Promises in the Dark by Eric McLaughlin

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Author: Eric McLaughlin

ISBN-13:978-1-64507-029-0

Publication Date: 10/14/2019

My Rating:

ABOUT THIS BOOK 

Promises in the Dark by Dr. Eric McLaughlin strengthens the hearts of readers to persevere in God’s calling to walk with those in need. As a missionary doctor in Africa, McLaughlin knows how walking closely with those who suffer and bearing others’ burdens can easily lead to burnout or cynicism—unless we find the path to perseverance that the Lord provides.

This resource explores how to find both calling and hope, living in the tension between a difficult present and God’s promises of renewal, how to cope with despair and futility, the importance of the suffering God for those who suffer, and how the manifestations of God bring life into a dying world.

McLaughlin explores how to endure in such a yet-to-be-redeemed world as ours, which is full of tragedy and heartache, pointing to God’s promises.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

 

ENDORSEMENTS

“As a missionary coworker of Eric’s for two years in Kenya, I attest that these ‘promises in the dark’ arise from the heart of a humble servant of Christ whom God has gifted with profound insight for the challenges faced in caring for the sick and dying without losing hope. Each chapter, and the discussion questions that follow, will serve as powerful tools for personal or group discipleship.”
Mike Chupp, MD, FACS, FCS (ECSA), Chief Executive Officer, Christian Medical and Dental Associations

“Eric McLaughlin brought me to tears with this honest look at the difficulties of the life of a compassionate caregiver. When dealing with this broken world, there are no simple answers. But there can be hope. Promises in the Dark is essential reading for anyone who walks with others through suffering and questions how to keep on going.”
Dr. Kent Brantly, Ebola survivor; coauthor of Called for Life

“Why do we love lawyer and doctor shows? We know both worlds bear extremity, suffering, and passion, and that is at the core of what intrigues and terrifies us. Eric McLaughlin, a missionary physician, engages the raw and compelling questions of what it means to be human and trust God in the face of a world that is stark and at times cruel. Eric offers no simple answers or trite truisms. Instead, he invites us to engage the questions with the confidence that there is nothing we face that Jesus has not first entered. The song sung in this brilliant book is that death is real and horrible, far more so than our antiseptic Western world can bear, but death never gets the final word. There is something about life and love that lingers far longer than heartache, and it is this story that enables us to enter all other losses with hope. This book will intensify your passion and encourage you to live the best story ever told.”
Dan B. Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology

“Eric McLaughlin’s new book, Promises in the Dark: Walking with Those in Need Without Losing Heart, profoundly impacted me at many levels. As a pastor, friend, and family member, I’ve walked in many stories of brokenness, illness, and loss which have left me feeling overwhelmed and helpless, and frustrated because I couldn’t fix things. I came away from Eric’s book realizing, once again, that God’s promises claim us more than we claim them. The pressure is off. We’re called to be servant-lovers, not omnicompetent-fixers. Hope is certain because of Jesus’s resurrection and return, but life between those glorious markers is anything but predictable and controllable. This book will be an invaluable guide for many who are tired of empty clichés and baseless formulas and long for honest reflections and encouragement for loving well, even when the healing doesn’t come.”
Scotty Smith, Pastor Emeritus, Christ Community Church, Franklin, TN; teacher in residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, TN

“What does a lived-out faith look like in the throes of an African field hospital? In a world of disease, death, and brokenness—of broken promises—how does one live as a light to the world? The answers to these questions are to be found in the pages of this honest book.”
Michael Card, Songwriter, Bible teacher

“Brilliant prose! Gripping stories! Profound discernments! I love this book and will be recommending it to everyone I know.”
Dr. David Stevens, CEO Emeritus, Christian Medical & Dental Associations; author of Jesus, M.D.

 Promises in the Dark provides a transparent account of the arduous and even sometimes despairing work of medical missions in the field. McLaughlin wrestles with questions of theodicy in this book in the context of extreme poverty and disease in developing nations, and he finds hope and solace in a return to the promises of God in life and love. This book is not for the faint of heart.”
Jenny Eaton Dyer, Founder, The 2030 Collaborative

“Dr. Eric McLaughlin has walked with those who suffer. For over a decade, he has served patients well in East Africa through sacrificial medical care, and has witnessed the abject suffering of many. Yet he has heard the healing whisper of God; his voice quietly yet convincingly projecting promise of ever-present hope and inexplicable miracles. If we too are to walk with those who suffer and not lose heart, it is imperative to remember the promises of God. Dr. McLaughlin has most articulately crafted a must-read book for those who serve and hold the hand of those in need.”
Dr. Lance Plyler, Director, World Medical Mission; a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse

