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Book Review: Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett

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I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

 Where better to rebuild and face one s fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she ll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn t anticipate finding new love. Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert s widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed. Ruby and Gerald s fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they re striving to cure. Together they must ask is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?”

My Review: 

My very favorite book has a setting much like this one, where the town (Chicago) was completely burned to the ground and the characters worked together to bring restoration back to their home, so I thought that I would give this book a try in hopes that it would be as good as my favorite. I was not disappointed at all with Beyond the Ashes and in fact I have a new favorite book as well as a favorite author! Karen Barnett has a beautiful writing style that holds you in place as you read her carefully researched work of art. I absolutely loved her characters and the fact that there is no promise of a “happily-ever-after” just made it that much better. I am going to be (hopefully) buying the first book and can’t wait until the next book in this series comes out!

Thank you for reading my review and have a blessed day.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book Review: A Heart’s Betrayal by Colleen Coble

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I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Emmie finds shelter in the arms of a soldier, but her secret could drive them apart.

When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband’s home, she discovered a terrible truth. A woman she’s never met reveals that she and Emmie shared the same husband and that the bigamist had never divorced his first wife. The home and farm are not Emmie’s property after all.

Suddenly displaced and powerless, Emmie realizes she can’t stay in Wabash, Indiana, any longer. She makes for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning await her. But when she arrives, she discovers she’s carrying a child, conceived before her husband’s death. Was the new start she’d hoped for only a mirage?

At Fort Laramie, a soldier named Isaac Liddle begins to court Emmie, prompting her to wonder whether she could ever really be his–and whether she dares to tell him she is carrying another man’s baby.

My Review: 

A Heart’s Betrayal is book 4 to the Journeys of the Heart novella series by Colleen Coble and I have been reading and reviewing this whole series, one per month. While I am glad that the author finally took her focus off of the main character of the last 3 novellas, I have grown very tired of the setting and find it difficult to engage with the new main character. The writing is great, like always :-) but I just don’t care for the story-line nor the setting much anymore. The covers are all so beautifully designed and the colors pop out in such an eye-catching way that I just want these books to be on display 24-7! This semi-negative review will by no means stop me from supporting Colleen as some of her other books still remain as my favorites, I just do not care for this particular novella series. I will however continue to read and review the last two books because I am already committed to them :-)

Thanks for reading my review and have a blessed day!

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Romans 6:23: Summer Scripture Memorization Week #3 

Once again, I have always heard this verse but have had trouble remembering where to find it, so it has been semi-easy to memorize, which is good seeing as how I was at camp most of last week (which was awesome let me tell you!’). I still have to stop and really concentrate to recall this verse because I get it slightly mixed up with Romans 3:23, but hopefully the more I recite it the more quickly I will be able to recall it.

Romans 6:23 

“For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Chrsit Jesus our Lord.” 

What’s neat about this scripture is that it perfectly sums up the last two scriptures that we have been memorizing; John 3:16 and Romans 3:23. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” while John 3:16 tells us that God sent His Son Jesus to give eternal life to all that except Him. 

But when we single out this verse on its own, we can focus on two (really three) words of the scripture, “wages” and “free gift“. The definition of wages is more or less being paid for your services; or getting what you worked for; or getting what you deserve. So if the “wages of sin is death” then according to Romans 3:23 (For all have sinned…) we all deserve death. And not only death here on earth, but also death in eternity which is really just eternity away from God. That’s not really uplifting to think about. 

But notice that Paul didn’t even stop to let you think about it, he didn’t put a comma or anything in the sentence before immediately saying “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”. Free and gift are both pretty self explanatory so I won’t bother with the definitions, but you need to uderstand that the free gift that God gave us is completely contradicting what we are supposed to receive for our wages. And God does not hesitate to give it to whoever will take it. 

Most of us think of wages in a positve way (money, food, services, etc..) so it may be hard to think of wages in a negative way, but I assure you, there is one. Look back at the definitions that I gave; all of those can be turned around negatively. 1 You are being paid; ever heard the term “payback”? Yep. Being paid is not always a good thing. Getting what you worked for is pretty much the same as payment but it is more specific about the work you are doing. Is your work here on earth asking for the wages from this scripture? And then 3 is getting what we deserve. I think this one is looked at as both postive and negative pretty equally; you can deserve a vacation from hard work or deserve punishment from bad actions; in this case, we deserve punishment. 

