Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley

In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.


"A taut story of mistakes and betrayal, a mother's fierce love, revenge and danger--and the redeeming wonders of faith and love."--Lorena McCourtney, author of the Cate Kinkaid Files and the Ivy Malone Mysteries

"Old secrets, second chances at love, and a skillfully crafted small-town suspense. You will fall in love with Ben and Leigh and cheer them on as they fight for their happy ending. I'm making room on my shelf for all of Patricia Bradley's novels!"--Susan May Warren, bestselling and award-winning author of When I Fall in Love


Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love Award and was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award. The author of Shadows of the Past, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Here is my review of this entertaining suspense read:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Patricia Bradley and her publisher for sending me a copy of "A Promise to Protect" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“A Promise to Protect” by Patricia Bradley is a solid suspense read. Dr. Leigh Somerall’s return to Logan Point after a 10-year absence is rocked when her brother is murdered and her son, TJ, is threatened. The last thing she wants is to be back in Ben Logan’s life after his father broke them up 10 years ago, but as the Sheriff, the lives of her and her son are in Ben’s hands.

Subplots involving the manufacture and distribution of weapons and the illegal sport of dog fighting weave through this romantic suspense novel, keeping the reader turning pages well past bedtime. “A Promise to Protect” contains solid characters, a thread of faith and an engaging story that will hold the interest of romantic suspense fans.

Wonderstruck – Week Three – The Wonder of Rest


This week, we’re memorizing…Matthew 11:28-30

I was wonderstruck this week by…the fact that our lesson on rest this week corresponded PERFECTLY with our upcoming Sunday School lesson on rest!  Is the Lord trying to tell me something?  Maybe the “rest” lesson is for the lady in our group who is having surgery tomorrow?  I think we all need to realize the importance of rest.  We also need to come to terms with the fact that rest doesn’t necessarily mean inactivity.  The Bible says God’s peace is like a river.  Well, I’ve seen some mighty fast flowing rivers in my day.  Sure, there are calm pools along the way, but there are raging rapids, too.

How have you noticed God’s nearness recently?  With all of scheduling additions recently, I’m struggling with whether I’m in God’s will or my own.  I feel His peace even though I’m incredibly uncomfortable.  I loved the exercise in the homework this week where we were supposed to compile a list of activities in the Bible that could not have taken place if not for the six days of creation.  For example, if God hadn’t created dry land and water, neither Jesus nor Peter could have walked on water and Jesus couldn’t have calmed the storm.  What other activities can you find?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Homiletics Exodus 6:28-10:29


Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                  Egypt   Who?  The Lord, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, magicians

