Thursday, April 30, 2015

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore

This book was written early in Beth's writing ministry. It was published back in April 2002. Loved the fact that I was now reading it in April 2015. I have admired Beth for years and her penned words have grown me in so many ways. It's wonderful to know that she is helping to shape me into who God has created me to be. 

In the introduction Beth shares that she was moved by the Spirit to write this book and it came together very quickly. I love the fact that Beth just doesn't thrown down words or use her thoughts. She relies on the Spirit to move her and to guide her pen as her passion for Jesus is revealed. 

When we think of seduction we automatically think of sex. There is so much more to seduction. Satan is king of seduction. What are we to do? Learn how to protect ourselves, build boundaries, and be aware of all Satan is capable of doing. 

As Christians we often think Satan can't touch us. That's not true. In one of my favorite chapters in this book, Beth brings to light how Satan asked permission to sift Peter and he couldn't touch Job without God's permission. Satan can't touch our soul once we are saved, but he can bring havoc in the strongholds where we allow him room in our lives. 

"Satan has to gain God's permission to wage an all-out war upon one of His redeemed." 

"Anytime we are loaded down with sin we are game for seduction."

"First, our weaknesses and areas of ignorance are huge vulnerabilities  to seduction, which can quickly lead to sins committed inadvertently."

"After catching his prey off guard, then the enemy does all he can to make the victim feel completely trapped, but as we'll discover, he can't keep up the facade indefinitely."

"Remember, he's simply after whatever works."

"Be very careful, however, not to dream of giving Satan more credit than he is due. While he is tremendously potent, armed, and dangerous, he is not the equal of the Most High God."

"At our strongest moments we are no match for him. The Almighty Three-in-One is the only one who can overpower Satan. We walk in victory Christ won for us only when we are "strong in the Lord and in His mighty power" (Eph. 6:10)."


This book is divided into three sections, The Warning, The Watchman, and The Way Home. In each chapter Beth brings the Word of God to the pages, shows us where we can become weak in our awareness, how to be strong in the Lord, and how we can live a life of hope and restoration. 

Something she taught me in these pages is that I cannot just cover up my past and pretend it doesn't exist. Satan knows my past and he knows just what to use to attack me today. I have to surrender my past and give it up to Jesus, trusting Him and believing in His redeeming love and forgiveness. 

"You need to know how to proceed from where you are now to where God wants you to go. You need to know that God is good and right. Just like mine and countless others, your own vision, perception, and estimation have failed you. You need the help of wise others so you can improve your sight and awareness. You also need to know how and why you took a wrong way." 

"You see, the very nature of a satanic scheme is that it is secretive and cunning. It is meant to trap the unsuspecting."

"Seduction is a from of oppression, of course, but it's a very sly scheme intended to catch us off guard, pitched with mind-boggling velocity from a direction we were not expecting. Seduction means the demonic trickery of a professional liar. If you'll allow me to put it this way, seduction is Satan at his best. He's looking for the trickiest means of getting inside our walls, and I doubt he considers anything a greater accomplishment than the broken wall of a devout believer."

This book is superb in every possible way. It's a book that every believer needs to read. There is so much highlighted in my book. It's one I will go back to again. Truly, this is one of my favorite books I've been blessed to read and review of Beth Moore. She teaches us how we can seduce proof our lives with Biblical knowledge, prayer, and allowing the Spirit to live within us moment by moment. 

This book was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Beth Moore is a writer and teacher of best-selling books and Bible studies whose public speaking engagements carry her all over the United States. A dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters, Moore lives in Houston, Texas, where she is president and founder of Living Proof Ministries.

Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins

This novel ROCKED!! Okay, Brandilyn Collins always gives the reader storytelling at it's very best. She grabs the imagination and pulls the reader into another dimension. I always LOVE her novels, especially her series, but his novel really had me pondering the thought of what would I be doing if I were the main character, Lisa Newberry. 

Lisa Newberry is a woman in her late twenties. Life has become unimaginable. Tragedy has struck over and over again in her life. She's lost, at the end of her rope. She wants to just give up. Trying to make it through another day seems to be too much for her. 

