Saturday, April 20, 2019

Excited!

Acts 5:30-32
"The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Can I say I'm excited? Seriously, EXCITED! Our mighty God in his miraculous way, breathed life back into his son. Jesus died, then rose again. That's amazing, and unfathomable. My earthly mind doesn't understand. For the logical side of my brain, it makes no sense. But guess what, the resurrection happened.

I'd love to talk to Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the women who saw Jesus alive after they watched him be crucified. Confusion must have filled their brains, at first. But just imagine the joy that flowed from their hearts once they understood. Their Lord and Savior lives.

Did I say I'm excited! I am. My Jesus lives. He's not in a tomb, rotting away. He's not dead. He's alive. Because he lives, I have hope for a future in heaven. I have the Holy Spirit to guide me. I have peace amid the strife of this earth. Jesus gave his life for me and for you. He died and rose again so that the people who follow him will have life after death. So we can have joy, love, peace and hope.
Easter is more than the bunny. Easter is a celebration of life. Rejoice with me that Jesus lives!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Non-fiction Review: Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and his Love for Us


Description:
The Bible talks about trees more than any living creation other than people. Perhaps you've missed the forest...and the trees.

In this groundbreaking walk through Scripture, former physician and carpenter Dr. Matthew Sleeth makes the convincing case why trees are essential to every Christian's understanding of God. 

Yet we've mostly missed how God has chosen to tell His story--and ours--through the lens of trees. There's a tree on the first page of Genesis and the last page of Revelation. The Bible refers to its wisdom as a Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:18). Every major Biblical character has a tree associated with them. Jesus himself says he is the true vine (John 15:1). A tree was used to kill Jesus--and a tree is the only thing the Messiah ever harmed.

This is no accident. When we subtract trees from Scripture, we miss lessons of faith necessary for our growth.

This is the rare book that connects those who love the Creator with creation, and those who love creation with the Creator. It offers inspirational yet practical ways to express our love for God--and our neighbors--by planting spiritual trees and physical trees in the world.

Join Dr. Sleeth as he navigates the Bible's trail of trees to explore the wonders of life, death, and rebirth. You'll be amazed at how science is just beginning to catch up to the truths described in Scripture thousands of years ago. Once you discover the hidden language of trees, your walk through the woods--and through Scripture--will never be the same.

My Review:
When I saw this book available for review, I knew I needed to read it. I've yet to read a book so focused on the trees God created and why they are so important to life on earth. Matthew Sleeth, MD, an atheist before he found his way to Jesus, has done a great deal of research within the scripture to discover how trees thread their way through the Bible. I enjoyed his perspective and excitement for taking care of God's creation. Sleeth has many great ideas of how to keep trees on earth.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Final Dash


2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Lined up in their own lanes, the runners leaned in to race. The starting gun popped. The students darted off in a flurry. As they pushed themselves around the track, some hustled ahead of the pack—others kept a steady pace. As they rounded the bend, a few of the middle runners fired into a sprint—to make the final dash to the finish line. The beauty of the race, every runner finished. No matter where they placed, they pushed through and completed what they set out to do.

Paul penned a letter to Timothy, the young evangelist, and let him know his race would soon end. Paul spent years teaching others about Jesus. He'd been in prison, traveled across water, and walked miles to speak the truth from his heart. Paul loved the Lord and cared about his young friend, Timothy. What I love about Paul's confession—he could say with confidence, he'd completed the journey God called him to. He ran the race, kept the pace, and sprinted to the end for the ultimate prize; life-after-death in heaven with his Father.
Paul understood what awaited him at the end of his race. He knew Jesus waited for him, as he dashed to the finish line.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Fiction Review: The Memory House by Rachel Hauck & Giveaway!


Description:
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.  

My Review:
I loved this book. The old Victorian home called The Memory House is lovely. The way Rachel Hauck describes the beautiful old home made me wish I could visit. Picture yourself in a place where you can find respite from grief and sadness with the hope of tomorrow, surrounded by beauty. Beck's story broke my heart. To not be able to remember a loved one who passed on would be so hard. As the story trailed Beck's journey then entwined with Everleigh's, I didn't want to put the book down. This is a beautiful story of two women finding their way, despite the obstacles they face. A spiritual thread of hope underlies the story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


                                                           a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journalbestselling 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.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Where are you When the Lights go Out?

John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

1 John 1:6-7
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

As I chatted with my co-worker in her office, the lights flickered out. Electric all over campus shut off. As soon as we realized what happened, we walked to the main room of the library. No storm brewed outside, instead sunlight flooded the sky lights. Two florescent lights stayed on due to a generator. Students wondered what to do. We directed a few to hang in there until we figured out what was going on. Then, one young man stepped in and went straight to the only table with a light. He unpacked his backpack, sat down with his textbook and started to read. He knew what to do—follow the light.

Every day darkness overwhelms us. If you watch the news, you see people who hate and kill. We read about people who bring harm to others or themselves. Illness and circumstances bring grief. The constant focus on politics and who has said what is just plain irritating. If we'd let ourselves, we could sit in the dark of sin every day. But we don't have to. There is a light that shines to bring hope and love to this world. Jesus is the light. He shines brighter than any darkness Satan can throw over us. Like the young man in our library, let's walk toward the light and focus on our Lord and Savior—Jesus. He is the light that shines in the darkest hour. He is our hope!
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  ― Martin Luther King Jr.