pain abounds?

One of my favorite songs is Tonio K.’s “You Will Go Free”—the first stanza perfectly sums up what C. S. Lewis called “the problem of pain”:

You’ve been a prisoner …

Been a prisoner all your life

Held captive in an alien world

Where they hold your need for love to your throat like a knife

And they make you jump

And they make you do tricks

They take what started off such an innocent heart

And they break it and break it and break it

Until it almost can’t be fixed 7

Pain breaks and breaks and breaks. It’s as if we stumbled into the middle of the gods at batting practice, our heads repeatedly mistaken for the ball. And in the devastated emotional landscape that remains after our breaking, these questions sit in the rubble:

• “Who are the ‘they’ that are ‘breaking and breaking

and breaking’ my heart?”

• “Why are ‘they’ doing this to me?”

• “Why does God feel like such a fickle ally—if

He’s supposed to be for me, why does it so often

seem that He’s against me?”

• “Where can I find relief, and what will it cost me

to get it?”

• “What can I do to stop this from happening

again, and who will show me the secret formula?”

• “How will I go on, now that I know this can and

will happen to me?”

Our False GPS

Our questions about the pummeling we experience seem scandalous— we know we’re not supposed to ask them out loud in polite company. Our job is to be good soldiers, keeping our noses to life’s grindstone

even when God seems terribly unconcerned about the rock-eating termites chewing away at us. So we stumble our way around in the dark, trusting a kind of false GPS for our souls—the fundamental belief that the universe rewards good people with a good life and punishes bad people with their just deserts. When bad things happen to good people our first reaction is disbelief and amazement—it’s a sucker punch—because “it doesn’t make sense.” Right? Our GPS is no help here. And even though we wouldn’t phrase it just this way, we treat the universe of non-good people as if it were as tiny as a mustard seed—Hitler, for sure, and Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and Pol Pot and child sexual abusers and the DMV in general. But pretty much all the people we know consider themselves “good” and therefore fundamentally undeserving of the beating they’re taking from the pain actually meant for the tiny secret society of “bad people.”

Peterson writes:

We have been told the lie ever since we can

remember: human beings are basically nice and

good. Everyone is born equal and innocent and

self-sufficient. The world is a pleasant, harmless

place. We are born free. If we are in chains now, it

is someone’s fault, and we can correct it with just a

little more intelligence or effort or time.

How we can keep on believing this after so

many centuries of evidence to the contrary is

difficult to comprehend, but nothing we do and

nothing anyone else does to us seems to disenchant

us from the spell of the lie. We keep expecting

things to get better somehow. And when they

don’t, we whine like spoiled children who don’t

get their way.8

Several years ago I surveyed almost ten thousand Christian teenagers and adults serving together in a summer outreach program and asked them this question: “Can a good person earn eternal salvation through good deeds?”9 One out of five Christian adults answered yes, and twice that percentage of teenagers agreed. And, I have to say, I think these were just the honest ones. After decades spent asking

Christian people questions like this one and comparing their answers to how they—and I—actually live, I’m positive that most of those who answered with the theologically correct no are functionally living

their lives in contradiction to their beliefs. I mean, we say it’s God’s goodness, not ours, that saves us. But you’ll understand your own “functional theology” when you realize how quickly you get defensive when someone hints that all is not “well with your soul” or how quickly you think ill of someone who’s going through repeated hardships.

As an elder at my church I’m on the list to receive a weekly report of all the prayer requests that have been formally submitted to us. I’ve noticed that there are a handful of people who always show up on the list, and I’ve also noticed that I must fight the temptation to agree with a subtle-but-brazen judgment that whispers in my head: “That person must be messed up.” Can you relate? If you can, we’re both in the company of Job’s friends, who were pretty sure the great man was hiding his festering sins under a legendary veneer of goodness. And they were even more sure that God had pointed a sewer pipe of catastrophic circumstances at their friend and opened wide the valve, essentially blasting away at him with the brown stuff until he admitted what had to be true—that he deserved what he was getting. In the functional theology of Job’s friends—and, as it turns out, our own—God is well qualified to work as an interrogator at Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib. He will surface what we’re hiding by torturing it out of us….

This is exactly why the book of Job is known by most but studied by few—its premise frightens and confuses us. Good thing the outcome is a fairy-tale ending, or the whole thing would be unendurable—an even less likely choice for the midweek women’s Bible study. Job’s friends, later discredited and lambasted by God, believe exactly what we believe: that no matter what we tell ourselves to the contrary, good people are rewarded in life and bad people are punished. The certainty of this equation means that Job, because of his kitchen sink full of tragedies, must assuredly be hiding some secret (and whopper) sins. His friends’ approach to counseling makes logical sense—reveal what you’ve done wrong, repent of it, and maybe God will turn off the spigot.

So some of us, following the advice of Job’s friends, respond by repeatedly begging for God’s blanket forgiveness for the vaguest of sins or by finding someone or something to blame for our catastrophes.

Many more of us respond by determining to work ever harder to be good, or by keeping our bad carefully camouflaged, or by vowing to trudge on under an ever-increasing burden of doubt and guilt—or by metaphorically jabbing our finger at God and threatening to outwit and outlast Him, as if we were the last two competitors on Survivor. In the seasons of our lives when we feel as if we can relate to Job, we often struggle with shame. It’s the shame of our failure to measure up to God’s exacting standards of goodness, the same unreasonable shame that Job’s friends “gifted” their friend with.

We Still Haven’t Found What We’re Looking For

One Saturday afternoon, I was running errands in my car and listening to National Public Radio’s award-winning show This American Life. Host Ira Glass is the medium for the life stories of average people

who’ve experienced extraordinary moments. On this day, I was captured by the story of a young woman, Trisha Sebastian, whose best friend had died suddenly from an aggressive cancer. She told Glass that

her friend was “such a good person,” and, therefore, her death was all the more a tragedy. Why, she asked, would God allow “someone like me to still be here when someone like Kelly … who spread so much good throughout the world, in her own little way … it just doesn’t make sense.” This was the reason, she told Glass, that she no longer believed in God. Soon after her friend’s death, Sebastian decided on a whim to contact a Christian football coach who’d been in the news recently. The coach had encouraged his school’s fans to root for their opponent, a team made up of kids from a juvenile detention center. Sebastian was looking for answers about her friend’s death, for a pathway back to God, and she admired what this man had done. “I’d been struggling with this grief that I feel over my friend’s death, and I thought that he would be able to counsel me and console me,” she told Glass. “And what happened instead was that he basically brought out argument after argument, like, saying that the theory of evolution is contradicted by a seventh-grader’s textbook, and—” Glass broke in to say, “Oh, I see—he was trying to argue with you about the existence of God instead of trying to comfort you.” Sebastian responded, “Yeah, I think that was it.… And that completely turned me off towards him. And now I’m left with all of these questions…. Deep down, I really want to believe again.” So Glass suggested she call the coach again, with him on the line, so that her real questions about her friend’s death could be addressed.

But instead of directly focusing on her fears and confusion, the coach tried to explain the ramifications of original sin to her. And that left the desperate, grieving woman full of angst and unanswered questions. I listened to the whole interchange and could feel my own tension mount as the coach tried to answer this disconsolate woman with an earnest lesson in apologetics. When she asked the coach to, instead, help her understand a God who would do this kind of thing, he responded: “This is the most common question that folks who are anti-God ask—this is the most common objection to God. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? You have to understand that sin entered the world through one person: Adam.

Now, if you read what the Bible says happened as a result of sin, every single person who’s ever been born was born into sin—” And at this point Sebastian interrupted him with this: “So, I’m sorry to break in, but you’re saying cancer is caused by sin?”

As earnest and good-hearted as the coach was, his explanations did nothing to bring peace to Sebastian’s soul. We, like her, just don’t understand the basic unfairness of pain. Even though we’ve prayed and read books and listened to sermons and talked to wise friends, we agree with Bono’s wail—“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

Ultimately, the “Why this pain?” question haunts us because we’re profoundly unsatisfied with the answers we get. I’m inexorably drawn to Shackleton’s story at the same time I’m haunted by it, like a moth circling a bug light at night. It’s a mystery, and the solutions our theological Sherlocks offer us don’t seem to solve it for us. They explain it, it makes sense, and it does nothing to calm our souls. That’s because the Job story hints at something that is simply unacceptable—that not only does God Himself not intervene in all of our tragedies, He’s actually a coconspirator in some of them. If our good God, like a double agent, can unpredictably join in the destructive schemes of our enemy, “how great is the darkness” (Matt. 6:23)? In the wake of his twenty-five-year old son’s death in a climbing accident, philosopher and Yale University professor Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of

heaven and earth and resurrecter of Jesus Christ. I

also believe that my son’s life was cut off in its prime.

I cannot fit these pieces together. I am at a loss. I have

read the theodices produced to justify the ways of

God to man. I find them unconvincing. To the most

agonized question I have ever asked I do not know

the answer. I do not know why God would watch

him fall. I do not know why God would watch me

wounded. I cannot even guess.11

These are not entertaining mysteries—they are mysteries that wound and pummel and empty us. We can’t help ourselves; we’re driven to extremes just as King David was in the Psalms: “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1). This is why the conspiracy embedded in Job’s story is so unnerving to us, and it would be even more so if it wasn’t relegated to the Old Testament where, we tell ourselves, the stories seem so distant and over the top that they’re really more like moralistic fairy tales than actual accounts of actual people and their actual dealings with God. So we put stories like this not on the back burner of our lives but hidden under the stove where we don’t have to really look at them … ever.

But these stories, like cockroaches, keep creeping out from under the stove—especially at night, when the lights go out. We’re reading along in the comfortable environment of the Jesus-loves-me New Testament and we ram right into a story about Him that, finally, makes it nearly impossible to avoid the scary truth. It happens at the end of the Last Supper, right before Jesus is betrayed, stripped, scourged, paraded through the streets, and nailed to a cross:

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,

saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood,

which is poured out for you. But the hand of him

who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.

The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but

woe to that man who betrays him.” They began to

question among themselves which of them it might

be who would do this.

Also a dispute arose among them as to which

of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said

to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over

them; and those who exercise authority over them

call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be

like that. Instead, the greatest among you should

be like the youngest, and the one who rules like

the one who serves. For who is greater, the one

who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not

the one who is at the table? But I am among you as

one who serves. You are those who have stood by

me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom,

just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you

may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and

sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as

wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your

faith may not fail. And when you have turned back,

strengthen your brothers.”

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with

you to prison and to death.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the

rooster crows today, you will deny three times that

you know me.” (Luke 22:20–34 NIV)

Here we are at the Last Supper, with the cross shading every interaction, and Jesus turns to Peter and reveals something that’s most certainly happening behind the scenes, right then at history’s crossroads.

He confides in Peter, like a friend who whispers in your ear what the neighbors really think of you, that Satan has asked to “sift [him] like wheat.” And, even more disturbing than this revelation, Jesus doesn’t reassure Peter that He will not allow this terrible thing to happen—instead, He tells him that He has prayed that his “faith may not fail” and “when you have turned back, [that you would] strengthen your brothers.” This “sifting” is going to happen, it’s going to happen with Jesus’ permission, and it’s going to happen for a reason.