1
6:28-30
It came to pass on day Lord spake to M: I the Lord, speak to Phar all I say; M: I of uncircumcised lips, how Phar hearken to me?
2
7:1-5
L to M: I made thee god to Phar, A thy prophet; thou speak, A speak to Phar, he send coI out; I harden Phar heart/multiply signs; Phar not hearken, that I bring forth mine armies, my people by great judgments; Egyptians know I the Lord.
3
7:6-14
M&A did as commanded; M=80yo, A=83yo when spake Pharaoh; L: when Phar say, shew miracle, say unto A, take rod/cast before Phar, it become serpent; M&A went, did as commanded; Phar called magicians, they cast rods/became serpents, A’s rod swallowed their rods; he hardened Phar heart, refuseth let people go.
4
7:15-25
In morning, Phar go unto water, stand by river’s brink rod in hand, say, Lord sent me – let people go, may serve me in wilderness, thou wouldest not hear; thou shalt know I the Lord, I smite waters, turned to blood; fish die, river stink, Egyptians loath to drink; L to M: say to A, take rod, stretch hand upon waters that they become blood; M&A did so; fish died, river stank, Egyptians not drink; magicians did so, Phar heart hardened as Lord said; Phar went into house; Egyptians digged for water; 7 days fulfilled.
5
8:1-7
L to M: Go Phar, say, let people go; if refuse, I smite w/frogs; river bring frogs, into thine house, bedchamber, upon bed, in house of servants, upon people, into ovens, kneadingtroughs; frogs come up on thee, people, servants; say to A: stretch rod over streams/rivers/ponds, cause frogs come; A stretched had, frogs came; magicians did so.
6
8:8-15
Phar called M&A:  Intreat Lord, take frogs, I let people go; M: when; Phar: tomorrow, that thou know none like our God; frogs depart, remain in river; M&A went, M cried to Lord; Lord did, frogs died; they gathered them, land stank; Pharaoh hardened heart as Lord said.
7
8:16-19
L to M: say to A, stretch out rod, smite dust, it become lice; they did so; magicians could not, said unto Phar: this the finger of God, Phar heart hardened, hearkened not them.
8
8:20-32
L to M: rise early, stand before Phar, say: let people go, if not I send swarms [of flies] upon thee, servants, people, into houses; I sever that day Goshen – no swarms there, thou know I the Lord, tomorrow; Lord did so; Phar called M&A: go sacrifice to God in land; M: shall we sacrifice abomination and they not stone us; we go 3 days into wilderness; Phar: go, only not far, intreat for me; M: I intreat swarms depart, not deal deceitfully; M went/intreated; Lord removed swarms; Phar hardened heart.
9
9:1-7
L to M: go Phar: let people go, if refuse, hand of Lord upon cattle, horses, asses, camels, oxen, sheep – very grievous murrain; Lord sever between cattle of Israel and Egypt, nothing die of Israel; tomorrow; Lord did, all cattle Egypt dies, cattle of Israel not one; heart of Phar hardened.
10
9:8-12
L to M&A: take ashes of furnace, M sprinkle toward heaven in sight of Phar; it small dust, shall be boil breaking forth upon man, beast; they took, sprinkled, it became boil; magicians could not stand before M because of boils; Lord hardened heart of Phar.
11
9:13-26
L to M: rise early, stand before Phar, say: let people go; I send all plagues upon thine heart, servants, people; thou know none like me; I stretch out hand, smite thee/people w/pestilence; for this I raised thee up to shew my power; exaltest thou against my people, not let them go; tomorrow I cause very grievous hail; now gather cattle, every man/beast in field hail come upon die; he that feared word of Lord made servants/cattle flee into houses; he that regarded not word of Lord left servants/cattle in field; L to M: stretch hand; M stretched hand, Lord rained fire mixed w/hail, smote man/beast/herb/tree; only in Goshen no hail.
12
9:27-35
Phar called M&A: I sinned, the Lord righteous, I & my people wicked, intreat Lord no more hail, I let you go; M: I spread my hands unto Lord, thunder cease; I know ye not yet fear Lord; flax/barley smitten; wheat/rie not smitten; M spread hands, thunders ceased; Phar hardened heart, not let Israel go.
13
10:1-6
L to M: go Phar, I hardened heart/hearts of servants the I shew signs; that thou may tell son and son’s son my signs, may know I am Lord; M&A to Phar: how long thou refuse humble thyself, let people go; if refuse, tomorrow, locusts, they cover earth, eat every tree, fill houses of Egyptians, he turned, went out.
14
10:7-15
Phar servants: how long this man be snare, let men go, knowest not Egypt destroyed; M&A brought to Phar, he say, go, who shall go; M: young, old, sons, daughters, flocks, herds; I let you go; not so, go ye men, they driven out Phar presence; L to M: stretch hand for locusts; Moses stretched forth rod, Lord brought east wind, east wind brought locusts; they covered earth, land darkened, eat every herb, all fruit.
15
10:16-29
Phar called M&A: I sinned, forgive, intreat God; he went, intreated; Lord turned west wind, took away locusts; Lord hardened Phar heart; L to M: stretch out hand, there be darkness, M stretched hand, darkness 3 days, coI had light; Phar called M: go, let flocks and herds stay, little ones go; M: thou must give sacrifices; cattle go with us; Lord hardened Phar heart; Phar: get thee from me, see my face no more, thou seest my face, die; M: I see thy face no more.

 


Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture):

1
6:28-7:5
God’s pep talk for Moses.
Principle:
The Lord instructs His people how to serve Him.
We should bring our questions and feelings of inadequacy to God.
God hardens hearts that He might show His power, majesty and signs that help us to know that He is the Lord.
2
7:6-8:19
Pharaoh’s magicians duplicate the miracles of turning rods to serpents, water to blood and frogs, but recognize the finger of God when they fail to bring lice.
Principle:
God can use a willing servant of any age.
God’s power is mightier than magic.
Don’t give up on non-believers because those who oppose God may come to recognize Him.
Just because you come to recognize God doesn’t mean those around you will do so.
Those who used to rely on you may cease to do so when you discover the Lord while they haven’t.
3
8:20-10:29
Pharaoh’s heart remains hard as he witnesses God’s signs of swarms (of flies), murrain (cattle death), boils, hail, locusts and darkness even though God spared Israel from the murrain and darkness, and those who feared Him from the hail.
Principle:
God has given ample warning of His coming wrath.
God responds to His people’s prayers.
The Lord spares His people from suffering as He chooses.
We may confess our sin, but God knows the true condition of our heart and its repentance.
True obedience to God requires humility and is crucial for our survival.
God raises up tyrannical leaders to show His power.
The Lord commands all creation – the elements and all living things – for His glory.
Just because God’s activity is evident doesn’t mean that all people will see it as coming from Him.
Our obedience to God will always glorify Him.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure):

Pharaoh’s heart remains hard after experiencing God’s first nine plagues.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK the importance of our obedience to God regardless of the circumstances, pressure or pain; and to seek His will and our obedience to His will above all things.