Promises in the Dark is a warm lamplight to accompany pilgrims whose progress has been dampened by the doubt and discouragement that often pervade those who live amid scenes of persisting darkness. These words can give even the weariest of souls the courage to utter once more, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’”
Andrew Greer, Dove Award–nominated singer-songwriter; author; television host of the Amazon Prime show Dinner Conversations with Mark Lowry and Andrew Greer

“To serve and live among the poor is not an easy road. I’ve seen firsthand what taking on the responsibility of the health and well-being of a rural African village looks like. It’s a walk with suffering and slow, small victories. McLaughlin and his brave community of doctors have willfully brought their families behind the dark curtain of poverty in one of the poorest corners on earth. There are stories of hard-fought hope here, along with haunting brushes with life and death. McLaughlin shows us how the burden of knowledge and conviction are gifts not to be wasted. God’s promises of faith, hope, and love far outweigh the doubts and disappointments.”
Brandon Heath, GRAMMY®-nominated, Dove Award–winning recording artist

“Ministry to those who acutely experience sin’s effects in this world leads many Christians to reconsider their calling. For those at risk of having compassion and optimism replaced by despair and cynicism, Eric McLaughlin offers much-needed hope. This hope is anchored in the promises and character of God himself. The reader will not only empathize with Eric’s honest confessions, but identify how they too can actuate these life-giving Truths.”
Mark Tatlock, President, The Master’s Academy International

“I had to stop repeatedly, often in tears, to respond to what God stirred in my heart as I read Eric’s articulate account of life in an African hospital where many die, often after much prayer for healing, with evidence pointing to recovery, yet others healed when that appeared impossible. Both experiences kept bringing Eric back to God’s Suffering Redeemer Son Jesus. Eric’s book is so passionate, articulate, raw honest—dealing with death when it looks like that person would have recovered and when many prayers had been offered for their healing, but also rejoicing when all evidence would point to death and some recover to health.”
Don Finto, Author; Pastor Emeritus, Belmont Church, Nashville, Founder, Caleb Company

“Real, honest, vulnerable, and with a depth that strikes the core is how I would describe this book. If you have served in areas of need, you can relate to each story. It gives opportunity for discussions on very pertinent issues, and maybe as we face the uncertainties and many questions with openness shall we turn to the Author and Perfecter of our faith.”
Dr. Matilda Ong’ondi, Physician and Clinical Hemato-oncologist, Kenya

There are many books exhorting Christians to go and serve the Lord in cross-cultural contexts, but few that are meant to be read while wrestling through the sorrows and struggles they’ll encounter in those situations. Eric McLaughlin has written such a book, indispensable for all who feel the pain of death and suffering in their day-to-day work.”
Matthew Loftus, Missionary Physician in Kenya and writer at MereOrthodoxy.com

Promises in the Dark is a profound, realistic, and thought-provoking book that offers insight into the daily struggles of a missionary doctor serving disadvantaged populations. There is a shining light amidst darkness of insufficiency, despair, and hopelessness in the loving sacrifice and mercy of our Savior Jesus, who has called us to his labor. I recommend it to every coworker in the front lines of Christian service.”
Dr. Castro Mugalla, Family Physician, Iten County Referral Hospital, Iten, Kenya

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Eric McLaughlin, MD, is a medical missionary with Serge in Burundi. He and his wife, Rachel, live at Kibuye Hope Hospital, where they care for patients while training national doctors as professors for Hope Africa University, a Christian Burundian University. They have the distinction of having three children born on three continents.

Real Change for Students By Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne;

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Authors:  Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne; Edited by David Powlison

ISBN-13:978-1-64507-033-7ISBN-13 (eBook):978-1-64507-034-4

Publication Date:  9/23/2019

Format:  Paperback

My Rating:

ABOUT THIS BOOK 

Every honest Christian knows the need for change. But how to get there? How do young adults move forward from struggles both big and small? And how does our faith in God affect our everyday thoughts, feelings, and actions?

In this six-session small group resource for students, participants have the opportunity to reflect on one particular area in their lives and then to learn more about how God changes us to become more like Jesus. All of us struggle to love God and those around us, but God has promised to keep working on us. And God always keeps his promises. The change his gospel produces will make your life and your relationships truly beautiful.

This self-contained resource with leader s notes will encourage small group participants to understand and apply a biblical view of change to their lives and relationships.

Real Change for Students is based on the CCEF model of change from David Powlison s course, Dynamics of Biblical Change. The easy-to-use six lesson format and included leader s guide encourages students toward an honest discussion of their own struggles while providing an understanding of how a relationship with Christ brings change.

Topics addressed include understanding how we typically respond to trouble and pressure; how the cross of Christ brings comfort, help, and change; and how we can grow to be like Christ in the hardest circumstances.