You Will Go Free

Is it possible that God is a coconspirator in our own stories of sifting?

And if so, what is He really after in us?

And however I answer this question, can anything be worth the price of the pain I’ve experienced, or will soon?

In this story—in these three sentences uttered by Jesus to Peter— He pulls back the curtain on what’s happening, all the time, in an unseen spiritual world where the forces of darkness demand entrée into our lives. He also bares His goodness. I know this makes no sense on the face of it—our realities are too cruel and the pain too central for the shallow and offensive formulas that are pandered to us. But this is no formula—it’s a journey into the deeper recesses of the heart of God, a path well stumbled by the saints of God throughout history and in the lives of those who’ve had the biggest impact for good in our own lives.

All of the people and books and music and films you and I love the most are encrusted, like priceless jewels, with pain. Name something that captures your heart that was not formed by pain. It’s ironic, of course, that pain repels us more fundamentally than anything else in life but it produces things that are magnetic to us. Why do we live in fear of pain while, at the same time, we find ourselves drawn to its “produce” in the people and stories of our lives? And why does all great art, and why do all truly great people, seem positively marinated in pain?

The mystery of our sifting is a trek into the kind of raw intimacy God once shared with His beloved Adam and Eve—it is the brutal outworking of redemption, hope, and joy in our lives. But the journey

is no stroll—it’s an epic and terrible adventure. A treasure hunt.

And that treasure is our freedom.

Paul reminds us of the fundamentals: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1 NIV). And, it turns out, the “epic and terrible adventure” that is the story of our journey from bondage to freedom is fraught with danger and heartbreak. Danger is an essential aspect of any adventure; without danger, it’s not really an adventure. Stopping to buy a cup of coffee does not qualify as an adventure, but it might if you’re in Baghdad. Landing an airplane on a runway is usually no adventure, but it is if your runway is the Hudson River. The danger we must face down in our own adventures is the threat of the rock-eating termites—it’s the pain that eats away at us and the terrible offense of our sifting. But the point of our lives is not the pain—we are not pawns of a capricious deity or the collateral damage of an ancient metaphysical feud. We are prisoners—freedom is our only hope and sifting is its currency.

While the first stanza in Tonio K.’s song “You Will Go Free” describes the “breaking and breaking and breaking” we experience in life, his refrain is the counterpoint—it exactly describes the promise that carries us through the tunnel of our darkness:

Well, I don’t know when

And I don’t know how

I don’t know how long it’s gonna take

I don’t know how hard it will be

But I know

You will go free12

Copyright 2011 Rick Lawrence. Sifted published by David C Cook.

Publisher permission required to reproduce in any format or quantity. All rights reserved.

My Review
Sifted by Rick Lawrence
What will your troubles reveal about you?
Does life seem overwhelming for you? Does everything seem to go wrong at the same time? Has your life been ripped out from under you, and you’ve lost most everything that meant anything to you?
Well, you need the book Sifted! I have heard several people say that people are at one of 3 stages in their life. You have just come through a difficult time, you are going through difficult times at this moment, or you are heading into difficult times in the future. Which means, at some time or another, we all face troubles and trials, difficult times whether it be financial, home life, infidelity, divorce, sickness, loss of a loved one, whatever it may be, we all face these times.
Rick Lawrence has written a powerful and encouraging book about how to face difficult trials in our life. He helps us to see that even though God doesn’t cause the difficult times, He allows us to go through them, sifting the bad things from our lives, and leaving the good so that our lives might glorify Him. When people see how we handle trials, they will see who we really are.
I encourage everyone to purchase a copy of the powerful book, keep it around handy for a reference when you face things you don’t understand. I think you will find encouragement, joy and peace in what the Lord is doing through you!
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher David Cook through B&B media Group and FIRST WildCard Tours. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine alone.

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

The Rhythm of Secrets  by Patti  Lacy

Price: $14.99
ISBN:  978-0-8254-2674-2
Format: Paperback

Pages: 320
Size: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 2010
Rights: WW
Imprint: Kregel Publications


Book Description
Sheila Franklin has lived three separate lives. Now a conservative pastor’s wife in Chicago, she is skilled at hiding secrets–a talent birthed during childhood romps through the music-filled streets of New Orleans. But when the son she bore at the age of eighteen comes back looking for answers and desperate for help, her greatest secret–and greatest regret–is revealed.

Eager to right past wrongs, Sheila’s heart floods with memories of lyrical jazz music and a worn-out Bible. But when her husband learns of her shady history, Sheila is suddenly faced with an impossible decision: embrace the dream–and son–she abandoned against her will or give in to the demands of her safe but stifled life. As she struggles to reclaim both her son and her identity, Sheila soon realizes that God’s grace spans both seas and secrets and that He is all she really needs.

With dynamic writing that makes the reader feel the heartache of a teenage mother, struggle with the disillusionment of an abandoned boy, and revel in the idea of grace despite flaws, rising star Patti Lacy takes her fans on a journey they won’t want to end–and won’t soon forget.

Read Chapter One Here

About the Author……Patti Lacy

Short Biography: Patti Lacy, Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman’s Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti’s website at http://www.pattilacy.com, her blog at http://www.pattilacy.com/blog, and her Facebook daily Artbites.

 

My Review

The Rhythm of Secrets  by Patti  Lacy

For Shelia Franklin, a phone call comes that will change her life forever. She will finally get to meet him, someone from her past that she’s wanted to meet for over 20 years. Now she will have her time with him.

This book is full of secrets. Shelia has been secretly guarding her life’s long time skeleton for many years from everyone, even her husband. What would he think of her if the truth really came out? Would it destroy their marriage? Her husband’s church? As she gets ready to meet her main secret, she can’t think about anything but him. What will happen with Sheila and the secrets that she has kept so close to her heart? Will her husband understand and stand behind her, or will he let her deal with the issues herself?

This is my first book of Patti Lacy’s and I was captivated by the writer’s ability to tell a story so realistic and powerful. The way the characters are so beautifully woven together you not only see secrets and deception, heartbreaks and sadness, but you see love, forgiveness, grace and redemption through Christ in their lives throughout the story. The unique rhythm in the musical background gave the story a special smoothness, even through all of the difficulties.

Even though this book started out slow for me, it just took a while to get into it, I enjoyed reading it very much.  I would recommend this wonderful story to anyone who loves Christian fiction. It will be worth the time you spend reading it.

This book was provided by Kregel Publishers for me to read and review. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine alone.

 

Purchase this book from Amazon    or the Publisher

PUYB Tours…..Indemnity A Novel by Paula Wiseman

Indemnity

Join Paula Wiseman, author of the Contemporary Christian Fiction  Indemnity (Book Two: Covenant of Trust) (Mindstir Media), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in August 2011 on her second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Paula Wiseman

After working several years as research chemist, Paula Wiseman was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her children and follow the writer’s path. Contingency: Book One: Covenant of Trust Series, her debut novel, spent time on the Amazon.com Christian Fiction bestsellers list, and was also the #1 Hot New Release in Christian Fiction.

Indemnity Book Two: Covenant of Trust Series is her second novel.

Paula blogs on matters of life and faith at www.paulawiseman.com.  Connect with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/paula.wiseman.author and Twitter at www.twitter.com/paulawiseman.

About Indemnity

Indemnity

After years of believing Chuck’s affair is behind them, Bobbi’s marriage is tested again when Tracy Ravenna resurfaces. Tracy’s not alone, though. Jackson Charles Ravenna is the newest student in Bobbi’s first grade class and the spitting image of her husband. When Chuck decides to pursue joint custody, they discover Jack isn’t the only secret Tracy’s been hiding. As Tracy’s past begins to threaten their future with Jack, Bobbi is forced to face the unsettling truth about God’s grace. But this time, what will it cost to forgive the unforgivable?

Read the Excerpt!

Bobbi charged across the lobby, her jaw set, fire in her eyes. Before he could react, she banged his office door closed behind her. “So help me, God, if you knew about this, Chuck, I will divorce you right now!” She threw a packet of papers across the desk.
“What are you talking about? If I knew about what?”
“I asked you!” Bobbi leaned across his desk, pointing a finger at him. “I asked you specifically if she was pregnant!”
“Who? Tracy? She wasn’t.”
“Read that last name on my class list! It’s her son!”
Chuck picked up the papers without taking his eyes off his wife. He swallowed hard and adjusted his glasses, then skimmed the top sheet until he found “Jackson Charles Ravenna.” A wave of squeezing pressure hit his chest. “How do you know—?”
“Next to last page,” she snapped.
He looked away from her icy glare and carefully turned pages. This had to be a misunderstanding, a mistake of some sort. His eyes ran down the sheet looking for “Jackson Charles Ravenna.” He immediately recognized Tracy’s handwriting. Before his mind blasted in a thousand directions, he looked back up at his wife, battling to maintain calm in his voice. “Now Bobbi—”
“Don’t patronize me!” She slammed her hand down on his desk. “You look me in the eyes and tell me the truth. Did you know about this boy?”
“No.” He locked eyes with her. “I’m as shocked as you are.”
“I doubt that,” Bobbi shot back. “She hasn’t tried to contact you?”
“No.”
“Have you tried to contact her?”
He could feel heat rising under his shirt collar, and his pulse began to pound.
“Chuck, answer me,” Bobbi seethed with quiet fury.
Chuck wished she were still yelling. “When I split the firm and sent Pete to open the Kansas City office …” Her clenched jaw twitched ever so slightly. “I checked with the Missouri Bar to see if she was there.” Bobbi dropped her head and huffed. “That’s all, I swear. I’ve never, ever tried to find a phone number, an address, or anything.”
“Say it without blinking.”
“I haven’t had any contact with Tracy in seven years.”
“That’s about to change,” Bobbi smirked, and pointed at the class list. “He’s yours, isn’t he?”
“He couldn’t be. She told me she took care of everything.”
“And of course she wouldn’t lie.” Bobbi rolled her eyes at him, and jabbed a finger toward the packet. “Look at his birth date.”
“April eighteenth. So?”
“Do the math.”
Chuck’s blood ran cold as he counted backwards nine months. He looked up from the paper into his wife’s eyes, as her anger gave way to fear and uncertainty.
“Bobbi, I don’t know what to say …” He wanted to cry, yell, throw something, punch something, and then rip the papers up in little tiny pieces.
“Almost to the day, isn’t it?” she said quietly.

My Review

Indemnity A Novel by Paula Wiseman

Indemnity continues with the story of Chuck and Bobbi Molinsky. This picks up seven years later. The Molinsky’s are back together, now have another child. A daughter, which is daddy’s little girl. Bobbi is still teaching, and is shocked, to put it mildly, when she sees her new student list for the year. One of her students just happens to have the same name as the woman Chuck had the affair with seven years before, with Chuck’s first name Charles as the child’s middle name. And to make matters more upsetting for Bobbi, not only is the child’s birthday almost exactly seven years to the dates Chuck spent with this woman, he looks just like their second child Joel.