Here's the gist of the story, without giving any details away. She's depressed. Who wouldn't be after going through all she has been through! A new trial has come along and Lisa has been accepted to try this chip in her brain. It's a Double Blind placebo, hence the title. But hang with me. There's so much more to the title!

So, Lisa goes into all this blind. She has no idea what's about to happen. She's coming from tragedy and about to experience a whole new kind of fear. All she knows for sure is that she wants fixed and fixed now. So much goes wrong and for that info you will have to read the novel!! 

Here's why I enjoyed this novel so much. We are not at all unlike Lisa. We want a quick fix and when we are hurting and not sure how much more of life we can take we are going to do whatever it takes, whatever the risk, to get better right now!! 

I'm not sure I'd allow someone to place a chip in my brain, but I'm not in that position. There are all kinds of secrets going on beyond what Lisa is privy to. She thought she was living the unimaginable, but now she is really floating in the unknown and she is terrified, but that was the risk she was willing to take. She just didn't expect what was to happen next. She was too trusting of the people who were wanting her to do the double blind placebo. 

This is what Brandilyn does best. She makes the reader ponder. She lights the imagination and gives the reader room to take off on their own journey. Makes me ponder the idea of how many people would line up to receive the Mark of the Beast, how many people are so trusting and believe whatever they are told because they are in search of something that lead them out of their pain and bring easiness to life.  As a people we are so wanting that we are willing to do whatever, no matter the cost. Without our Guide and faith to lead us through the times that seem so far from hope we will continue to slip into a life of nothing more than a continued seeking in the wrong places. 

See, Lisa wasn't trusting God anymore. She went searching elsewhere for all she needed. After life hit her hard she was giving up on everything. Now she is looking for people who will believe her, but this unimaginable story unfolds she found herself in a place that is far worse. 

It is the one woman who she's been away from for a very long time that brings her to a place of faith and peace. Lisa has been desperate her life for something to make sense. As her journey unfolds before us we travel with her as she experiences the unexpected, but finds that God has never once left her alone. 

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is a three-time American Christian  Fiction Writers Carol Award winner and has received Inspirational  Readers’ Choice and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice honors. Brandilyn  and her family have homes in California and Idaho.

Dark Justice by Brandilyn Collins

Brandilyn Collins is the queen of suspense! She takes the reader on a roller coaster ride. It's fast, enjoyable, and you wanna get in line to ride again and again! 

This was a quick read for me. Once I started turning pages I was hooked! That's why she's known for her Seatbelt Suspense reads! 

She allows the reader to ride along on the journey. A front row seat to all that's up ahead. She has the gift of allowing the reader to embark on a mystery and one that isn't solved so easily. That's why the reader wants to continue turning pages through the night until the last page has been turned. 

I love how Brandilyn Collins brings stories to light that aren't far from the imagination. She allows the reader to ponder, what if..

Who knew taking a different route home could bring such trouble? That's where the story begins. With Hannah and her mother taking a road that isn't so familiar. Driving up on accident, the FBI at the door, and secrets that will unfold take the reader on a  journey into a world Hannah had no idea existed. Not only is her mother not safe, her daughter is in danger too. 

Oh, the limits a mother will go to keep her family safe! Hannah has no idea who she can trust, and is finding it difficult to hide from the trouble that has attached itself to her and her family. I LOVED this suspense read. I enjoyed the pace and the plot that you too will uncover as you pick up this novel!! 

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is a three-time American Christian  Fiction Writers Carol Award winner and has received Inspirational  Readers’ Choice and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice honors. Brandilyn  and her family have homes in California and Idaho.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On Shifting Sand by Allison Pittman

Allison Pittman took me on a journey through the Dust Bowl, introducing me to characters that were vividly real. She goes below the surface of face and brings us directly to the heart of each character. We not only meet them, but are able to live with them through the storytelling that brings emotion to the forefront. On Sifting Sand takes us back in history to a time many today have not been introduced. 

This novel did take off a bit slow for me, but as I continued to read it made perfect sense. At the pace that this story flows allows us to connect with the characters and their emotions. This is a beautifully written novel. 