Within this small group resource are biblical insights, discussion questions, and a personal change project to help young adults seeking to change negative patterns and live by faith in all circumstances. While the study material is designed for young adults within small groups, it can also be used for one-to-one discipleship study, too.

Rooted in Scripture, Real Change for Students draws on the established CCEF Three Threes model of change in simplified form to help young adults better understand biblical change and grow to be more like Jesus in everyday life.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

I agree with the endorsements below on this book. It is an in-depth study on the real change in a person after giving their life to the Lord. This book takes you through studies that will help you grow as a Christian.  It would very well be just the book you need to give to the youth leaders in your church. Or maybe a better idea would be to have a Bible study with this book to anyone who would want to go through the study. It really can help all Christians. And it is a Bible study that I highly recommend.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author or publisher. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions here in this review are totally mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

ENDORSEMENTS

“Having taken CCEF’s Dynamics of Biblical Change course as a student and having it taught several times as a recitation instructor for CCEF and for our church, I’ve long known that the material is tremendously beneficial for helping people know the God of the Bible better and understand how biblical change works. However, answering the question, ‘how do we get this information more widely disseminated among the people at our church—especially through our small groups?’ has been elusive to me. Real Change is just the resource I’ve been looking for! Andrew Nicholls and Helen Thorne have created an effective tool for introducing more people to the basics of how the process of being changed more and more into the image of Christ over time works in the life of a Christian. It’s short in duration (six sessions), making it ideal for a Sunday school or small group curriculum. And yet it is faithful to communicate the essence of David Powlison’s Dynamics course. I am eager to commend and utilize this new tool for creating more discipleship opportunities in our church.”
Bryan Pickering, Pastor for Care & Counseling, Bethlehem Baptist Church Downtown Campus

“God intends every believer to grow into the likeness of Christ—and because we all have such a long way to go it’s never too soon to get going. This edition of Real Change is a resource specifically designed to help students apply the power of the gospel to the details of life. It is an engaging, manageable, and thoroughly biblical exploration of spiritual growth. Buy it and use it with your friends.”
Steve Midgley, Executive Director, Biblical Counselling UK; senior minister, Christ Church, Cambridge

“Finally! This book is long overdue! Real Change gives light to unlit paths of guiding students to a lifestyle of cross-centered faith and repentance. As a student walks across the stage on graduation, you can be confident that no matter what trials or failures they encounter they’ll know how to examine their own hearts and turn to Christ. I look forward to giving a copy to every one of our youth leaders!”
Pavel N. Bugriyev, Youth Pastor, Hilltown Baptist Church

“Let’s be honest: We all battle with deep-set issues, stubborn sins that hinder us from following Jesus. Real Change gets right under the skin and chisels the heart. It’s not going to be an easy ride. Be prepared to be challenged, transformed, and brought to your knees as you allow God’s Spirit to make you more like Jesus. This is genuinely a book I can’t wait to introduce our teenagers to.”
Dave Cornes, Head of Youth Ministry, St. James Muswell Hill, UK

“This brilliantly practical course will help you work out your faith in a really tangible way. It calls us to think through real struggles in our Christian lives, gives us a helpful biblical framework to work them through, and reminds us at every stage to bring them before our loving Heavenly Father who cares for us. What a great resource for God’s people!”
Olly Elliott, Associate Minister for Youth and Families, St. Peter’s Harold Wood

“We all have things in our lives we would like to change. But often we don’t know how, and can even find it hard to begin talking about it. This course helps do exactly that, helping young people to understand themselves better, talk honestly, and see the real change that is possible as God works in us. With clear biblical input and lots of time to discuss, it will be a very useful resource.”
Sarah Bradley, Youth and Children’s Minister, Holy Trinity Church, Manchester, UK

 

ABOUT THESE AUTHORS

Andrew Nicholls, MA, MB, BChir, is a former doctor and pastor who is now Director of Pastoral Care at Oak Hill Theological College, London. He is married to Hilary and they have two children.

Helen Thorne, BSc(Hons), MA is the Director of Training and Mentoring at London City Mission. She is a trustee of Biblical Counselling UK and involved in pastoral care within her local church. She is an experienced speaker and author of Purity is Possible, 5 Things to Pray for your City and Walking with Domestic Abuse Sufferers.

David Powlison, MDiv, PhD, serves as CCEF’s executive director, as a faculty member, and as senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling. David has been counseling for over thirty years and has written numerous articles on biblical counseling and on the relationship between faith and psychology. His books include Speaking Truth in Love; Seeing with New Eyes; Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare; The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context; Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining and Bitterness; Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken; and God’s Grace in Your Suffering.