Although Chuck and Bobbi, thought they were finished with Tracy forever, and had been for seven years, that was just not to be. Chuck’s affair was back, yet again to slap him in the face. But the worse thing was, he would now have to be in touch with Tracy, see her again, because of the child that happened because of his affair. How would Bobbi deal with this? And will Chuck and Bobbi’s marriage be able to survive this additional struggle because Chuck chose to cheat on Bobbi? Well, this one is a Must read! And as you continue to follow their story, you will be surprised and may even be shocked at the turn of events that takes place.

First of all, I LOVE this series of books. You don’t have to read the first book, but it’s worth every penny you spend on it, so buy both of these books, and read them.

I was so sad for both Chuck and Bobbi about the child Chuck and Tracy had because of their affair. Bobbi had already been through enough, and it just didn’t seem fair for her to have to now deal with this. And their marriage was now doing so well, with the counseling sessions, and their little girl to remind them of their reconciliation.  And Chuck was indeed a jerk to her after finding out about Jake, even after he had promised faithfully he would never do anything again to hurt her. Bobbi still handled it so well, even though Chuck was making decisions not including her.  I wanted to just choke him and get it over with! Of course this is another reason you need to read the book! To find out what happens!

To be a new author, Contingency and Indemnity being her first two books, Paula Wiseman writes like a true professional. The characters she created are so unique to the story, all of the characters are awesome and weave so well together in the story. And the story, wow I don’t think I have ever had my emotions twisted around as I did reading and taking in every detail of Bobbi’s heartbreaking situation. It was like she was a true friend, and I wanted to do anything I could to take the pain from her. She had already been through enough, it just didn’t seem fair for this to be happening. But the amazing part of this book is that God doesn’t see things the way we do! And He knew Bobbi, and wanted to use her in a way that she never imagined. I appreciate so much the strong Biblical content Paula included in this book. It was like going through counseling myself. Anyone going through infidelity or if you know someone going through it, please, please you NEED these two books! As well as the third book coming out soon! In this series, you will see unbelievable love and forgiveness that only God can give a person. If you have a broken marriage because of infidelity, you will see that God can and will heal, if you are willing. It’s not an easy ride, but with God, all things are possible.  All I can say is….just get these books and read them!! You will not be disappointed!!

This book was provided by the author through PUYB blog tours. I was not expected to give a positive review, only an honest one. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Watch the Trailer!

Revell Blog Tour…. The Colonel’s Lady……By Laura Frantz

The Colonel’s Lady……By Laura Frantz

Imminent Danger Surrounds Fort Endeavor; Spy Leaks Secrets To Enemy

Bestselling Author Laura Frantz Delivers Emotion-Packed Historical Romance

 

To the trail-weary and frightened women, Fort Endeavor seemed unwelcoming at first, but Roxanna Rowan  knew they needed to get to safety as quickly as possible in The Colonel’s Lady (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3341-4, $14.99, 416 pages, August 2011) by bestselling author Laura Frantz. Deep within the Kentucky Territory, Fort Endeavor could provide a new life for genteel spinster Roxanna as long as she was with her father.   She had to find him in the mass of all these soldiers. But where was he?

Shortly after arriving at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, the Colonel tells Roxanna that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna accepts the Scrivener position once held by her father.  Before long, Roxanna discovers secrets that her father uncovered shortly before his death. Who could she trust with this discovery that she found in her father’s Scrivener desk? Could she trust the Colonel? Was his attraction to her real or was he hiding his own secrets including her father’s death? Roxanna needed answers that only the Colonel could provide.

 Set in 1779 The Colonel’s Lady is a powerful and emotion-packed story full of love, suspense, intrigue, faith, and forgiveness from reader favorite Laura Frantz. Her solid research and skillful writing immerse readers in the world of the early frontier while her realistic characters become intimate friends.

 

Laura Frantz credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz’s family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the late eighteenth century and settled in Madison County, where her family still resides. Frantz is the author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Courting Morrow Little and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons. More information about Laura at: http://www.laurafrantz.net

 

 

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

Endorsements
“Portrays the wild beauty of frontier life, along with its dangers and hardships, in vivid detail.” – Ann H. Gabhart, bestselling author of The Blessed, Angel Sister, and The Seeker

 “Vivid and Poetic…you’ll disappear into another place and time.”Jane Kirkpatrick, bestelling author of All Together in One Place and Flickering Light

My Review

This is my first book by Laura Frantz, and though it took me a while to get into the book, it turned out to be a wonderful read. And I am looking forward to reading more books from this author.

Roxanna Rowan makes a dangerous journey from Virginia to the Kentucky frontier to suprise her father, serving under Colonel McLinn. Upon arriving, she sadly finds out that her dad died in battle not long before her arrival. Just before his death, her father ask the Colonel to take care of his daughter Roxanna, but he has no idea he would have to face her upon returning to their fort, nor did he expect to be attracted to her. What will happen to Roxanna and Cass? Will they decide to live their lives together or will circumstances take them to situations so unforgiveable they can’t stand to look at each other?

As this wonderful historical war story unfolds, join Roxanna, Colonel McLinn and his men, Bella, Abby and all of the rest as the author takes us on a unique journey of a lifetime to experience love and hate, peace and war, betrayal, fear, mystery, brother hating a brother, and a spy thought to be a friend, with a little bit of romance thrown in for pleasure.

I enjoyed the lovely Kentucky setting of this story, and the family together of Bella, Roxanna, Olivia and Abby. I appreciate the faith of the characters spoken of throughout the book, not in a preaching way, but the grace and forgiveness of the Lord through the everyday lives of the characters.

“Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.

Purchase the great book at Amazon

 

 

FIRST WildCard tour…The Invisible King and His Kingdom….by John Eckhardt

FIRST WildCard tour…The Invisible King and His Kingdom….by John Eckhard

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

 

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

John Eckhardt

 

and the book:

 

The Invisible King and His Kingdom:

How to understand, operate in, and advance God’s will for healing, deliverance, and miracles

Charisma House (July 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Apostle John Eckhardt is overseer of Crusaders Ministries, located in Chicago, Illinois. Gifted with a strong apostolic call, he has ministered throughout the United States and overseas in more than eighty nations. He is a sought-after international conference speaker, produces a weekly television program, Perfecting the Saints; and has authored more than twenty books, including Prayers That Rout Demons, Prayers That Break Curses, and God Still Speaks. Eckhardt resides in the Chicago area with his wife, Wanda, and their five children.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The Kingdom of God Is Near

During His ministry on earth, Jesus repeatedly talked about, explained, and defined the kingdom of God. When He announced that the kingdom was at hand, it was the turning point in human history. But what did He mean? And how does it apply to our families and our communities today?

In The Invisible King and His Kingdom, John Eckhardt presents the good news about God’s promises for our world and how to obtain them. Challenging the negative worldview of many Christians, he explains the realities of the kingdom of God that is here now and gives answers to important questions such as…

What are the signs of the kingdom of God?

How do we walk in and access this kingdom?

How do we live in this kingdom?

How do we operate in the power and the authority of this kingdom?

The kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing since the days of John the Baptist, and it is still advancing today! Discover how to seize the kingdom for healing, deliverance, and faith and how to demonstrate authority over the powers of darkness.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Charisma House (July 5, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616382791

ISBN-13: 978-1616382797

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

A Kingdom Without Observation

Jesus did not submit to Israel’s desire for an earthly king. He told the Jewish leaders that His kingdom does not come with observation.

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation.”

—Luke 17:20

The Pharisees were looking for an observable kingdom. These Pharisees expected a visible, temporal kingdom. They were looking for a worldly kingdom. They could not understand the nature of the kingdom that Jesus preached. They were carnal and earthly; Jesus was spiritual and heavenly.

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The kingdom was in their midst, and they could not discern it. Healing and deliverance were signs that the kingdom had come nigh.

The reason mortal man finds it difficult to absorb this subject is because of the limited perception we have for the world of the unseen. The world of the unseen is a spiritual dimension, and we have only the five senses of human nature (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting). These senses are the physiological methods of perception. The word perception is derived from the Latin words perceptio and percipio and means “receiving, collecting; action of taking possession; apprehension with the mind or senses.”1

Jesus understood this human limitation when He walked on Earth. When Nicodemus asked Jesus to explain the kingdom of God, Jesus replied, “If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?” (John 3:12, The Message). Later, When He was speaking to the disciples about His imminent departure from them, He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23, nkjv).

When Jesus stood before Pilate after the Pharisees captured Him and Pilate asked Him if He was indeed the King of the Jews, Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be deliv- ered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36).

Jesus did not come to Earth to establish a worldly kingdom. The kingdom would not be established in a worldly way. There would be no earthly armies needed. The kingdom would be advanced through the preaching of the gospel.

There were some in Israel who believed in bringing in the kingdom of God by force. They were called zealots. They hated the

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Romans and the fact that the covenant people lived under Gentile rule. Many of them believed in taking up arms against the Romans. They believed that when the Messiah came, He would do the same. Some believed they could hasten and force the coming of Messiah through armed rebellion.

But the kingdom would not come this way.

The Kingdom of God—Earthly or Heavenly?

The kingdom of God came to Earth through the suffering and death of the Christ. Most in Israel did not understand this, even though it had been spoken of by the prophets. How could a suffering Messiah bring the kingdom? Suffering and death were pictures of defeat, not victory.

They were looking for an earthly kingdom. They did not under- stand the kingdom or the prophets. The carnal mind cannot com- prehend the things of the spirit. Earthly people understand earthly kingdoms. Earthly kingdoms are advanced through earthly means, usually warfare and bloodshed. Jesus preached about the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of God is a heavenly kingdom.

The kingdom they were looking for did not arrive. For a gen- eration after Jesus’s death and resurrection, nothing changed; the Romans were still in control. What had happened? At the end of that generation, the Romans came in force and destroyed the city and the temple. Thousands of Jews perished, and thousands more were scattered to the nations. What happened to the kingdom? What happened to the hope? There was no earthly messiah sitting on the throne in Jerusalem. Jerusalem had become a burning heap. The Romans were victors, and the Jews were defeated.

Was Jesus just another false messiah? Was He just another deceiver? Was His announcement of the kingdom a lie? Did He give false hope to Israel? There certainly was no earthly kingdom. There

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certainly was no earthly throne. There certainly was no physical deliverance.

Could they have misinterpreted the message of the kingdom? Did they misunderstand the prophecies of the prophets? Was the message of the kingdom hidden from their eyes?

This is exactly what Jesus taught; He taught that the kingdom was a mystery. It was hidden from the eyes of the disobedient and rebellious and was revealed only to the humble. Many could not see the kingdom and would not be allowed to enter into it. The kingdom would not be given to a rebellious people. It was not an earthly kingdom and would never be apprehended by earthly people. The door would be shut to them but opened to those who humbled them- selves and believed the gospel.

Entrance into the kingdom would not be determined by phys- ical birth. Physical birth was very important to the Jews. Abraham is the first person in the Bible identified as a Hebrew. Paul identified himself as a “Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Phil. 3:5). The Jews considered themselves the descendants of Abraham and therefore the elect of God. Many depended on their physical descent rather than on faith in God.

Although Abraham was called a Hebrew, he was a Hittite. There were also Gentiles in the genealogy of Christ (Rahab and Ruth, Matt.