I love how the author brings to light the time of the Dust Bowl and the lives of this family who are not only facing the destruction of the weathering on land, but in the heart. When we do not build upon the Rock, shifting sand can take us to a place of dry and weary land. Just as the weather brings in storms, they can only prepare for what they see coming. In their lives these characters have gone through the motions for so long that the heart is left to discern life unexpected. 

In this novel we see what can happen when we allow temptation to turn to sin. Oh, how easily Nola's thoughts turned to sin. At a young age her mother died and she didn't acquire love and affection from her father. Her husband is a pastor. A man of great faith. A man who sees hope in everything. But Nola isn't seeing this great hope her husband sees. She feels alone. Her husband is affectionate and her children are a great blessing, but something is missing. 

Her husband's friend comes to stay. He arrives in a place where most want to leave. Without sharing too much of the story with you, Nola finds something in this friend, but it still is not enough. 

This is what I loved about this novel. Nola didn't feel she was good enough. That's where Satan entered and planted a stronghold in her mind. We see her battle with finding forgiveness and peace and learning to be fulfilled in life no matter where life takes her. 

Each of the characters in this novel are well balanced and are brought to life before our eyes. I found myself weeping for Nola. This is a beautiful story of finding that we are loved by our Jesus beyond our wildest imagination and there isn't any place on earth we can go where He isn't found. 

This novel was a gift from Tyndale for sharing my review with you. 

Allison Pittman has penned more than twelve novels, including her series set in the Roaring Twenties-All for a Son, All for a Story, and All for a Sister. Allison resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family-Stella. For more information, visit www.allisonpittman.com 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Calling on All Who Are Willing

Two friends take a hike through the woods on a Saturday afternoon. They are both loaded with filled backpacks. They brought everything needed for the hike. The sun is above them and the exploration ahead of them. But the unexpected happens. A storm erupts. The winds howl. The rains pour. The sun no longer shines above them. They find a small cavern in hopes it will bring them safety. 

This storm isn't going anywhere. As the lightening crashes and the thunder shakes they are thankful neither is alone. They have each other. These friends sit side by side, ready to protect one another. Each has brought along different items the days journey. One is carrying the drinks and the other the food. One has a flashlight and the other the first-aid kit. They put thought into what they would need for the day. But neither expecting the storm. 

Nightfall comes and the storm increases in strength. The path they took to the cavern has now collapsed as it was rushed with flashing water. Even if the storm lets up, there is no path to lead them back. Nothing looks the same as it did that morning they started out. Everything changed when the storm hit. 

They didn't pack for an extra day. Their clothes are soaked, their water gone, and their picnic lunch eaten. They snuggle in tight for the night. No stars to give light. Stuck. But not alone. Thank God neither is alone. 

Morning breaks and the sun peeks out beyond the cloud cover. The birds are singing. The break of dawn has brought them a new hope. Together they will find their way back. It may not be the road traveled, but together they will find their way. They have hours ahead of them. Trekking through these covered woods isn't going to be easy. 

The heavy rain had not only caused flooding, but slides that covered much of any path they once seen as clear. One friend slips and down she goes, crying out in pain, as now her ankle is creating it's own storm. The other friend lifts her upright, takes her pack on one shoulder and on the other her limping friend. The load of the pack is heavy as is the extra weight of her friend. They began this journey walking side by side and they will finish side by side. 

This is what friends do. They come to the aid of the other. They walk the journey, no matter how heavy the load. The love they share is a bond that cannot be broken. It's the love of Jesus that binds that bond. That three fold strand makes it strong and mighty. 

Sitting in Sunday school the question is asked, "Among you ladies who would give their life for their friend?" Sitting there expecting hands to rise, only one rose. This woman speaks and says, "If my friend was in danger there is no question." This woman didn't expect to see a class full of women sitting there with no hands raised. The next question, "Why wouldn't you give you're life for your friend?" One answers, "Well, I have a family to think about. I have grandchildren." Another, "My life is valuable." This woman who raised her hand was blown away as her friend, her great friend, wouldn't even think about dying for her.