A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff plus GIVEAWAY

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  • Series: A Shepherd Suspense Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (October 15, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • My Rating:
  • #acrosstokill
  • #andrewhuff

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God’s calling. He’s not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf–an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to pay penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never to kill again.

Now someone wants the peaceful pastor to pay for his sins with his own life. And when a terrorist out for revenge walks into the church, John’s secrets are laid bare. Confronted with his past, he must face his demons and discover whether a man can truly change. Can he keep his vow–even when the people he loves are in mortal danger? Will his congregation and the brave woman he’s learning to care for be caught in the cross fire? In the end, his death may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer . . .

Andrew Huff’s thrilling debut is not only a riveting story of suspense, it’s also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

As this book begin, Christine is in the hot seat, ready and waiting to be executed, but John comes to the rescue, a rescue that doesn’t go as  planned, but he is still determined to save her. And so the journey begins.

And Wow, what a debut novel for author Andrew Huff. I was on the edge of my seat after the first page, and stayed there until this book ended. Scene after scene there is so much going on here in this book. And the details are amazing. The characters were so well developed from the beginning. With John’s character,  being an undercover agent for the CIA, being on the run wasn’t new to him, he knew exactly what to do. For me it was so much fun reading this story. I love suspense, and if this is a genre you enjoy, I highly recommend A Cross to Kill. And the title is very clever as well!

A copy of this book was given to me by the author or publisher. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions here in this review are totally mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Click here to read an excerpt.

CLICK HERE TO SEE BOOK TRAILER

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Huff-1Andrew Huff spent 10 years in local church ministry before pursuing God’s calling into creative storytelling and media production as the Product Director at Igniter Media, a church media company (ignitermedia.com). He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014 & 2017) and also won the Best Screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, VA.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Religion degree from Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary. He resides in North Texas with his beautiful wife Jae and their two boys.
Learn more at andrewhuffbooks.com.
Facebook (@huffwrites)
Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff)

An Interview with Andrew Huff,

Author of A Cross to Kill

Q: A Cross to Kill is your first book release. Tell us about your journey to become an author.

A: Storytelling is something that’s been a part of my life since an early age, though I wasn’t convinced I could actually be an author until much later in life. I would write stories every day using toys, sometimes turning those stories into drawings, and on occasion, writing ideas down. I spent my high school years telling stories through video, even helping develop narrative projects with my home church. Yet I still wasn’t motivated to sit down and attempt to write something longer than a five-minute screenplay. That changed right around the time I finished college.

I was an avid reader growing up, and after finishing my undergraduate degree, I started consuming full length mystery/suspense novels. The problem I ran into was that many of the authors I enjoyed did not hold to the same worldview or values that I did. And whenever I found a thriller that did, I was often left wanting. So, I decided if I couldn’t find the type of book I wanted to read, then I should try to write it. It took many years of learning the craft and discovering the right story before I was able to sit down and not only start, but successfully finish, a full length, action-packed, suspense story that I was ready to share with readers.

Q: Introduce us to your new series, and specifically A Cross to Kill. What inspired the story?

A: I love letting real-life events inspire fiction, and my new series is no exception. When I first started developing the storyline, there were a handful of high-profile executions of journalists at the hands of terrorists overseas. What made these executions unique to this era was the fact that videos of the killings were spread across the internet. As these tragic events were taking place, I found myself wishing someone had intervened. Thus, the rescue attempt at the beginning of A Cross to Kill was born.

The other aspect of real-life that inspired the story was my own experience in ministry and the reality of how unique that calling is in the life of a person. I not only spent time in local church ministry myself, but my father was also a small country church pastor during my early elementary years. I loved the idea of capturing the fish-out-of- water experience of someone who did a very different job finding themselves learning what it means to spiritually care for a group of people. I also have to admit, I’m greatly inspired by the thrills of such action franchises as Mission: Impossible, Jason Bourne, and James Bond. I want my series to take the Bible and the Church seriously while offering the same kind of jaw-dropping action those novels and films excel at.

Q: The main character, John Cross, is a small-town pastor with a top secret past the members of his church would find hard to believe. What are some of things John left behind in his former life?

A: John didn’t just leave behind a past filled with poor choices and immoral behavior. Almost immediately, we get a sense that he performed actions in his role with the CIA and on behalf of his country that he is unable to forgive himself for. At a key moment in the story, we discover that John’s marksmanship was put to use by his superiors in unpleasant ways. You’ll have to read the book for all the details, but what I can say is John can’t help but evaluate his actions through a rigid view of Scripture, and as a result he’s struggling to believe God could truly forgive him.