1:5), which shows that God always honored faith. To replace faith with physical descent was pride and abominable to God. God’s choice of Israel had nothing to do with them; He chose Israel because of the covenant He made with Abraham. (See Deuteronomy 7:6–8.)

The proud would not enter the kingdom.

The rebellious would not enter the kingdom. The immoral would not enter the kingdom.

Only a remnant would enter the kingdom, and the rest would be judged.

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A Kingdom Without Observation

Worldly kingdoms are full of earthly pomp. They are defended by armies engaged in war. In Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament we read:

The charge on which Jesus was arraigned was that of laying claim to the office of a king. He here substan- tially admits that he did claim to be a king, but not in the sense in which the Jews understood it. They charged him with attempting to set up an earthly kingdom, and of exciting sedition against Caesar. In reply to this, Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world. That is, it is not of the same nature as earthly kingdoms. It was not originated for the same purpose, or conducted on the same plan. He immediately adds a circumstance in which they differ. The kingdoms of the world are defended by arms; they maintain armies and engage in wars. If the kingdom of Jesus had been of this kind, he would have excited the multitudes that followed him to prepare for battle. He would have armed the hosts that attended him to Jerusalem. He would not have been alone and unarmed in the garden of Gethsemane. But though he was a King, yet his dominion was over the heart, subduing evil passions and corrupt desires, and bringing the soul to the love of peace and unity.2

Jesus never took upon Himself any earthly power. He did not raise up an army to gain control of an earthly kingdom. Matthew Henry gives the following account of Christ’s introduction of the kingdom of God to His followers:

He never took upon him any earthly power, never were any traitorous principles or practices laid to him. Christ gave an account of the nature of his kingdom. Its nature is not worldly; it is a kingdom within men, set

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up in their hearts and consciences; its riches spiritual, its power spiritual, and it glory within. Its supports are not worldly; its weapons are spiritual; it needed not, nor used, force to maintain and advance it, nor opposed any kingdom but that of sin and Satan. Its object and design are not worldly.3

The earthly city of Jerusalem was a type of the heavenly Jerusalem. Jesus wept over the city because the people of Jerusalem missed the time of their visitation. Jesus did not establish an earthly kingdom there but instead pronounced judgment upon the city. The earthly hopes of many in Israel were dashed to pieces. Their hope of a glorious, earthly kingdom, headquartered in Jerusalem, did not come to pass.

The prophet Daniel saw the rise and fall of earthly king- doms before the arrival of God’s kingdom. He saw the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome being replaced and falling. The kingdom would come and be an everlasting kingdom that filled the earth.

You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

—Daniel 2:34–35

Notice that the stone becomes a mountain that fills the earth. The mountain is Zion, and Zion fills the earth. This is because Zion is a people and no longer a geographical location.

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The kingdom is not earthly but is cut out without hands. There were many who heard about the kingdom but did not understand it. They were looking for the earthly and could not see the heavenly. Jesus spoke of these people when He said, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside” (Matt. 13:19). They were looking for the earthly and could not see the heavenly.

It was hidden from the eyes of many in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them con- cerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among them- selves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, “Go to this people and say: ‘Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’”

—Acts 28:23–27

Heavenly Zion

The revelation of heavenly Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, is one of the most important for us to take a look at if we are going to understand

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the kingdom. God rules over heavenly Zion. We have come to the heavenly city, not the earthly (Heb. 12:22). Our citizenship is in heaven. We are born from above, from the heavenly city, by spiritual birth. This is the place of the rule of God, the place of the kingdom. God’s rule is over Zion, the heavenly people, the church.

In his commentary, Adam Clarke makes several important observations about the text of Hebrews 12:22:

[But ye are come unto mount Sion] In order to enter fully into the apostle’s meaning, we must observe,

1. That the Church, which is called here the city of

the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and mount

Sion, is represented under the notion of a city.

2. That the great assembly of believers in Christ is here opposed to the congregation of the Israelites assem- bled at Mount Sinai.

3. That the innumerable company of angels is here opposed to, those angels by whom the law was ush- ered in, Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19.

4. That the Gospel first-born, whose names are written in heaven, are here opposed to the enrolled first- born among the Israelites, Ex. 24:5; 19:22.

5. That the mediator of the new covenant, the Lord Jesus, is here opposed to Moses, the mediator of the old.

6. And that the blood of sprinkling, of Christ, our High Priest, refers to the act of Moses, Ex. 24:8: “And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.”

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A Kingdom Without Observation

[The heavenly Jerusalem] This phrase means the Church of the New Testament, as Schoettgen has amply proved in his dissertation on this subject.

[To an innumerable company of angels] To myriads, tens of thousands, of angels. These are represented as the attendants upon God, when he manifests himself in any external manner to mankind. When he gave the law at Mount Sinai, it is intimated that myriads of these holy beings attended him. “The chariots of the Lord are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels; the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place;” Ps. 68:17. And when he shall come to judge the world, he will be attended with a similar company. “Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thou- sand stood before him;” Dan. 7:10. In both these cases, as in several others, these seem to be, speaking after the manner of men, the body guard of the Almighty. Though angels make a part of the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem, yet they belong also to the church below. Christ has in some sort incorporated them with his followers, for “they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salva- tion,” and they are all ever considered as making a part of God’s subjects.4

God brought Israel out of Egypt through the wilderness into the land of Canaan. He planted them in the mountain, earthly Jerusalem, earthly Zion. This was a type of the heavenly. God now brings us into His mountain, heavenly Jerusalem, heavenly Zion. The Lord will reign forever and ever. This is the eternal kingdom, con- nected to the eternal city, heavenly Zion.

Zion is the mountain of God. The Lord’s house was established

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at the top of the mountain (Isa. 2:2). The Lord’s house, the church, is where we come to learn the ways of the Lord and be taught. It is a place of teaching. In speaking of the future house of God, Isaiah the prophet said:

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

—Isaiah 2:3

The word of the Lord comes through the church, the moun- tain of the Lord’s house. Zion is a mountain that has an ensign to which the nations gather. The nations come to be taught the ways of God. The word of the Lord came from Jerusalem. The church began in Jerusalem. The apostles taught from Jerusalem. Zion began in Jerusalem and spread throughout the earth.

Those who put their trust in the Lord inherit the holy moun- tain. Those who believe the gospel are those who put their trust in Him. We come to Zion, the mountain of God, the place of God’s rule, by faith. There were many who did not put their trust in the Lord but put their trust in the Law and in their good works. They did not trust in the grace of God and did not inherit the holy mountain.

Those who put their trust in the Lord and believed the gospel were brought by God to the holy mountain. We come to this moun- tain by faith. Zion, the mountain of God, the place of God’s rule, is also the place of prayer (Isa. 56:7). The earthly house (temple) was no longer a place of prayer but a den of thieves. God created a new house of prayer, the church. In Acts 4:24 we read, “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said:

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‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.’”

God’s rule is over Zion. Zion is a people. Zion is the dwelling place of God (Ps. 76:2). We are now God’s dwelling place through the Spirit.

Jesus is the foundation of Zion, the church, the new creation. The foundation for earthly Jerusalem was in the mountains. The foundation for heavenly Zion is in Christ.

Earthly Zion Versus Heavenly Zion

The revelation of Zion is one of the most important in the Word of God. There was an earthly Zion, and there is a heavenly Zion. The earthly was a type of the heavenly. The heavenly is greater and is the reality of which the earthly was simply a symbol. One day heavenly Zion will cover the earth with the rule and reign of our invisible King. God reigns in Zion. When His rule and reign are established over all the earth, each of the following characteristics will be a part of His kingdom in Zion:

• Glory

• Salvation

• Righteousness

• Praise and worship

• Dominion and power

• The knowledge of God

• Deliverance

• Blessing

• The prophetic

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• Elders (the apostolic) as part of the government

• The government of our King, Christ Jesus

Earthly Zion was the holy place, the place chosen by God. This was often emphasized by the psalms, because there were other holy places set up for worship that were not chosen by God. Jeroboam set up holy places in Bethel and Dan. The Samaritans worshiped in Mount Gerizim. These rival holy places were not legitimate. Zion was the only place chosen by God as His resting place.

The following factors about Zion demonstrate its importance above any illegitimate holy places:

• The Lord loves Zion more than any other place (Ps.

87:2).

• The Lord chose Zion for His habitation (Ps. 132:13).

• Zion is the joy of the whole earth (Ps. 48:2).

• Zion is the perfection of beauty from which God shines (Ps. 50:2).

• The tribe of Judah was chosen by God because He loves it (Ps. 78:68).

Earthly Zion as a type of heavenly Zion was limited to earthly

Jerusalem. Heavenly Zion will be global and will cover the earth (Ps.

47:2, 7). All the earth will worship our invisible King, the Lord God

(Ps. 66:4).

In Romans 10:18, Paul quotes from Psalm 19 in the context of the gospel, stating the prophetic words of verse 4: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” The gospel has gone out to all the earth, and people have responded with

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salvation and praise. In his commentary on Psalm 19:1–7, Matthew

Henry adds this:

The sun in the firmament is an emblem of the Sun of righteousness, the Bridegroom of the church, and the Light of the world, diffusing divine light and salvation by His gospel to the nations of the earth. He delights to bless His church, which He has espoused to Himself; and his course will be unwearied as that of the sun, till the whole earth is filled with his light and salvation.5

The kingdom of God is advanced through the preaching of the gospel. Those who hear and believe are brought to Zion, the moun- tain of God, the place of salvation, praise, worship, teaching, and glory. They come into the kingdom, the place of God’s rule, Zion. They come to the ensign, the banner of the Lord, and submit to His rule.

Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.

—Psalm 9:11

This praise will someday be worldwide and not limited to an earthly place. What happened in earthly Zion was only a type of what is now happening around the globe.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.

—Psalm 24:1

God’s ownership is not limited to a place in Palestine but is global. This is fulfilled in the church.

Zion is the stronghold of God. Zion was the city of David. It was a type of the city of the greater David, Jesus the Son of David. It is the joy of the whole earth. It is the city of the great King.

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As the people of God, we are the redeemed, a holy people who dwell in a city set on a hill that is not forsaken (Isa. 62:12). We are a city set on a hill. We are the redeemed, the holy people, a city not forsaken.

The uncircumcised cannot be a part of this city. Only the cir- cumcised and clean can be a part of this city (Is. 52:1). We are cir- cumcised with the circumcision of Christ, in the heart and not in the flesh. We can enter Zion because of this circumcision. We are cleansed through the blood of Christ and by walking in His light (1

John 1:7). The Lord rules over a holy people.

Zion is a chosen place and a chosen people. Zion is the habita- tion of God. We are chosen in Christ, and we are the habitation of God through the Spirit. God inhabits our praise.

The People of Zion

When we have accepted the redemption of Christ, we are no longer strangers but have become fellow citizens with the saints of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). We have a right to enter and abide in the city.

This is the kingdom, the eternal reign of God (Ps. 146:10). Zion is the habitation of God through all generations. Zion exists from generation to generation, just as the kingdom exists from generation to generation. The saints speak of the glory of the kingdom from generation to generation.

All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless You.