So the question remains, "What lengths would you go to for your friend, your sister in Christ? We do what we can, but we do what's easy for us, right? There will be no backpack carrying for me. No jumping in front of a car to save my friend. It might cost me too much. I may have to give to much. Because in the end, isn't our life more valuable? 

As that Sunday school class sat there before their teacher and hushed lips, she asked, "If a car was rushing toward your friend would you push her out of the way?" Only one raised her hand. One in an entire class. As she spoke all eyes stared upon her. "Why wouldn't I give my life for my friend? I have family too. A husband and children. I love my life. But I love my friend. If I'm not willing to give my life for my friend, then my life doesn't mean much at all. My life is of no more value than my friend's life."

It was this class that woke up this woman to the reality that not everyone is in the giving mood. We give, but we give easy. We give until it costs us something. Until we aren't comfortable is when the giving ends where it began. 

Someone else can do it. There's another more qualified to help then me. I'm too scared. What if I get hurt? That's a lot of time to give and I have enough on my plate. Sound familiar? Just think if our Savior said, "Nope, I'm done here in the garden. There's no way My body is going to be hung on that cross for the world." He was willing. He gave ALL He had to give. Is any less expected of us who love Him? We can't expect from others what we ourselves are not willing to give. Of course, we aren't Jesus, but if we love Him, we must love others. 

What is the job of the church? Is it just to share the gospel? When the church doors open are the people to just file in, take a seat, hear the message, and go home? Aren't we to hear messages of hope, love, and faith? Being a Christian isn't attending church. Being a Christian is believing in the Savior. But it goes beyond just believing. It's suppose to be beyond the church doors, into the world, sharing love and giving of ourselves, not because we have to, but because we are so in love with Jesus, we want to serve with everything we have. This world around us isn't going to see much of Jesus unless we show them. We show the world who Jesus is through love. 

It's carrying that extra load. It's aiding that friend in need. It's giving until it hurts. It's realizing our life is only as important as the one next to us. Brothers and sisters stand up for one another. They band together when one is in need. We each have been given gifts, each extraordinary, each to be used willingly to further the gospel of Christ. His gospel is about love, giving, and sacrifice. 

Are you willing to carry the load? Are you willing to give until it hurts? If a friend was walking by your side and an out of control car was coming straight for them, would you even think twice to push them out of the way? 

In church we have prayer requests. We allow brothers and sisters to share of their need. We hear stories of God moving in unexpected ways. Friends, we have to go beyond the request. We have to move on their behalf so that need can be met. We can't sit and wait for someone else to give. I've heard people say, "That isn't the churches job. The church is suppose to preach the gospel. Not everything belongs inside church". Our job as the {church} is to love. Love is action. Love is coming together to find a way. It's living out the love of Christ until it hurts. It's not leaving one to the wayside. It's not picking and choosing to who should be helped. Name and wealth have no business inside the church. When we stop reaching out and serving we stop being the church.

We could be in our sister's very shoes the next week as unexpected storms arrive. What then? I can tell you exactly what. We would want the love and support of our brothers and sisters of the church. We would expect it, because that's what we would do for another, right? 

It's time we show up and act, not just speak up and sit idle. We do too much of that. We like to talk about what we would do, but when action is needed, where are we? We are busy doing our own thing and expecting others to step in and do what's needed. 

Every day we are given an opportunity to make a difference. Too often we let those opportunities fall to the wayside. The Spirit is to be our guide. He's our Compass in this ever-changing world of unexpected storms. 

Those two friends? They made it out. Half way through the wooded area there were others there searching. They were there to guide them back to safe harbor. Three days they were stuck in those woods trying to find their way out. They were exhausted, but they had One before them leading them to others who would give aid to their safety. 

That woman in Sunday school class has never had to give her life for her friend, but still today she knows without a doubt what she would do. When we have a Savior leading us, there's nothing to fear of the unknown, because He's already been there. 

When we love mighty, we give mighty. Where there is no love there is no giving. This world is filled with people unwilling to give beyond easy. God is calling for us to walk with Him, serve in ways we know isn't possible without Him. This is the church today. This is who we are called to be. 