What I find interesting is the theological question surrounding his previous life that he’s finding himself at odds with. Is the taking of a human life ever justifiable? There’s much to unpack with that question, but when we first meet John, he’s not yet taken the deep plunge into his theological training, and therefore, has very black and white opinions on complicated issues. This creates a conflict within him as he struggles to cope with the memories of his time with CIA and strive to live under the forgiveness of God in Christ.

Q: What events led up to John finding and following Christ?

A: John’s conversion has already happened when A Cross to Kill begins, but later in the book we get to hear his version of it. It’s a rather unconventional story, but that’s what I like about it. The fact that his conversion happens while he’s on assignment is such a great picture of the two competing forces in his life, that of his ingrained training and his newfound commitment to Christianity.

The short version is that after performing operations of a lethal nature with the CIA for so long, John lost his sense of humanity. While tracking a target in Spain, he ends up in a cathedral during a Catholic service. Unable to understand the liturgy, he still found himself drawn to the religious symbols. Compelled to know more about the man hanging from the cross, he forgot about his target, found an English Bible at a local shop, and devoted himself to knowing more. While everyone’s story is different, John’s story is one of God reaching down with an irresistible draw to set aside an undeserving man for His great purpose.

Q: What are some of the faith struggles that John faces along the way that readers can identify with?

A: I know there are faith struggles John faces that readers can identify with because they are ones I struggle with even to this day! For one, John can’t seem to shake loose from past habits and hang-ups. Sometimes those habits can be used for good, but more often than not, John finds himself fighting to walk in faith and love and not let his flesh take control when things go awry. Much of the Christian life is about this same battle. I am at constant odds with the desires of my flesh, and at times, I have sympathized with the ancient monks who punished themselves to try and defeat their own impulses (a practice called flagellation, and one which John has adapted in his own way).

Another faith struggle that I know many readers can identify with is the difficulty of accepting God’s forgiveness for not only the sins we’ve committed in the past, but the sins we will commit in the future. John struggles to believe God could forgive him for what he did while in the employ of the CIA, and that affects his ability to pass forgiveness on to others. This is something I, myself, have also found difficult. It’s not hard to believe God might forgive a single mistake here and there, but after failing again and again and again, it’s easy to expect a limit to God’s forgiveness. That’s when we can become trapped in the erroneous belief that faith is not enough, and we must work to retain God’s favor.

Q: Writers usually write what they know. Is there any of you in John Cross?

A: If there was, I wouldn’t be allowed to tell you. Just kidding! The more exciting aspects of John’s story are nothing like mine, and I only wish I had half of his intuition and skill. It is true, however, that writers usually write what they know, and I’m no exception. The part of me in John Cross is less the man and more the day-to-day experience in local church ministry.

When I wrote A Cross to Kill, I was on staff with a Southern Baptist church in Central Virginia, though a much larger church than Rural Grove. So much of what John experiences with the church and its members is based on real experiences that I drew from during my time on a church staff as well as from growing up as a preacher’s kid in rural Tennessee churches. The congregants we get to know are not based on individuals as much as an amalgamation of wonderful people I had the opportunity to get to know through the years.

Q: The book description states that A Cross to Kill is not only a riveting story of suspense, it’s also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world. Can we talk more about the moral quandaries?

A: A big moral quandary John faces, and I believe many of us wrestle with, is whether there is any legitimate justification for the taking of the life of another person. Is it ever right to kill another person? The Scripture could not be clearer that we are not to murder, and Jesus goes further by condemning any hateful thought toward a fellow human. There is much more Scripture to consider on the issue, but the answer to the question is not cut and dry.

The debate always seems to yield the same “yes,” “no,” and “sometimes,” answers. I didn’t want to try and provide a rigid response one way or the other in the novel, but I did wanted the characters to wrestle with the question and answers. Naturally, they probably wouldn’t ultimately agree. But for John in particular, what the characters decide, would drive the decisions they make when faced with danger. This is what we have to understand about the issue ourselves: If we believe Scripture gives a clear answer, whatever answer that might be, we must be prepared to let that answer influence how we respond to particular situations and issues regardless of how unconventional and perhaps even countercultural that may be.

Q: Is it possible to truly put our pasts behind us? How should we respond when our previous mistakes and decisions don’t stay in the past?

A: I don’t believe it’s possible to truly put our pasts behind us, and I don’t think that’s ever been God’s intention. We see many times in the Scriptures how God seeks to remind His people not only of the good they’ve experienced, but also the bad. The past is not meant to be forgotten, but to shape our response today. And that can be both the pleasant memories as well as the painful regrets we carry from before.