They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power,

To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

And Your dominion endures throughout all generations

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—Psalm 145:10–13

Every generation of the church praises God for His salvation and mighty acts. Like Zion and the kingdom, the church exists from generation to generation (Eph. 3:21). Isaiah 9:7 confirms: “Of the increase of His government [dominion] and peace there will be no end.”

Jesus is the Foundation of the new covenant people, Zion. We are Zion; we are the place of God’s rule. Old Testament prophecies are filled with expressions of the glories of our heavenly Zion. It is truly a glorious dwelling, and it will cause the saints to sing praises to our King continually and to declare His works to all people (Ps.

9:11).

Unlike the biblical kingdoms of Israel, or even our modern-day earthly kingdoms, the kingdom is filled with joy and peace. There will be no reason for any weeping, and the moment we cry to the Lord, He will hear and answer us (Isa. 30:19). He will put His own words in our mouths and will cover us in the shadow and protection of His own hand (Isa. 51:16).

What a transformation for the children of God. Chosen and loved by God, the Israelites were brought out of Egypt by the blood of a lamb and delivered from Pharaoh through the sea and the cloud. Though they wandered for forty long years in the wilderness, God brought them finally to the Promised Land and established Jerusalem as the city of God. But that was only a type of His marvelous future for the people of God. Just so, the people of God—Jew and Gentile alike—have been delivered out of the bondage of a spiritual Egypt by the blood of the Lamb of God. We have been cleansed by the living water of the new birth and led to our heavenly Zion by the cloud of God’s Holy Spirit. We have entered the kingdom of God—heavenly Zion on the mountain of God. This is our journey to Zion.

Many people are looking for Zion. In Jeremiah 50:5 we read,

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“They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying,

‘Come and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten.’” Can you direct them there?

A mountain is a symbol of power and strength. A mountain is an elevation, a high place. It is a place of safety, security, a place easily defended. In Zion we are protected from the enemy. Heavenly Zion cannot be invaded, conquered, or defeated. Isaiah 33:15–16 says, “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly . . . will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure.” The King Himself ensures our eternal defense.

Whoever holds the high place has power and authority. Mountains represent kingdoms, or strong, powerful governments. The mountain of Zion is symbolic of the kingdom, the powerful government of God. When you come to Zion, you come into con- tact with the authority and power of God. The kingdom is the gov- ernment of God, and the mountain is symbolic of that government. Those who come to Zion submit to the King.

Those who hate Zion cannot prosper. The enemies of the kingdom will be put to shame and turned back (Ps. 129:5). The kingdom and Zion were established in spite of the opposition of kings of the earth. Psalm 2 says that “the nations rage” and “the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed,” but “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath . . . ‘Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion’” (vv. 1–2, 4–6). The psalmist ends the Psalm with this good advice: “Now therefore, be wise, o kings . . . Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (v. 10, 12).

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The Enemies of the Kingdom

There were enemies of the earthly kingdom. David experienced much opposition on his way to the throne. David’s sufferings fore- shadowed the sufferings of Christ. The Spirit of Christ used David’s sufferings to speak prophetically through him concerning the future enemies of Christ and His kingdom. God used David’s prophetic judgments to decree judgment against the enemies of Christ. These are called imprecatory psalms. These psalms have been misunder- stand and somewhat controversial; however, they must be under- stood in a kingdom context.

The imprecatory psalms contain serious words against the enemies of the kingdom. Theopedia, an encyclopedia of biblical Christianity available online, gives the following information about the imprecatory psalms.

[The imprecatory psalms] contain curses or prayers for the punishment of the psalmist’s enemies. To impre- cate means “to invoke evil upon, or curse.” Psalms 7,

35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139 all contain prayers for God’s judgment on the psalmist’s enemies. Example imprecatory statements from the Psalms follow:

Psalm 55:15—Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave.

Psalm 56:6—O God, break the teeth in their mouths. Psalm 69:28—May they be blotted out of the book of

life and not be listed with the righteous.

Psalm 109:9—May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.

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Psalm 137:9—How blessed will be the one who seizes your infants, and dashes them against the rocks.6

Theopedia clarifies that these psalms were not a matter of per- sonal revenge. The writer did not have a personal vendetta against his enemy. Instead they were “utterances of zeal for the kingdom of God and his glory. To be sure, the attacks which provoked these prayers were not from personal enemies; rather, they were rightfully seen as attacks against God and especially his representatives in the promised line of the Messiah.”7

There was a level of wickedness in those upon whom these imprecations fell. They were the enemies of the kingdom and were used by Satan to attempt to stop the kingdom from being estab- lished. These enemies were unaware of what they were up against. They were up against prophetic utterances that had been uttered through David and others. The enemies of Christ were destroyed, and His kingdom was established.

The imprecatory psalms contain curses upon those who fought against the promised line of the Messiah, especially against David, in an attempt to abort the coming of Messiah and the kingdom.

Paul quoted Psalm 69:23 as evidence that it had been fulfilled in his day through a remnant that God had preserved. (See Romans

11:10.) In this way, the imprecations in Psalms were judgments coming against those who fought against the kingdom. They were against the wicked who had opposed the kingdom from the time of David to the coming of Christ.

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My Review

In The Invisible King and His Kingdom the author uses the verse from I Timothy 1:17…KJV – Now unto the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. When Christ was on earth, he was always talking about the Kingdom of God, but what does that mean for us today?

John Eckhart uses plenty of scripture throughout this book to describe God’s Kingdom and what it means to him and to us today. In the book, he uses scripture to show what Jesus says about Women in the Kingdom, The Keys to the Kingdom, A Vision of Life in the Kingdom, The Church and the Kingdom, The Characteristics of the Kingdom, just to name a few things.

This book is worth purchasing as a reference for you to go to when you have questions. The author answers many questions in this book, as well as quotes many scriptures, so you fill find this a good resource for your library!

This book was provided by Charisma House through F.I.R.S.T. WildCard Tours in exchange for an honest review.

FIRST Wild Card Tour….Randsome’s Quest……By Kaye Dacus

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

 

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

Kaye Dacus

 

and the book:

 

Ransome’s Quest

(The Ransome Trilogy)

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kaye Dacus, author of Ransome’s Honor has a BA in English, with a minor in history, and an MA in writing popular fiction. Her love of the Regency era started with Jane Austen. Her passion for literature and for history come together to shape her creative, well-researched, and engaging writing.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This engaging end to the Ransome Trilogy is a fast-paced tale of love, faith, and danger on the Caribbean Sea in the early 1800s. Captain William Ransome frantically searches for his kidnapped wife and sister. But who will rescue them when buried secrets emerge and challenge everything they believe?

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736927557

ISBN-13: 978-0736927550

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

It is too dangerous.”

William Ransome snapped his cutlass into its scabbard and turned to face his wife. “The longer I delay, the farther away they take Charlotte.”

Dread froze his lungs, his stomach, his heart. Charlotte. His sister. Taken. “If anything happens to her…”

Julia wrapped her arms around her abdomen and leaned against one of the heavy posts at the end of the bed. “Why the message to my father? What has he to do with Charlotte?”

William double-checked the load of his pistol and tucked it under his belt. “Your father has publicly vowed—more than once—to rid the Caribbean of pirates and privateers for good. Charlotte was likely a target of opportunity, not purpose.”

“But if the man’s argument is with my father, it should have been me taken, not Charlotte.”

William could not disagree with her. Nor could he agree, as the very idea of Julia’s being taken by pirates nearly ripped his heart from his chest. “I should have put her on that ship in Barbados returning to England. If I had followed my conscience”—instead of listening to Julia’s and Charlotte’s emotional arguments—“she would have been well out of harm’s way by now.”

They both startled at a knock on the door.

“Come.”

The door opened at his command, revealing Jeremiah. “The horses are ready, Commodore.”

“Very good.” William took up his case and hat and moved toward the door.

Julia stepped in front of him, expression imploring. “Please, William, wait until dawn. The roads are treacherous enough in the full light of day. At night…and you do not know where you are going. What good will it do Charlotte if you become lost or…or something else happens to you or the horse? Or what if the pirates have laid a trap and done this to lure you from the safety of the house?”

A mirthless laugh expanded in his throat, but he stifled it. Safety of the house? Was the house safe when the brigands had snatched Charlotte from the porch almost directly outside this very room?

“I am sending Asher with him, Miss Julia,” Jeremiah said. “He knows the roads ’twixt here and Kingston better than anyone I know.”

William tore his gaze away from Julia’s anxious face. “Jeremiah, I am depending on you to protect Mrs. Ransome and ensure no harm comes to her while I am away.”

“I will protect her with my life, sir.”

He stepped around Julia and handed his bag and hat to Jeremiah. “Thank you. I shall join you in a moment.”

As he hoped, Jeremiah understood the dismissal. He gave a slight bow and left the room, closing the door behind him.

William took Julia by the shoulders and directed her to the chaise positioned at the end of their bed. He had to apply more pressure than he liked to make her sit. “You are to stay at Tierra Dulce. You will keep an escort with you at all times. I want armed guards posted near the house.”

She nodded, never blinking or breaking eye contact. “Yes, William.”

“If you hear any word from Charlotte or receive”—his voice caught in his throat—“a ransom demand from the pirate, you will send a messenger to Fort Charles. They will get word to me.”

“Yes, William.”

Heart tearing asunder at the necessity of leaving Julia behind, he bent over and pressed his forehead to hers. “Pray for Charlotte.”

Julia’s hands slid around behind his neck, her fingers twining in his hair. She angled her head and kissed him. “I promise. I will pray for you also, my love.”

He kissed her again and then tore himself away from her embrace. “I must go. I promise I will return—and I will bring Charlotte with me.”

Determined to not look back, he made for the door. He opened it and then hesitated. Without turning around, he said the words he needed to say, just in case they were the last he ever said to his wife. “I love you.”

“I love you, William.” Though softly spoken, her words acted as the command that loosed him from his mooring. He stepped through the door and closed it, leaving her on the other side.

Ned Cochrane paced the drive below the porch steps when William exited the house. He barely spared his former first officer a glance. Intellectually, he knew Ned had done his best, having been taken by surprise and set upon by several men. However, in his heart, he wanted to rail at the younger man for failing to protect Charlotte.

Though a horse was his least favorite mode of transportation, William easily swung himself up into the saddle. Once he was settled—and Ned appeared to be also—William nodded at Asher to lead the way.

Darkness enveloped them. Behind, the light from the house acted as a siren’s call, beckoning him to turn, to look, to regret his decision to leave in the dead of night and wish he had taken Julia’s advice and waited until dawn.

His neck ached from the effort of keeping his face forward instead of giving in to temptation and taking one last look at the house, hoping to catch a final glimpse of Julia.

He focused on the bumpy motion of the animal underneath him. He must leave all thoughts of—all worries about—Julia behind, just as he now left her home behind. Jeremiah had known Julia most of her life. He had been as much of a substitute father for Julia as her father, Admiral Witherington, had been for William.

No, he could not worry about Julia and her safety. Rescuing Charlotte must be his only focus, his only thought.

The monotonous rhythm of the horses’ hooves, at a walk over the dark, deeply rutted dirt roads, along with the necessity of keeping his eyes trained on the light shirt stretched across Asher’s broad back, lulled William into a stupor.