We are to endure, to come along side by side, to give physical, emotional, and spiritual need to our sisters in Christ. If we don't love on one another how will the world see the love of Jesus? We aren't to just be there for one another in the good and joyous times. Not just those nights of laughter. But those nights when morning doesn't seem possible. When the load is too heavy for one to bear. For the person whose life is controlled by the Holy Spirit, this is the person who will go the distance, who will stand by another when all seems lost. In these moments of coming together we overcome weakness. The strength of many lifts up the weary soul. 

It takes courage to move on behalf of another. It takes trust in our Lord to show us the need and the provision. We can't always see the solution, but the Spirit is there to guide us if we will just follow. As the {church} we come together, each with their own gifts, prepared to serve, and willing to give. This is Jesus at work in us. 

When we make the choice to love on people, to give and to serve, it gives them courage to move forward. They aren't alone. They know without a doubt that friends will join in the fight. They will be there on the dark days when the storm clouds are approaching. They know that their friends aren't going to leave when it gets too difficult or too much is asked. This is when we truly see Jesus move in the church! 

"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:12-13

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load." Galatians 6:2-5

"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all." 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

30 Pieces of Guilt

We always point our finger at Judas with ease don't we? He's the one who kissed our Savior with dishonor. He's the one who deceived and betrayed our Savior. What a coward, right? I mean, did he even know the meaning of love and valor? What did brotherhood mean to him? Was it that easy to trade his Savior for thirty pieces of silver, the cost of a slave? We would never do such a thing, right? 

"While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: "The One I kiss, He's the One; arrest Him!" So, he went right up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. "Friend," Jesus asked him, "why have you come?" Matthew 26:47-50

Judas is the bad guy we judge with anger. How could at one moment he break bread with the Son of man and the next turn him over with a kiss? A kiss was to mean respect and affection, but Judas turned it into hypocrisy. Something we never do, right? 

"Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that he had been condemned, was full of remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood," He said. "What's that to us?", they said. "See to it yourself!" So he threw the silver into the sanctuary and departed. Then he went and hanged himself." Matthew 27:3-5 

I've been pondering Judas. We like to throw him to the side and not really care about him, right? I mean, look what he did. But my pondering leads me to think we all can have a bit of Judas thick under our skin. 

Of course we don't really know what he was thinking before he decides to betray Jesus. We can know the temptation. We are all tempted daily in some way or another. It's how we act on that temptation that matters. What we first must understand is that God has all sovereignty. He knew what Judas would do this day. He had foreknowledge. He knows our past, present, and future. There isn't anything God is shocked about or finds unexpected. But what we must know is that Judas still choose his actions on this day. They weren't forced. No one made him do it. We all have free will. Judas could have changed his mind and fought the temptation he was facing. 

"The chief priests took the silver and said, "It's not lawful to put it into the temple treasury, since it is blood money." So they conferred together and bought the potter's field with it as a burial place for foreigners. Therefore that field has been called "Blood Field" to this day.Then what was spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: They took the 30 pieces of silver, the price of Him whose price was set by the Israelites, and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed me." Matthew 27:6-10

Repentance involves a change in the way we think and act. It results in a change in lifestyle. Remorse may accompany the admission of wrongdoing, but it can also be present when nothing wrong has been done. It focuses on the consequences or effects of one's actions on others, but does not necessarily imply that those consequences were caused by wrongdoing. Judas was remorseful, but if he had been repentant he would have turned back to Jesus. So this is where my pondering sits and is stirring. 

"Jesus replied to them, "The healthy don't need a doctor, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31-32

Judas made the wrong decision. After he had kissed Jesus there was no going back. Jesus was going before the Sanhedrin. But Judas had the choice to now go back to Jesus. He had the choice to ask for forgiveness. This is where I think we can relate to Judas. Did he think there was no going back for him? Did he think he crossed the line of no return? No forgiveness and no love for him ever again? Did he think Jesus would not accept him because of his choices? Later we see Jesus and Peter come together after Peter had denied Jesus three times. 