When we remember God’s goodness in our past, it is cause for celebration and worship. In much the same way, when our previous mistakes and decisions come back into our present, it is a moment for us to acknowledge how God continues to be good in the midst of a broken world. We see His goodness in the fact that those mistakes are still covered by the blood of Jesus Christ and there’s nothing we did then or could even do now to change that. When our past mistakes return and remind others of pain we may have caused, it’s important to not only acknowledge God’s grace and mercy but also seek reconciliation and restoration to the best of our ability. Ultimately, when we humble ourselves before the Lord, He is faithful to do a work in us and in others so that even in our shortcomings, He can be glorified.

Q: Without giving away too much, what can readers expect as the Shepherd Suspense series continues?

A: I’m so excited to continue the story with these characters, and I can’t wait for readers to pick up the next books in the series. One thing that is true about the Christian life is that it is a life-long pursuit of Christlikeness includes many ups and downs. We won’t find our sanctification complete this side of heaven, and so neither will my characters!

For John, he may have crossed a hurdle with accepting God’s forgiveness for his past, but that doesn’t mean he’s dealt with every decision he’s made leading up to becoming the pastor of Rural Grove Baptist Church. And John’s not the only one with a complicated past. The thing I’m most excited about sharing is the action-packed twists and turns that promise to keep the characters on their heels and the readers up past their bedtimes.

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Safe and Sound by DAVID POWLISON

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ABOUT THIS BOOK 

Safe and Sound by best-selling author David Powlison guides readers to see the normality of their struggles with themselves, the world around them, and the powers of darkness.

Counselors tend to be interested in what they can easily describe: psychological dynamics, social influences, and physiological givens. But how does the uncanny power of darkness fit in with the more accessible factors in a person’s life?

By carefully unpacking Ephesians 6 with vivid case studies and biblical wisdom, Powlison helps readers humanize those struggles and bear the relevance of the love of God in Christ for those struggles.

In this helpful guide, Powlison addresses many questions with gospel answers regarding the reality of spiritual warfare, including What is spiritual warfare? and How does Ephesians disciple us in spiritual warfare?

Safe and Sound presents Ephesians as a book about our conflict with darkness within ourselves, with other people, and with the spiritual forces of evil. Powlison demonstrates how the message of Christ’s triumph over all that is evil, dark, and deadly rings true, and how spiritual warfare is our participation in the Lord’s cosmic war with darkness.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

 

 

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR 

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DAVID POWLISON, M.Div., Ph.D., is a faculty member at CCEF and a counselor with over thirty years of experience. He has written many counseling articles, booklets, and books including Seeing with New Eyes; Speaking Truth in Love; and Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare

Small Book for the Anxious Heart  by Edward T. Welch

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Fear and anxiety are chronic struggles for many people that are only intensifying and increasing. Best-selling author Edward T. Welch shares the comfort and peace of Jesus in fifty brief readings for those who wrestle with fear.

A Small Book for the Anxious Heart is a small but powerful devotional to remind men and women of the encouraging, beautiful words in Scripture to anxious people.

While many books on fear and anxiety exist—promising to help men and women manage their struggles with methods and formulas—this devotional reaches deeper into Scripture, making the Word of God more accessible. Don’t put a Band-Aid on your fear and anxiety; rather, learn to bring your fear to Jesus, relying on his Word.

Welch has been counseling for over thirty-eight years and is the author of more than a dozen books, including A Small Book about a Big ProblemRunning Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of RestShame InterruptedWhen People Are Big and God Is Small, and many others.

Jesus cares for us, and in these readings, Welch invites readers to trust him for today, knowing he goes before us always.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

Many people deal with anxiety, and this book is really good for those people. It is written for those dealing with this issue. And I can relate that, though we know that God can take care of our anxiety, it’s sometimes so overwhelming we need help encouraging us with scripture and someone explaining it in a way that it is easily understood. In the 50 lessons in this book, Welch is teaching how to overcome fear, frustration, worry and stress and gives scripture to back up what he is teaching. The book can be used as a reference to go to when feeling of anxiety start.

If you are dealing with anxiety, or any issues that cause you to worry or be afraid, this is a very good handbook for you to keep around. Or maybe you know someone who need help with these issues, what a great book this would be for them.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author or publisher. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions here in this review are totally mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Ed, M.Div., Ph.D. is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF where he has served for more than 35 years. He earned a Ph.D. in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counseling for over thirty years and has written many books and articles on biblical counseling, including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression; Running Scared; Shame, Interrupted; and Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love. He and his wife, Sheri, have two married daughters and eight grandchildren. In his spare time, Ed enjoys spending time with his wife and extended family and playing his gu

Heart and Home by Victoria Duerstock

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Our home and its design can encourage spiritual growth in our hearts.


Heart and Home is a short devotional book with daily devotions for 90 days. The devotionals seek to draw clear connection between the basics of interior design and scripture that encourages spiritual growth within our hearts. The devotionals inspire women to have a captivating heart and home. Included in each devotional is an applicable design tip and photographs. Example devotional topics include unity and harmony, negative space, flow, focal point, and balance.