Ahead lay his ship. The thought of boarding Alexandra and getting under sail chipped away at his anxiety. As soon as he was on the water, as soon as he stood on the quarterdeck and issued the command to weigh anchor, he would be that much closer to finding Charlotte and bringing her home.

The road widened, and Ned pulled up beside him.

“You are certain the man did not identify himself?”

“No, sir. He did not give his name. He only said her safety depended on the mercy of a pirate.” Ned’s voice came across flat and hoarse.

“What were you doing out on the porch, alone with her in the dark?” Even as William asked this, he reminded himself Ned was not at fault. But if Charlotte had been inside, perhaps…

“I followed them—Miss Ransome and Winchester—when they went for their walk. I did not trust Mrs. Ransome’s steward to behave honorably.” He paused. “I need not have worried. Char—Miss Ransome handled the situation admirably and dispatched Winchester, and their engagement, with aplomb.”

“Winchester was with you when she was taken? Why did you not tell me this before?”

“No, sir. Miss Ransome dismissed him. He had been gone for…several minutes.”

Could Winchester be involved? Dread sank like a cannonball in William’s gut. Julia already suspected the steward of embezzling money from the plantation. And William had left her there with that man—

“I asked her to marry me.”

If Winchester were involved, and this was a ploy to get William away from Tierra—he yanked the reins. The horse voiced its protest and jerked and swerved, nearly unseating William. “I beg your pardon?”

“After Charlotte broke her engagement with Winchester, we talked about our mutual regard. I proposed marriage to her, and she accepted.” Ned’s words barely rose above the sounds of the horses’ hooves on the hard-packed earth.

From a sinking ship into shark-infested waters. Could Charlotte not have waited even a full day after breaking one engagement before forming another—again, without her family’s knowledge? “And if I refuse my permission?”

“Then we shall wait. We’ll wait until you think I am worthy to marry her, sir.”

Worthy to marry her. William did not have to think hard to remember standing before Julia’s father twelve years ago and saying the same words. Sir Edward had graciously given him—a poor, threadbare lieutenant with no prospects and nothing to recommend him as husband or son-in-law—a father’s blessing for William and Julia to marry based on nothing other than their love for each other. William had been the one to deem himself unworthy of her affections, and he had almost lost her forever.

“We shall discuss this after we return Charlotte home.”

“I pray that will be soon, sir.”

“So do I, Ned. So do I.”

Charlotte awoke with a gasp. Wooden planks formed the low ceiling above her. A canvas hammock conformed to her body and swung with the heave and haw of the ocean beneath the ship.

A ship?

Not possible. They had made port, hadn’t they?

She stared at the underside of the deck above, trying to clear the haziness from her brain. Yes. They had made port. Left Alexandra and ridden in carriage across those horrible, rutted roads to Tierra Dulce, Julia’s sugar plantation. The low, sprawling white house with the deep porch that wrapped all the way around and the white draperies billowing through the open windows.

The porch. She blinked rapidly. The porch. At night. In the dark. Henry Winchester and…and Ned.

She bolted upright and then flung her torso over the side of the hammock as her stomach heaved.

Why should she be sick? She hadn’t experienced a moment of seasickness on the crossing from England to Jamaica. She climbed out of the hammock, skirt and petticoats hindering her progress until she hoisted them above her knees, and made for the small table with a glass and pitcher.

Wan light from the stern windows sparkled through the glass, revealing a residue of white powder in the bottom of it. She set the glass back on the stand. Last night the pirate had made her drink from the glass, and then everything had gone hazy. But before that…

She buried her face in her hands. Being torn away from Ned. She prayed they had not killed him. She’d heard no gunshot, but as their raid had been one of stealth, they would more likely have used a blade to end Ned’s life.

A sob ripped at her throat, but she forced it to stay contained. She would not give the pirates the satisfaction of seeing her upset. And she must, and would, find a means of escape.

Thirst got the better of her, and she lifted the china pitcher of water and rinsed her mouth before drinking deeply the brackish liquid. She then turned and surveyed the cabin. Obviously the pirate captain’s quarters. Though smaller than Ned’s aboard Audacious, which was in turn smaller than William’s aboard Alexandra, the room was neatly kept, with serviceable furnishings, whitewashed walls and ceiling, and plain floors. Nothing to exhibit the extravagance or wealth she’d expected to see in a pirate’s private lair.

The desk. Perhaps something there would tell her more about her captor. She crossed to it, rather surprised by the empty work surface. No stacks of the papers or books like the ones resting on William’s or Ned’s worktables. Her fingers itched to open the drawer under the desktop and the small doors and drawers along the high back of it, but Mama had taught her better than that.

Two miniatures hanging above the desk caught her eye. One showed a woman, probably a few years older than Charlotte, with dark hair and angular features. Too plain to be called pretty, but not ugly either. The green backdrop of the second painting contrasted vividly with the reddish-brown hair of a pretty girl and matched her vibrant green eyes.

Mahogany hair and green eyes—just like Julia. Why would a pirate have a portrait of Julia hanging in his cabin? But, she corrected herself, the painting was of a girl no older than thirteen or fourteen. Surely the resemblance to Julia was merely coincidental.

“She was lovely, was she not?”

Charlotte gasped and whirled. A dark-haired man dressed in a blue coat that resembled a commodore’s or admiral’s—complete with prodigious amounts of gold braid about the cuffs, collar, and lapels—stood in the doorway of the cabin.

He tossed a bicorne hat—also similar to a navy officer’s—onto the oblong table in the middle of the cabin, clasped his hands behind his back, and sauntered toward her, his eyes on the portrait.

“What do you want with me?”

“I am sorry for the manner of your coming here, Miss…?” He cocked one eyebrow at her.

“Ransome. Charlotte Ransome. My brother is Commodore William Ransome. He will hunt you down. And when he finds you—”

“When he finds me,” the pirate said, sighing, “I am certain the encounter shall be quite violent and bloody. Is that what you were going to say?”

Charlotte ground her teeth together. The man stood there, serene as a vicar on the Sabbath, acting as if they stood in a drawing room in Liverpool discussing the weather. “What do you want with me?”

“With you? Nothing.” He flicked an invisible speck of dust from the oval frame. “My business is with her.”

“With her?” Charlotte nodded toward the painting. “Is that…?”

“Julia Witherington—or Julia Ransome, as I have lately learned. Empress of the Tierra Dulce sugar empire.”

The strange lilt in his voice when he said Julia’s name sent a chill down Charlotte’s spine. “Yes, she is married. To my brother.”

“The famous Commodore Ransome.” The pirate turned and ambled toward the dining table. “His reputation precedes him.”

Worry riddled Charlotte at the pirate’s lack of worry over the thought of William’s hunting him down and blowing him and his crew out of the water. After Charlotte escaped, naturally.

“You were not part of my plan, little Charlotte Ransome.” He turned, leaned against the edge of the table, and crossed his arms. The coat pulled across his broad chest and muscular shoulders. A lock of dark hair fell over his forehead, softening the way his heavy black brows hooded his eyes. His nose had been aquiline once, but now it sported a bump about halfway down from whence the rest of the appendage angled slightly to his left. A scar stretched across his forehead and down into his left eyebrow. On first sight he could have passed for Spanish, but his accent marked him as an Englishman.

If he weren’t a no-good, dastardly, cowardly, kidnapping pirate, she might consider him handsome.

“Did you kill him?” The question squeezed past her throat unbidden.

“Him?”

“Ned—Captain Cochrane. The man with me on the porch.” She schooled her emotions as best she could, pretending the man standing before her was none other than Kent, her nemesis during her days aboard Audacious as a midshipman.

“If he is dead, it is through no work of me or my men. We do not kill for sport, only for defense.”

“Ha!” The mirthless laugh popped out before she could stop it. “Morality from a pirate? Someone who spends his life pillaging and thieving and destroying and killing and…and…” Heat flooded her face.

“And?” The pirate stood and stalked toward her, an odd gleam in his dark eyes. “And ravishing young women? Is that what you were going to say?”

Charlotte backed away, right into the edge of the desk. She gripped it hard. “N-no.”

The pirate leaned over her, hands on either side of her atop the desk, trapping her. “Do not try to lie to me, little Charlotte Ransome. You have no talent for it.”

Stays digging into her waist, she bent as far back as she could. “Yes, then. Ravishing.” Not that he would get a chance to ravish her. A fork. A penknife. Anything with a sharp edge or point. Once she had something like that in her possession, she would be able to defend herself against him.

Up close, the pirate’s brown eyes held chips of gold and green. A hint of dark whiskers lay just beneath the skin of his jaw and above his upper lip.

He blinked when someone knocked on the door but didn’t move. “Come!”

“Captain, Lau and Declan are back.”

“Very good. I shall meet with them in the wheelhouse momentarily to hear their report. Dismissed.”

Charlotte wanted to cry out to stop the other man from leaving, but she knew she deluded herself. She was no safer with any man on this ship than with their captain.

Would Ned still want her—even be able to look at her—after the pirates were finished with her?

“What’s this?” The pirate reached up and touched Charlotte’s cheek. “Tears?”

She shook her head, more to dislodge his hand than in denial.

With another sigh he straightened and then handed her a handkerchief. “Calm yourself, Miss Ransome. I have no intention of ravishing you. Nor of allowing anyone else to ravish you. While you are aboard my ship, you are under my protection.”

He crossed to the table and retrieved his hat. “You, however, must stay to this cabin at all times. Though my men know my rules of conduct, a few of them might give in to the temptation of their baser desires should they see you about on deck.”

Charlotte leaned heavily against the desk. The handkerchief in her hand was of the finest lawn, embroidered white-on-white with a Greek-key design around the edge. She frowned at the bit of cloth. Why would a pirate carry something so delicate?

He settled the bicorne on his dark head, points fore-and-aft, the same way the officers of the Royal Navy wore theirs.

“Who are you?”

He touched the fore tip of the hat and then flourished a bow. “I am called El Salvador, and you are aboard my ship, Vengeance. Welcome to my home, Miss Ransome.”

MY review will be posted in a few days…didn’t quite finish the book for today!

Laughter in the Wind by Joyce Wheeler

Laughter in the Wind by Joyce Wheeler

Paperback: 344 pages

  • Publisher: WinePress Publishing
  • (April 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414119216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414119212
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches

Book Blurb

Redheaded British nannies are a rarity on the prairies of South Dakota. When Abbie Miller comes to the Jackson ranch, kangarooo tales, romance triangles and mystery follows. While Dakota sunsets and the Jackson children steal her heart, neighbor and school teacher, Torrie McGovern make her boiling mad. Great Aunt Lena adds her conniving to the mix, and common sense totally disappears.
“For a redneck and a redhead,we’ve done pretty good,” Wade Jackson reminds her as both humor and suspense descend upon the Jackson ranch. Tragedy threatens to undermine peace, but understanding comes with laughter in the wind.

My Review

British Nanny Abbie Miller travels to South Dakota for a short term nanny job taking care of Wade Jackson’s three children. Arriving at the Jackson home, she is puzzled about the mother just up and leaving her home, husband and three adorable children. The three small children soon capture Abbie’s heart confusing Abbie even more at Mrs. Jackson’s mysterious disappearance and why she hasn’t returned home. And something else, what’s with the weird downstairs house decorations?