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12

Oh, the sins of my life. Jesus bore them all on the cross. On the cross He held them ALL! I wasn't even born yet, but Jesus held each and every sin of mine. He held all sin, past, present, and future, on the cross. This is why His Father could not look upon Him. It wasn't that He didn't love His Son. It's because He could not look upon the sin. 

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

How many of us have thought that Jesus would never love us because of our pasts? How many of us have sinned and turned away from him with choices that took us in a valley we wished we had never entered? That is exactly where Satan wants us to be! Separated from our Lord and Savior. But friends, there's a better way than running. His sweet grace was waiting for Judas and it too us waiting for us.  

"The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:20-21

Friends, God's grace is ALWAYS bigger than our sin. There is nothing we do that goes unseen. He knows us by name. His love is bigger than our past. His forgiveness reaches beyond the depths we can comprehend. There is never a time in our life when we cannot go to Jesus. He wants us to come as we are. He wants to love us, to forgive us, and to restore us. 

Just what would have happened if Judas made the choice to go to Jesus instead of the tree and a rope? Just what if instead of turning away in his sin, he turned to the grace of Jesus? He still had a choice. But friends, how many of us have walked in the shoes of Judas? If we think for a moment we don't betray our Jesus we are wrong. We are sinners in need of grace. Our choices matter. That matter to Jesus. Can you see Judas running? Can you see his fear and his heart over his choices? He was remorseful of his actions, but he didn't turn to Jesus in repentance. Oh, how many of us our in such a need? Friends, our Jesus is waiting. He's waiting with patience and love for us to turn to Him and away from our sin. His love is greater than our sin. Oh, come sinner, oh come. All who are weary, come. (Matthew 11:28-30)

"Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn't experience any loss from us. For godly grief produces repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death. For consider how much diligence this very thing-this grieving as God wills-has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter." 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

I love this Missouri girl, Irene Hannon! She ROCKS with a pen in hand. I was so excited when I knew she was coming out with a new series, The Men of Valor. I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to read and review all of Irene's books, her series and those that stand alone. I have LOVED each and every one! She's that girl that I get excited about when I hear of a new novel coming out. I know I'll never be disappointed. 

She's the writer I seem to connect with on so many levels. She's a Missouri girl who places her characters smack dab in all the places I'm familiar with and love. She writes with such passion that the reader is able to connect with their senses. She gives the reader all they need to really know the characters mind, heart, and soul. Characters that are easy to love. The reader wants to see where they've been and what's in their future. But something Irene has that's such a gift is that she's able to share just enough and then she gives the reader room to use their imagination and ponder the scene. 

She writes easy. The conversations flow. The connections the characters have are believable, but yet gives the reader room to dream. The story line is like a ticking time bomb. She entwines love and romance around a plot of murders and secrets. Her characters are not only enjoyable, but those in which we can relate to in matters of the heart. She has the gift to invite the reader as the journey unfolds the ride increases in speed. Just about the time you get comfortable she introduces a new character or a new twist to the plot. She is definitely a roller coaster kind of writer. 

Oh, the secrets we keep and the secrets we hope to uncover. Irene writes suspense like no other writer. She adds her own personal flair that makes her writing stand out. She brings to light love and romance, but puts in those twists of murder and secrets. As her characters uncover the truths about those they are hunting they uncover secrets kept in their own hearts, buried deep for years. 

This new series has me intrigued. I LOVED these characters. So well developed and the plot is exciting as it twists and turns. Most of all I admire how faith plays a roll in Irene's characters. We see these characters grow, leave behind yesterday, and experience a new beginning that is so unexpected for them. 

I  can't wait to get to know the next characters. If you're new to Irene, this is a tremendous place to start! 

This novel was a gift from Revell for sharing my review with you. 

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women's fiction novels, including the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. 


The Legacy by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

The Legacy is a part of the Restoration Series by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley. This is the last book in this series and gives a great look into the future legacy for this family that draws you close and invites you in to journey with them. You can take a peek at my reviews for all the books in this series, The Dance, The Promise, and The Desire

It's a comparison to the writing style and stories included in the Karen Kingsbury Baxter Family Redemption series. Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley come together and allow us to a part of this family. To see the beauty and the ugly. The trials and the grace. This family is real and one we can all relate to in one way or another. 