But God freely gave us His Son as an “out” of that punishment and all we have to do to obtain it for ourselves is take the gift from His hands and say “thank you”. And as a bonus, we not only get to get out of our punishment, but we also get to spend eternity with our Father in companionship! Thats like your parents ungrounding you a week early AND taking you to go get ice cream in the same day! Only way better! 

Have you excepted God’s free gift? If you have excepted this amazing gift, what are you doing to show it? 

Starting today, our memory verse for the week is 2 Corinthians 5:17 and we have until next Sunday (July 5) to memorize it. Its not too late to join in if you want to challenge yourself to memorize 10 new (or old) passages of scripture over the summer, the week of July 5th is a catch-up week so there will be no assigned scripture that week. 

If you missed the past two posts, here are the links, Week #1 (John 3:16) and Week #2 (Romans 3:23) 

Thank you all for reading! Have a blessed day! 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book Review: If you were me and lived in….China! by Carole P Roman 

  

I received this book from the author publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own. 

The Synopsis: 

Carole P. Roman’s award winning series has traveling again and this time it’s to East Asia to visit the People’s Republic of China. In this book, younger readers can learn about the wide variety of climate when they read about China’s vast size. They will begin their journey in China’s ancient capital, Beijing, where they will discover the Imperial Palace of the Forbidden City. 

Different regions of cuisine are discussed, highlighting the variety of styles and spices of food. Currency, sports, exciting tourist attractions, and a lovely description of the New Year Festivities are included in this introduction the beautiful land of China. 

My Review: 

I have very quickly become a fan of this author because of her heart to teach young children. If You Were Me and Lived in…China is a really cute book that even I enjoyed reading. There are a few sentences that young children can learn to say in Chinese and some really cool things to learn about the Chinese culture. The pictures are simple but yet they are easy to identify and then the writing is lots of fun and interactive with the readers. Children of all ages will enjoy reading this book and I recommend it especially to homeschooling parents who are studying China ;-) 

*Side note: This book also touches on the Chinese New Year and tells about the dances that the Chinese believe will drive away evil spirits so if you do not want your young children to learn about that just yet, which is totally understandable, you might just skip over that one page or stear clear of this book. 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Romans 3:23-Summer Scripture Memorization Week #2 

This week’s verse struck me as an interesting one to specifically memorize, yet as I thought about it, it makes sense to have this one with you as you travel through life. I know the verse word for word but I had to work to remember where to find it as well as to identify what the verse said when just given the book, chapter and verse. 

Romans 3:23- 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

Why should this be one of the first verses we memorize? It seems condeming and depressing; why should we know where to find this scripture as well as recite it with profession? I believe that this scripture should be in our hearts for the simple purpose of keeping us humble as well as giving us confidence. 

Many Christians tend to look at unbelievers as lower than themselves because the unbelievers haven’t yet been “saved”. Many Christians actually end up driving away those who don’t believe simply because they look at them like they are deseased, unholy, and stupid when they forget that they themselves were (and are) exactly that! Its like a butterfly making fun of a caterpiller because it hasn’t had time to transform! 

This verse says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Not just the ones who don’t know Him yet. Notice in the sentence that “all have sinned (past tense) and fall short (present tense).” Just because you know Christ as your Lord and Savior does not mean that this scripture doesn’t apply to you anymore. We have all sinned in our life but we will always still fall short of the glory of God even after our salvation; that is what makes His amazing love and forgiveness so powerful! 

The verse can also be taken another way and used as a confidence builder; “all have sinned”, not just you. No matter how bad you are, no matter how deeply rooted your sin is, everyone has sinned, yet Jesus still died for all the human race. So, when you sit back to think, “I’m not good enough for God.” You’re right. You’re not. No one is. That’s what makes His amazing love and forgiveness so powerful! 

So do you know Romans 3:23? If you don’t, are you going to make it a goal to memorize it? Does anyone else have something to share pertaining to this verse? 

Next week’s verse will be Romans 6:23 and we will start memorizing it Sunday, June 21. I will post my thoughts and progress on the verse towards the end of next week. Have a very blessed day! 