Wade Jackson loves his Dakota ranch home, loves the hard work involved in running a ranch, and loves his three adorable children. He has no idea about his wife hiring a nanny until he walks in the house from his ranch work and there she is. With the nanny, and the strange way she has been acting, he realizes his wife is about to leave him so he encourages her to go ahead, not stay longer to hurt the kids even more, and he even helps her pack her things in the vehicle. Will Wade ever get to the bottom of the secrets, of the strange way his wife decorated the downstairs of their ranch house, of why she has been acting so strange?

Join Wade and Abbie as the author so wonderfully weaves together a story of mystery and fear, love and romance, humor and surprise as well as betrayal and forgiveness. As life goes on at the Jackson ranch and Abbie continues to care for the 3 Jackson children, the situation becomes more complicated when unexpected visitors show up, and things about the past come to surface.

I wasn’t sure about this book when I started reading it, but by the end, I found myself wanting it to keep going. The author’s knowledge of living on a ranch gave her a professional insight to the cast of characters she created as well as the details of ranch life. I enjoyed Wade and Abbie’s characters, the humor in their relationship, and the way Abbie reached out to Wade’s children. I appreciate how the author blends the Biblical issues in the book, not sounding like she’s preaching, but making Christ a part of their everyday lives. I loved this book, it is a very enjoyable and light read and it is on my favorites list!

I received this book free from Wine Press to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.

 

About the Author………Joyce Wheeler………..Author’s Website

And the clouds are the dust of His feet. Nahum 1:3

I’m a confirmed sky gazer. When I think of God strolling through the Heavens kicking up cloud dust, I want to break into a joyful noise.

Justin and I have been married since 1964. While I gaze at the moon, stars, clouds and flowers, he very compentently manages the ranch. (Just don’t ask him to turn on the computer.)

We enjoy our four adult children and their spouses, our ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. I should also add that we share our home with one dignified cat and our grandson’s dog.

When ranching isn’t taking our time and resources , we also enjoy our hobbies. Justin is a walking encyclopedia on Winchester rifles and hunting, and I like to write books.

I’ve been gathering information for a new novel, a historic fiction on homesteaders in our area. It will be a change from the contemporary stories of My Lady and Laughter in the Wind. I’m fascinated by the story that’s unfolding in my mind—-

 

Purchase this book at Amazon        or        The Publisher

 

 

 

Adventures on Promise Island by Ruth Esther Vawter

Adventures on Promise Island    by Ruth Esther Vawter

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Pleasant Word-A Division of WinePress Publishing
  • (November 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414113595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414113593
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.5 inches

 

 

 

 

My Review

Adventures on Promise Island follows 4 troubled teenagers as they visit Promise Island.  As Miguel, Ya Ming, Tobi and Keerstin arrive on the Island, they are introduced to their guide for the week and taken to their home away from home.

Ya Ming has given up on life, thinking all she could do was sit around in a wheel chair and gain weight watching TV. She treated her Promise Island Leader with respect, but was still confused and angry over the drunk driver that caused her being in a wheel chair.

Miguel believes a life of crime is his only way of life, after all he arrives at the island handcuffed. He wasn’t sure about his surfer boy Promise Island Leader, Cameron. He tried to be cool-dude Miguel until the officer threatened to take him back to jail.

Keerstin can’t read, and she doesn’t want to commit the time to learn, but she is an exceptional artist and seems to immediately take to her Promise Island Leader for the week, Jamie.

Tobi  has an attitude problem, even though he has money, he’s dealing with abuse from his dad, which makes him a big bully himself. Arriving on the island, he tries his sarcastic attitude on his Promise Team Leader Chad, even trying to bully him too.

This book was different than most of the books I read, but I truly enjoyed getting to know these four teens, following them throughout the Island. And to watch the amazing transformation of their lives, seeing their attitude changing as they realized there is hope in the Lord was truly astonishing. What a wonderful YA book for teens to read, to see how a life can change by giving their lives to the Lord, letting Him work through them. It is also a fun to read book, especially the teen’s excitement over riding vehicopters and seeing all of the unique neat stuff on the Island. All fiction of course, but good thoughts to plug into young guys and gals minds giving them good new stuff to think about.

If you have teenage children that are struggling with any problem, I would encourage you to get a copy of this book and let them read it. You might just help one of our precious young people see how much God loves them. And even though this is a YA book, anyone will enjoy the journey of these four amazing teens.

I received this book free from Wine Press to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.

About the Author  

Who am I?   Author’s Blog

  • Mother of 2 daughters, grandmother of 3 granddaughters.
  • Retired elementary teacher from the Indianapolis Public Schools, and now Title 1 Tutor.
  • Author of 7 books.
  • Sunday School teacher.
  • President of Indy-West Aglow Lighthouse in Indianapolis.
  • Divorced after 33 years of marriage and single for 8 years.
  • Public speaker on The Bride of Christ and The Clay Pitcher for adults
  • Motivational speaker to teens.
  • Good News Club Leader.
  • Liturgical dancer.
  • Teaching people the power of saying words of blessings over people instead of speaking word curses over each other. Teaching people to break word curses off of them so they can be successful. The Holy Spirit gave me the idea to write Promise Island 30 years ago, but a loved one, unintensionally placed a word curse on me that paralyzed me from publishing the book. When I was taught to break the word curse, I was able to write the book, and Adventures on Promise Island was published in November 2010.
  • I love to share my faith with anyone who has an ear to hear the hope and love that we get from God my Father, Jesus my Savior, and the Holy Spirit, my Companion.

Purchase this book from Amazon       or     The Publisher

 

Thomas Nelson is conducting a survey…Win $10,000.00

From Thomas Nelson:

One of the highlights of our days in the Fiction department at Thomas Nelson? Receiving reader letters—either directly addressed to us or passed along from our talented authors. It’s critical to be reminded that at the end of our long days acquiring, editing, designing, selling, marketing, and publicizing books, those stories are reaching readers, striking nerves, changing lives. We want readers’ feedback. How stories have given you hope. Which authors’ series you can’t help from sharing with everyone you meet. We want to know what makes you stay up late in the night to finish a story, and conversely what turns you away.

We’re conducting a series of surveys—seeking answers from readers who love Christian fiction. Up for grabs is a free ebook for every respondent who completes the survery, as well as a $10,000 prize for one entrant. The responses we gather will help shape the future of the books we publish for years to come. As well as the data we’re collecting here, we’ll also seek more in-depth feedback from a panel we’ll develop over the next year. More details to come. The note below from one of authors gives a specific picture of how reader feedback shapes her work. In short, your opinion matters! We thank you for your time and appreciate your responding.

Thomas Nelson Fiction

Dear Friends–

Your opinion matters. It really does. I love hearing from readers about what worked for them in a story and about what doesn’t work. Reader feedback changed the balance between romance and suspense in my novels. After the Rock Harbor trilogy, I wanted to write more suspense in my novels because that’s what I personally like. But readers really wanted more relationship and romance in the books so I moved back that direction to about the same mix of 50/50 that the Rock Harbor novels contained. I write for you even more than for myself.

I had no intention of setting a whole series of books at Bluebird, Texas. It was going to be only one book, but readers sent me requests in droves for more books. The fourth book in the Lonestar series, Lonestar Angel, will be out in October. The Rock Harbor novels were going to be complete at three. There are now five and I’m thinking about another one! All due to reader demand.

I’ve often asked for reader input on names and locations too. When I was struggling for a name for my hero in The Lightkeeper’s Ball, I turned to my readers. Harrison really fit my character, and my readers told me. Love that! When I was trying to decide on a location for the new Hope Beach series I’ve started, I asked readers. Their overwhelming response was for a series set in the Outer Banks so guess what I’m writing?!

That’s why we’re coming to you for answers. We want to give you what you really want! Don’t be afraid to let us know what you really think. We value your honesty and the time it will take to share with us. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Your friend,

Colleen Coble

CFBA Tour…Dancing on Glass…..by Pamela Ewen

CFBA Tour…Dancing on Glass…..by Pamela Ewen

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingDancing on GlassB&H Books (August 1, 2011)byPamela EwenABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Until recently retiring to write full time, Pamela Binnings Ewen was a partner in the Houston office of the international law firm of BakerBotts, L.L.P., specializing in corporate finance. She now lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, James Lott.

She has served on the Board of Directors of Inprint, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting the literary arts in Houston, Texas, as well as the Advisory Board for The New Orleans Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans; Pamela is a co-founder of the Northshore Literary Society in the Greater New Orleans area. She is also a member of the National League of American Pen Women.

Pamela’s first novel, Walk Back The Cat (Broadman & Holman. May, 2006) is the story of an embittered and powerful clergyman who learns an ancient secret, confronting him with truth and a choice that may destroy him.

She is also the best-selling author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Faith On Trial, published by Broadman & Holman in 1999, currently in its third printing.

Although it was written for non-lawyers, Faith On Trial was also chosen as a text for a course on law and religion at Yale Law School in the Spring of 2000, along with The Case For Christ by Lee Stroble. Continuing the apologetics begun in Faith On Trial, Pamela also appears with Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, Darrell Bock, Lee Stroble, and others in the film Jesus: Fact or Fiction, a Campus Crusade for Christ production.

Pamela is the latest writer to emerge from a Louisiana family recognized for its statistically improbable number of successful authors. A cousin, James Lee Burke, who won the Edgar Award, wrote about the common ancestral grandfathers in his Civil War novel White Dove At Morning.

Among other writers in the family are Andre Dubus (Best Picture Oscar nomination for The Bedroom; his son, Andre Dubus III, author of The House of Sand and Fog, a Best Picture Oscar nomination and an Oprah pick; Elizabeth Nell Dubus (the Cajun trilogy); and Alafair Burke, just starting out with the well received Samantha Kincaid mystery series.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir sees Phillip Sharp as a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known. A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama’s rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith. His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret.

In this lawyer’s unraveling world, can grace survive Ama’s fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dancing on Glass, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

 

My Review

Amalise’s visit to a local gallery finds her interested in a group of unusual paintings, but she has no idea what lies ahead for her when she meets the artist of these paintings. From the very first meeting, Phillip draws himself to Amalise and starts stalking her, or at least that is what I call it. As their relationship grows, Phillip shows more of his possessiveness toward Amalise every day. This does not go over with Jude, her long time friend, nor her parents. As this story unfolds, we find an unbelievable relationship that sadly Amalise is totally unaware of. Phillip’s deception seems clear to everyone except Amalise, and she will not listen to anyone’s warnings, and especially Jude’s. Is Amalise really in the dangers those close to her believe she is in, or does Phillip really love her as he says?

When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure I would like it, but it didn’t take me long to change my mind! This is a powerfully written story about real life situations that happen to people continually. The author clearly shows how easy it is for a Christian to be drawn away from the Lord and into a dangerous situation by the charm of a conniving and vicious man like Phillip Sharp. Even typing his name gives me the creeps! The powerful message in this book needs to be taught to ladies all over the world. I appreciate the author Pamela Ewen writing a book with this message. If it helps one person to make a wise decision about dating someone, it will be worth it! And watch out for Book two in the series coming in 2012. I can’t wait!