The writing flows easily as the reader falls in the love with the people in these pages. Why? Because they could be us. These two writers have now penned another gem to this collection. It could be read as a stand alone and you would enjoy it immensely, but to read it as it is written, in a series, will give you the best benefit. 

Here we follow up with the youngest in the family, Doug Anderson. Oh, how I could relate to his character. As a parent watching a child spread their wings, leave home, and stumble their way away from Jesus, only to return just as the prodigal son. But this isn't easy to watch. It takes a praying parent, full of faith and patience. This is what we find in Doug's mom. Oh, how I love her character. Doug's dad struggles with the 'what if I'd only' battle where he places the blame of Doug's life choices upon his own shoulders. 

We see the struggle of a young man finding his own, moving away from all he has ever known, leaving the friends of his youth, to trying to fit in with the crowd. Sound familiar? Doug's choices lead to more choices in which he can't turn away from the ownership. This is huge! This is where he grows and finds the sweet redemption and grace of God. 

He knows what is right, but yet he chooses to do the opposite. Good and evil on each shoulder. This is what each of us face daily. This is why I love this book and series so very much. Valuable life lessons within these pages! 

I pretty much knew where the story was going after the first few chapters, but that didn't derail me from enjoying it. In fact, it's the little things that these writers place in that get to the heart of the reader. I have loved the journey with this family and I know you too will love it just as much!

This novel was a gift from Revell for sharing my review with you. 

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of many books, including The Dance, The Promise, and The Desire with Gary Smalley. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 50 years and live in Missouri.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Ladybug Love Kinda of Weekend

You gotta love ladybugs, right? What's not to love? They're super cute all painted red with black dots. Cuties that tickle. I have a granddaughter that has caught her Nan's love for these little gems that make a heart smile. 

If you were to walk into our home right now you would find an abundance of them in the corners of the house, crawling on the curtains and finding their way to the nearest warm spot of sunshine. 

My granddaughter noticed these little crawlers last year and was terrified of them. If Nan held held a tiny crawler she was just fine. But don't dare place one on her. Screams would fill the air. She grew a bit more brave. On Thanksgiving I could put one on her dress and she would let it crawl about, but it wasn't allowed to go very far. Now she is in LOVE with them. No more fear for Peyton. 

She recently came out for a weekend stay over and was busy rescuing these little ladybugs. I can tell you that her Papa and I were exhausted from reaching to the ceiling and crawling behind furniture to tenderly place them in our hands so we could give them to Peyton. She spent hours. Yes, hours, having a hand filled with ladybugs, running through the house to the front door to release them. 

It was precious. At the front door she would step out, hold out her hand and say, "There you go, little ladybug, spread your wings and fly. You're free." As they would open their little shelled coverings and spread their wings she would giggle and say, "See, Nan, see, there they go. Flying off to another place to find happiness." Did I mention my granddaughter is four? 

Once she freed them she would say, "Come on, Nan. We gotta go find some more", and off she would go with me raising behind her, but after a few passing hours I was moving slower and slower behind her. That's when she'd reach for my hand and say, "Nan, come on. We gotta get'em so they can fly free". 

We would find a few and sometimes they were moving and others they were not. Not every little ladybug made it through the cold. So, she would pick up a ladybug, hold it in her hand and with her tiny finger try to push it along, she would say, "Nan, what's wrong with her? She's not moving?" So, in as gentle way that I could I would tell her that it wasn't going to fly anymore. Her precious heart thought about that. She says, "Poor little thing. Okay, let's find some that are alive!!" LOL 

So there we are in my warm bedroom surrounded by ladybugs. She picks up a painted gem and she isn't moving. I tell her, "Sweetie, sometimes we have to have patience. It takes a bit for them to start moving again." Peyton isn't one to have a LOT of patience. When she finds them she wants them ready to go to the door with her. So, we find another and she isn't moving at all. I'm thinking she's dead and how I'm going to explain that one to her, but you know what she tells me? "Nan, we just gotta give them some time. Just some time, Nan. Let's see how it goes". She's four! Sure enough, the little one in hand would get her little legs moving and Peyton would squeal, "See, Nan! See! I told ya she would be okay. All she needed was time!" 