This devotional includes four-color photographs of home interiors throughout the book.

Click here to view a sample of the book.

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GIVEAWAY TIME

Click HERE to sign up for giveaway!

For more information about the series and for links to purchase, visit https://www.abingdonpress.com/victoriaduerstock.

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COMING THIS FALL

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As a writer, teacher, and speaker with a busy work and family life, Victoria Duerstock understands that all the tasks of the holiday season can make it easy to forget the true joy that Christmas can bring. In Heart & Home for Christmas, Duerstock brings her mission to inspire hope for God’s purpose, and her 20 years of experience in the furniture and design industry together, connecting Scripture with design elements and easy decorating tips in a way that reflects the true spirit of Christmas. The devotions and holiday decorating tips will encourage spiritual growth and inspiration to have both a captivating heart and home at Christmas.

Click here to view a sample of the book.

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Victoria Duerstock is a writer, blogger, teacher, and speaker. Her mission is to inspire hope and ignite bigger dreams for God’s purpose in each of our stories. She has a master’s degree in music, but ended up working in the furniture industry for more than twenty years and loves to make connections between our home environments and our spiritual lives. Victoria writes at Encouraging Women Today, Everything’s Gravy, Creative Corner, and Serious Writer Academy and also has contributed to devotionals for Worthy. She lives in Nesbit, Mississippi, with her husband, and they have three children.

Learn more about Victoria at:
www.victoriaduerstock.com

Follow her on Facebook,
www.facebook.com/VDuerstock

Twitter,
https://twitter.com/vduerstock

and Instagram
www.instagram.com/vduerstock
www.instagram.com/heartandhomebooks

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

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ABOUT THIS BOOK

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

Click here to read an excerpt!

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Everleigh Applegate and Beck Holiday, separated by fifty years, but joined together by devastating loss, secrets, and men who want to give them happiness again. Rachel Hauck has written another amazing story that will fill our minds and take us on a journey that will stay with us long after we close the pages of this book!

Another story that I love, love, love! The characters are so realistic I can feel the pain they have suffered while reading the words describing their feelings. Everleigh’s story is written around the era I was born and my early years, which I always love to read about. And Rachel Hauck is the very best when it comes to writing time slip stories. I love the way she goes from one era to the other so fluently and make the plot play out so smoothly. There are a number of issues dealt with in this book, starting with Beck being suspended from her job as a cop because of misconduct. Though I can understand her going off, it was just the wrong place and at the wrong time. My heart went out to Beck and Everleigh because of the lifechanging losses they had to deal with. And Ms. Hauck dealt with these losses and changes with class! And I can’t leave out the men that came into both of these ladies lives. Both Don and Bruno were humble characters, dealing with somewhat the same issues in their lives. And their decisions were made easier by their friendship with these ladies. And if you want to know all of the details and what happens with Everleigh and Beck, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Memory House.

I received this book from Read with Audra 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

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Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

For more information, visit www.rachelhauck.com, Facebook (@rachelhauck), Twitter (@RachelHauck) and Instagram (@rachelhauck).

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Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher

ABOUT THE BOOK

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination.

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

Who I Am With You Starts off remembering the tragic deaths of Jessica’s husband and daughter. Jessica is secluded in her home in Hope Springs Idaho and that’s the way she wants it. Until Ridley Chesterfield moves into the house next door, trying to hid from the tragedy that happened with his job. Two people hurting and alone gradually starts communicating to each other.

I really enjoyed this story. Though Jessica and Ridley were hurting, they were both at odds with God because of their situations. It’s when Jessica was given a Bible that belonged to her grandfather that she begins to read the notes he had written decades ago that her heart begin to soften. And as she and Ridley spend time together, they begin enjoying each other’s company, and there is definitely an attraction there!

Robin Lee Hatcher has written a wonderful story dealing with hurts and tragedy, but of love, forgiveness and grace. Weaving together two lives that are at a total loss, and bringing a healing neither ever suspected. I love the contrast between the past, with Jessica’s grandfather offering his help through notes in his old Bible, and the life Jessica is now living. To me that adds a sweeter note to the story. All in all, this is a beautifully written story that you are sure to love.

I received this book from Read with Audra 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 

About the author
Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher and Instagram @robinleehatcher.

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Summer Plans by Karin Beery

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About the book:

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God’s plan for her life—she even made a list to keep her on track.

Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right?