Calling all ladies……….This is a MUST read for you. Reading this book will make you more aware of strangers popping into our lives.

This book was provided by B & H Books through Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I was not required or expected to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

FIRST WildCard Tour….30 Days to Taming Your Fears by Deborah Smith Pegues

30 Days to Taming Your Fears by Deborah Smith Pegues

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Deborah Smith Pegues

and the book:

30 Days to Taming Your Fears

Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (August 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Deborah Smith Pegues is an experienced certified public accountant, a Bible teacher, a speaker, and a certified behavioral consultant specializing in understanding personality temperaments. As well as the bestselling 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue (more than 500,000 sold), she has authored 30 Days to Taming Your Finances and 30 Days to Taming Your Stress. She and her husband, Darnell, have been married for more than 31 years and make their home in California.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Deborah Smith Pegues, behavioral specialist and bestselling author, sheds light on spiritual, relational, financial, physical, and emotional fears that limit the lives of readers and offers godly principles, straightforward helps, and the hope they need to exchange fear for the peace which passes all understanding.

Product Details:

List Price: $6.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736920412

ISBN-13: 978-0736920414

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

 

Fear of Dying

Lord, remind me how brief

my time on earth will be.

Remind me that my days are numbered—

how fleeting my life is.

Psalm 39:4 nlt

My father passed away in July 2009 of congestive heart failure. I spent his final month with him in a small, hot town in Texas. Although he’d achieved only an eighth-grade education, he was a successful entrepreneur. Many of the locals held him in high esteem as he cruised the pot-holed streets in his exotic cars. He was very active in his church and enjoyed his status as the top donor. What I found most interesting during the entire ordeal of his impending death was the nature of his final requests:

“I’d like to hear my sister Althea’s voice. Do you think you can arrange that?” She lived on the East Coast and they rarely spoke. There was no rift in the relationship; just never enough time to connect.

“Tell my sons to come and see about me. I can’t take care of myself.” All six lived in California and were already en route. He was never the type to express any kind of vulnerability or to do “mushy stuff    ” like send a birthday card or say, “I love you.” I marveled at the power of death to humble the proudest of souls.

I knew that my father was afraid to die, even though he had heard many sermons on death during almost a lifetime in church. Indeed, he had a reason to be afraid, for there was unfinished business between him and a couple of his fellow church leaders. He had flatly refused to forgive them for an offense that had hurt him deeply and had cost him a cherished fifty-year friendship. Of course, he was not without fault in the matter. We’d had many discussions about the situation during the past year. I was more concerned about his unforgiveness than his dying because I knew it was hindering his fellowship with God. Jesus was emphatic about the impact of unforgiveness: “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15).

I finally took matters into my own hands and called his offenders. They expressed a willingness to forgive and finally made the necessary phone calls to reconcile with him. I rejoiced. I also led my father in a prayer of repentance for all his sins. I know that he is now resting in peace.

Fear Analysis

Fear of dying is one of the fundamental or core fears from which many other fears stem, such as fear of doctors, flying, and others that we will discuss later. Every member of the human race will eventually have a date with death. It is inevitable and its timing uncertain; consequently, almost everyone has some modicum of anxiety about it.

When discussing death, it is important to understand that we are eternal beings. Thus, when the Bible speaks of death, it refers to the physical separation of the soul from the body (James 2:26) versus total annihilation. The soul will live eternally in the presence of God or in hell. (Read Luke 16:19-31 for a vivid portrayal of the difference in the quality of the afterlife of Lazarus the beggar compared to the rich man who had ignored Lazarus’s daily plea for help.) The decisions that we make during the crucial interval called “time” will determine the place and quality of our eternal existence. God will make the final call. Thus, many people are afraid to die because of the fear of this final judgment.

Action Plan

American author and humorist Mark Twain once said, “A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” This reminds me of a story I heard about an aging church janitor. One night after a passionate sermon on the hereafter, the country pastor asked the small congregation, “How many of you want to go to heaven?” All raised their hands except old Jim, who sat quietly in the back still clad in his work uniform. The pastor, puzzled at his response, said, “Jim, don’t you want to go to heaven?”

“Yup,” came his reply.

“Well, why didn’t you raise your hand?”

“Thought you were trying to get up a load for tonight!”

Like Jim, we all want to go to heaven, but not tonight. Let’s look at what we can do now to conquer the fear of dying:

Prepare for death spiritually and emotionally. We prepare spiritually by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and living a life of obedience to His Word by the power of God. Emotionally, we must accept the inevitability of death—especially when death is imminent.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, a pioneer in the study of the effects of death and dying, explained that most of us go through the following stages as we face our death:

Shock Stage: “Oh, my God!”

Denial Stage: “It can’t be true!”

Anger Stage: “Why me?”

Bargaining Stage: “Spare me, God, and I will do something for You.”

Depression Stage: “It’s all over. I have nothing to look forward to.”

Testing Stage: “What can I do to make my remaining days worthwhile?”

Acceptance Stage: “It doesn’t make sense to fight the inevitable.”

Only the grace of God can empower us to experience inexplicable peace as we accept our Divine destiny.

Prepare relationally. We need to let the key people in our lives know how much we care about them. We must also forgive everyone who has hurt or offended us. This is critical to getting our own sins forgiven. We must also ask forgiveness from others for our trespasses against them.

Prepare financially. Being financially unprepared is surely a cause for legitimate concern—especially if you have dependents. Be smart and, at a minimum, get burial insurance and prepare a will that spells out who will handle your affairs and who will inherit specific assets. A will can be handwritten and notarized. As a certified public accountant, I recommend you not only have a will (for special, sentimental assets), but a living trust (for real estate, investments) and an advanced directive that sets forth your preferences regarding the use of possible life-extending measures.

Submit to His sovereignty. Neutralizing the fear of death requires focusing on living life to the fullest. My concern when contemplating my own demise has always centered on how I will make that transition. I don’t wish to die violently nor do I want to suffer a protracted illness. (I’m hoping for an “Enoch deal” [Genesis 5:24] where God just takes me up!) Meanwhile, since I have no control over how I’m going to die, I have decided just to let my “requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6-7) and to submit to His sovereignty. When the time comes, He will be there to give me the grace I need to join Him for a life of eternal bliss.

What reason can you give for why you would be afraid to die—tonight? Have you lived a life of selfishness and disobedience, and thus fear eternal damnation? Or can you confidently say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)? If not, what must you do now to be ready to make that eternal transition? Do you need to forgive an offense, express your affection, or apologize for your wrongdoings? If an angelic messenger were to show up and announce, “Tonight’s the night!” know that death ushers believers into the presence of the Lord where there is fullness of joy.

My Review

30 Days to Taming Your Fears by Deborah Smith Pegues
If you are like me, you have fears lurking in your mind that you may or may not want to talk to someone about. Well, this would be a great book for you to not only read, but keep on hand for future reference. Some of the fears the author talks about are: Fear of Lack; Fear of Retiring Poor; Fear of Loneliness; Fear of Rejection; Fear of Losing a Job and Fear of Gaining Weight (wow don’t we all fear this one!)
I found this book to be chunked full of wonderful scriptures, devotions, and action plans to help you overcome fear. This little book is broken down into 30 devotions and each has a scripture and other useful information to help reinforce what you read. I would definitely encourage each lady to run out and buy a copy of this book. It is small enough to carry in your purse and it has a nice eye-catching cover.
I received this book free from the publisher Harvest House through F.I.R.S.T. Wild Card Tour to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.

Life Support by Robert Whitlow

Life Support by Robert Whitlow

Book Description

Alexia knows this new case is a matter of life and death. She doesn’t have a clue what it will do to her heart and soul.

Baxter Richardson survived a fall from a cliff while hiking in the mountains. His survival depends on the machines that help him breathe. His haunted, unstable wife wants to pull the plug and hide her secrets. His father wants him alive for reasons of love and money. Attorney Alexia Lindale must navigate the mixed motives and warring facts to determine—and fight for—what’s right for Baxter in this compelling tale of betrayal and a mysterious, healing grace.

My Review

First of all, I can’t wait until the sequel to this book comes out! Life Support is another amazing thriller with characters and twists and turns that capture you from the first page. I like the way Whitlow’s characters come to life, with real life situations that people face every day. And he uses these to write a story that will grab hold to you and not let go until the last page. And I especially like the way he weaves the Gospel of Christ and Biblical principles into his characters lives. His is such a professional writer that you feel as though you are living the story right along with the characters. The characters in this book are so real I sometimes think about praying for them, then I realize they are just fictional!

If you like thrillers, then this book is a must read for you! Go out an purchase a copy, and I believe you will be purchasing the other Whitlow books as well.

I received this book free from Booksneeze.com blogging for books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.

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People of the Book……..by Kathi Macias

People of the Book……..by Kathi Macias

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New Hope Publishers (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596692820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596692824
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches

Book Blurb:
Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution?
Farah lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, and wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and pursues that goal. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. Her brother, Kareem, who has never liked her, seeks to discredit her.
Farah’s cousin, an only child, frequents an online chat. She discovers former Muslims discussing their new belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. She becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian—Sara. Sara has problems of her own due to her brother Emir’s suspicious behavior.
Each finds their faith put to the test. Will they be true to their beliefs? Will God protect them, or will they pay the ultimate price for their faith?

My Review

The setting of People of the Book is Saudi Arabia, not a place that Christians can freely worship God in public. It was the month of Ramadan and Farah and her cousin Nura, along with their families were continually fasting, praying and drawing nearer to their Allah. Even though women worshiped and prayed differently than the men, Farah wanted to make sure she spent enough time worshiping and praying to Allah hoping he would do good things on her behalf because the time she spent in worship to him.

But all changed after Isa-Jesus met Farah in a dream, drawing her to Himself. At first she wasn’t sure and was afraid, especially because of what her brother Kareem would do to her. In her country people were killed at the mention of the name Isa/Jesus. Farah knew that Kareem wouldn’t hesitate killing her if he knew. But finally, Farah answered Isa and believed in Him. And without knowing about Farah, Nura finds Isa for herself after talking to her American friend Sara in an online chat room. Farah and Nura both knew their future because they believed in Isa, but they knew He would always go with them, where ever that might be. Join Farah and Nura during the days of Ramadan and witness the amazing ways Isa-Jesus called them both to Himself, and the joy and peace both young ladies experienced finding this Isa they were longing for.

I am convinced that every Christian should read Kathi Macias’ Extreme Devotion series You will realize how blessed we are to live in America where we can freely worship our Lord.  and you will get a vision of what it is like to worship Him in a place like Saudi Arabia. Each book in this four book series will grip your heart in a way you’ve never known before.

Kathi has a way of creating unique character weaving them together with dangers, fear, hate, constant tension in families in a country that worships Allah and hates our God, telling a story that will chill you to the bones and keep you on the edge of your seats until the last word. These people are families just like our own, only worshiping Allah causes some of the family members to do unbelievable things when they find out their loved ones even mention God or the Bible. I urge you to read this book, it will change your life!

I received this book from the author to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.

About the Author

Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com; www.thetitus2women.com; http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com) is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time buzzing around in their new ride: Al’s 2005 sunburst orange Corvette.

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