Oh, the lessons this little lady teaches me. Oh, if we could only live with the heart of a child. The sweet love we would spread across the world. Kindness, love, patience, and tenderness. 

Why can't we be that way with people? We expect so much, but give so little. Where is our hope? We give up on people so quickly, don't we? It's amazing. These little painted critters draw to the sunshine and warmth. Isn't this what people need and want? Where's our hospitality toward others? Sure, for those we love it's easy to open our home, but what about the unwanted visitors? I mean, not everyone is ladybug crazy. Many rid their homes of them. We do this to people too. 

Peyton understood they wanted to be free to spread their wings and fly. She was giving them what they needed to do so. How often do we truly open our homes to others, give aid to those in need, and help others spread their wings to the freedom they can find in Christ? 

Love. This is what's missing. Simply giving our time to others. Peyton was willing to spend as much time needed and believe me when I say, was willing. Her heart was in it all the way!! Her Nan and Papa weren't so willing as the afternoon arrived and we were still on the hunt to free ladybugs. But that's it, isn't it? We get used to doing our own thing. We don't pay much attention to those around us. We like to be comfy and let others just be and find their way on their on.

Peyton was showing these little painted, red ladies to freedom. She would stand on the front deck and open her little hands hoping they would fly. If they didn't fly right away, she would set them on the deck banister and watch them to make sure they finally took off in the wind. Oh, she would stand there with arms open wide, smile on her face, and watch them as they lifted higher and higher. This is the kind of woman I want to be. This is the Jesus that lives in us! 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." 
Galatians 5:22-23

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have love you."
John 15:12

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." 
Galatians 6:2

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by do doing some have unwittingly entertained angels." 
Hebrews 13:2


Holman NKJV Study Bible Personal Size Edition Espresso/Teal LeatherTouch by B&H Publishing Group

This just may be the cutest study Bible that has ever arrived at my door! I know there are many who care nothing about what the outside of their Bible looks like. That's just great. A big genuine black leather Bible is cool too!! But I enjoy my Bible expressing who I am. There are so many colors and styles to choose from now. Having a Bible that expresses us is a great way to catch the eye of someone and a tool for us to share the Word with them! It's pretty awesome when someone says, "Hey, what kind of Bible is that? I've never seen one like that before".

It's so awesome to be able to go to B&H Publishing Group and see the many different translations, styles, sizes, print, and colors in from which to choose. In just the personal size there are sixteen different styles and colors to choose from, so go, take a peek and choose one that fits your style and need.

Okay, so like I shared, this is the personal size. The content is exactly the same as in the regular size NKJV study Bible. The only difference is the size is smaller and the print is a bit smaller. There too is the compact size to choose from and that is even smaller. Both great choices for being on the go and easy carry. I have a large print study Bible and although I LOVE it for home study it is big. So this size is perfect for carrying to church. 

This is a fairly new study Bible. It was published in September 2014. I do want to share that they are always publishing new styles and colors to choose from. There are a few new editions coming out in July and August that has me super excited. The HCSB Journaling Bible is one and they too are coming out with a large print women's study Bible. Really, take a peek. You will find the perfect Bible just for you!

This a full-color Bible. The maps are gorgeous and bright. I LOVE the study notes and also the Bullet Notes. They are huge in understanding those words we often see and kind of skip over. There are essays and articles that help aid in study. Another huge LOVE for me are the color photos of places and artifacts that help me envision the Word all the more. The introductions are valuable and give us a great timeline and understanding of who the writer is, where it was written, who it's written to and the meaning of the message. The concordance is excellent. Truly, there is so much that is jam-packed in this study Bible. It's extraordinary! There really isn't another out on the market quite like the Holman study Bible. 

I love everything about this study Bible! The Word of Christ is printed in red. Just one more thing I love about this study Bible. I could go on and on about this study Bible. It's one that you can truly feel comfortable with trusting and knowing that it gives you everything you need for study. 

This would make a wondrous Easter gift for yourself or for one you love. You can find it on Amazon too!

This study Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 
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