Trying to figure out God’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend, and Callie’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best laid plans were truly God-inspired

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

Summer Plans is a really fun and enjoyable book to read. I enjoyed the humor throughout the book, starting at the very beginning with Callie moving in with her brother, and finding out that her childhood crush was living with her brother as well. She is suppose to be at her brothers to find God’s will for her life, but even though she thought ex-boyfriend Kyle was God’s will, what was Ryan doing here? This was a big puzzle to Callie!

Most of the characters in this book are Christians, and their faith is a big part of their everyday life. And just like eveyone, their life took some twists and turns that challenges their faith, and these characters are anything but perfect. But I do appreciate the way the author weaves the Christian life so vividly in the lives of her characters. For anyone looking for a good Christian Romance, this is one you will want to read!

I received this book from Reading with Audra 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:

Karin wrote her first novel in 2007 to cope with her husband’s cancer diagnosis (no worries – he’s cancer free now!). With the support and encouragement of her family, she submitted that manuscript. That particular manuscript has not been published yet, but Summer Plans and Other Disasters, her first published book, releases in September 2018.

Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction stories with a healthy dose of romance, but she’s also expanded her repertoire: she writes feature stories for the local paper, copy material for businesses, and blog posts for herself and others. She even edits (offering copy editing, fiction editing, and critiques through Write Now Editing Services) and teaches (she’s the Substantive Fiction Editing instructor for the PEN Institute and can be found around the country teaching writing and editing courses at conferences and at her local college).

When Karin’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys cooking and baking. She plays the piano and sings (the key of E, please). She kayaks with her husband in the summer, watches football in the fall (Go Blue!), and enjoys Christmas lights all winter long. Shy but extroverted, Karin adores her nieces and nephew and loves spending time with her family.

 

Learn more about Karin at: karinbeery.com.

You can also follow her on:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Click here to read chapter 1 from
Summer Plans and Other Disasters.

Dangerous to Know by Megan Whitson Lee

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About the book:

“Don’t look at him, dear. He’s dangerous.”

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Isabella Bankmill seeks a husband whose character matches her list of requirements. The man must share her faith, but he must also possess a certain je ne sais quoi. The enigmatical Lord Gregory Gordon Bromby—London’s newest literary sensation—certainly possesses the latter. Despite a deformed foot and alarming views on politics and religion, he attracts the ladies in droves.

Haunted by his past and overwhelmed by his newfound celebrity status, Lord Bromby’s obsession with his own doom leads to reckless behavior. When he is stalked by an obsessive aristocrat seeking an elopement, Bromby’s friends urge him to marry a suitable lady as soon as possible. Intrigued by Isabella’s convictions and hoping to avoid further scandal, Bromby proposes to Isabella.

Isabella also receives an offer of marriage from kind-hearted philanthropist, David Beringer—a man equally devoted to his faith—but she only has eyes for Lord Bromby. Blinded by his talent and good looks, Isabella convinces herself that he’s not as dangerous as everyone claims. But when Bromby’s world violently collides with hers, Isabella must decide once and for all who is lord of her life. God or Bromby?

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Let me just say, Lord Gregory Bromby is definitely not my favorite person. He so wants to portray himself and a noble gentleman but he is totally anything but. I found him rude, obnoxious, unfaithful and so very thoughtless, with deception with every way and word. Isabella Bankmill, on the other hand, comes from a strong Christian family, is strong in her faith in God. But Isabella finds herself attracted to Bromby despite what and who he is.

Author Meghan Lee does a great job of creating characters that will pop right off the pages of her books. The situations in this book were so intense that it was difficult to put the book down at times for me. And as the choices Isabella made start to unravel, Ms Lee takes the opportunity to show what can happen with a Christian is married to an unbeliever. As Bromby real self comes to surface, the ugly darkness of their marriage is not what Isabella hopes for, but has to face. I appreciate the biblical truths and promises throughout this book and the way the author weaves this all into the story to make it sound real, instead of something unbelievable. I encourage readers who are looking for a nice clean story to check this one out.

I received this book from Reading with Audrey 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:

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Megan Whitson Lee is an anglophile and a recovering runaway. Over the years, she escaped to England and Australia before finally settling down in the US. These days, she lives a relatively quiet life as a wife, a mom of two greyhounds, an editor for Pelican Book Group, and a high school English teacher. She now escapes by writing novels instead of jumping on planes to foreign countries. Her novel, Captives, won the 2016 Director’s Choice Award and was a finalist for a Selah Award in the women’s contemporary fiction category at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

Megan writes women’s contemporary thrillers and historical fiction featuring characters standing at the crossroads of major life decisions.

Website:              www.meganwhitsonlee.com
Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/meganwhitsonlee/
Twitter:                https://twitter.com/MeganWhitsonLee
Instagram:           https://www.instagram.com/meganwlee1/
Pinterest:            https://www.pinterest.com/megan_whitson/

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