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

John 3:16-Summer Scripture Memorization Week #1

Summertime is a time greatly anticipated by pretty much everyone as the small break in the year to vacation, relax, have fun, or visit family. But summertime is also a great time to set goals because the pace of summer is slower and allows you to breath and concentrate.  

My church has set a goal of memorizing 10 scripture verses over the summer; one scripture a week. I’ve decided that in addition to memorizing the scriptures, I also want to meditate on the scriptures and share my thoughts here every week. I hope that you will join me this summer in reading my thoughts here or even challenging yourself to memorize scripture along with me; or maybe you already have a few memorized and have thoughts to share yourself, so please feel free to reblog any of these posts or comment as you feel lead :-) 

Last week’s (or rather two weeks ago) memory verse was John 3:16, and I can confidently say that I have this verse memorized in several different translations. Most of us probably do, but there is always that new way of looking at it. 

John 3:16 says: 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

In my Bible I have this verse highlighted and I wrote beside it, “God is a giver.” He gave His only Son. This scripture not only tells us that God loves us enough to sacrifice Himself so that we can be with Him for all of eternity, it tells us that God is a giving God and that He willingly chose to give us a second chance to be with Him. 

One of God’s many, many characteristics is that of being a giver, He loves to give His creation the desires of their hearts’ (Ps 37:4). So the question is, what is God trying to give you? Is He still trying to give you His Son or is He trying to give you something that you asked for, but in a different way than you thought He would do it? Why haven’t you taken hold of it yet?  What’s holding you back? 

Is John 3:16 already written on your heart and bound with you whereve you go? Do you have any other insights to add to my post? If so please comment! 

This week’s scripture (of which started June 14 and ends June 21) is Romans 3:23. Do you know it? I’ll try to get back on schedule (I started this a little late) and post Week #2 either tomorrow or Saturday :-) 

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book Review: The Fall of Lucifer by Wendy Alec 

  

The Synopsis: 

Three Archangels…

Three Brothers…

One turned renegade

A sweeping epic of origins and mysteries, the fall of Lucifer tells a tale older than the universe itself. Set in opulent palaces and frightening hell worlds, this is a timeless saga of doubt, of demons and angelic warriors, of obsessive love and treason, and of an ancient evil that knows no bounds.

Soon the universe itself will be rocked by war…

A war between three angelic brothers…

A war fought for the greatest prize in the universe…

That war for the race of men.

My Review: 

I had never before heard of this book, nor this author, until one of my youth leaders randomly came up to me and handed me the book (last week) saying that he thought that I would really enjoy it. I started the book the next day without even reading the synopsis (which is really strange…..) and finished it in roughly 5 hours. 

Having said that, The Fall of Lucifer is probably the best book that I have, or ever will read, aside from the Bible itself. The author opens your eyes and gives understanding to so many things that leaves you in a “lightbulb” moment. The book focuses on the three archanglels, princes of Heaven, Michael, Gabrial and Lucifer. The author fictionalizes the story of the universe as she uses scripture to guide the story as well as the attitude of the book. 

But, as a disclaimer, this book is still fiction and therefore you cannot take everything she writes as solid proof; nor do I think that the author would want you to. She still had to use her imagination for what heaven looked like, how certain things operated, and of course there are characters that are not mentioned in the Bible playing big roles in this book. However, the author was anointed as she wrote this book and it greatly opened my eyes to how much Luficer is really loved and how much he hates mankind. It will also reveal how much God loves each and every person as the book travels through time, touching events such as, The Fall, The Flood, the Tower of Babal, The Crucifiction, and many, many more events. 

I would keep the maturity level of this book about 13+ because of the things mentioned/shown. There are places in the book where the angels discuss how humans “replicate” in a scientific manner (explaining pretty completely how children are conceived but without mentioning the physical part), but there are scenes where Satan causes unwholesome relations, however the author does not actually show these scenes. The battles are also a bit grusome at times and decently detailed. 

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and anxiously encourage everyone I know (especially Christains and those of you who are Chuck Black fans) as you will not be disappointed! 5 out of 5 stars. 

Fun fact: There is supposed to be a movie coming out within the next couple of years so get ready! 

Author Bio: 

Writer, TV producer, and film maker, the head of GOD TV and a director of WarBoys Entertainment. She has written several books, including the epic fantasy series, Chronicles of Brothers. She co-founded GOD TV in 1995 [1] and is the network’s President and CEO.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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