 

Application:

1
How has the Lord instructed you to serve Him?
In what way do you bring your questions and feelings of inadequacy to God?
What has been God’s response to your bringing your questions and feelings of inadequacy to Him?
When have you experienced God’s majesty as a result of a hard heart?
How have you witnessed God revealing Himself as Lord to the hard-hearted?
2
How have you witnessed God using people of all ages to serve Him?
How is God’s power mightier than magic?
When have you been tempted to give up on your witness to a non-believer and how might that affect you if that person comes to recognize Him as God?
What advice would you give to someone who is tempted to give up on their witness to a non-believer?
In what areas of your life are you the only Christian witness that people see?
How deliberate are you in your witness in the areas of your life where you are the only Christian people know?
When have you experienced a loss of confidence, respect or responsibility because of your faith?
3
What warning has God given you of His coming wrath?
How has God responded to your prayers?
In what way have you witnessed God sparing His people suffering?
How has God dealt with you when you’ve gone through the motions of confessing sin versus when you’ve been truly repentant in your confession?
How has humility aided in your obedience to God?
How might you explain to a new believer the importance of obedience to God?
How has God’s power been made evident in the circumstances of tyrannical leadership?
How has God’s command of His creation revealed His glory to you?
In what way have non-believers tried to “explain away” what you knew to be God’s activity and how did you respond?  How would you respond in the future?
How has your obedience to God glorified Him this week?

 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Homiletics Genesis 4:1-24

Written 6 March 2013

Contents:            Where?                  Outside of Eden, Nod, Enoch                    Who?  Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Lamech

1
4:1-2
Adam and Eve had Cain (who tilled the ground) and Abel (a keeper of flocks).
2
4:3-5
Cain brought the Lord an offering of fruit and Abel brought firstlings of his flock and the Lord regarded Abel’s offering but not Cain’s, angering Cain.
3
4:6-8
The Lord asked why he was angry and told him to master sin, but he killed his brother Abel.
4
4:9-12
Cain denied knowing where Abel was, God said his blood cries out and cursed Cain to be a vagrant wanderer.
5
4:13-16
Punishment too much for Cain so God marked him so no one would kill him then Cain went to Nod.
6
4:17-18
Cain named the city Enoch after his wife gave birth to Enoch, who fathered Irad, who fathered Mehujael, who fathered Methushael, who fathered Lamech.
7
4:19-22
Lamech’s wife Adah had Jabal and Jubal, his wife Zillah had Tubal-cain and Naamah.
8
4:23-24
Lamech said he had killed a man and if Cain is avenged 7 times, Lamech 77 times.

 


Divisions:

1
4:1-8
The acceptability of Adam and Eve’s sons’ (Cain and Abel) sacrifices led to Cain’s anger and the murder of Abel.
Principle:
Don’t compare yourself in any way to anyone else.
Our sacrifices to God must be made on His terms.
Murder is not an acceptable result of anger.
2
4:9-16
God cursed Cain to be a vagrant wanderer and marked him so no one would kill him then he went to Nod.
Principle:
The Lord disciplines those He loves.
Sin has immediate and lasting consequences.
Our response to sin and its consequences can take us far from home.
Running away from our problems doesn’t remove our sin or its consequences.
3
4:17-24
Cain had Enoch, who had Irad, who had Mehujael, who had Methushael, who had Lamech, who had Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-cain and Naamah and desired to be avenged 77 times.
Principle:
Our sin affects future generations.
Our response to our sin affects the future generations of our families.
4
 
 
Principle:
 

 

Subject Sentence:

Cursed by God after killing Abel, Cain’s descendants include Lamech.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMCATK that our sinful actions are forgivable but still bring lasting consequences that affect future generations.
TCMNCATK that we cannot hide from our sin.  It must be dealt with.

 

Application:

1
What practical steps can you take to avoid comparing yourself to others?
What sacrifices do you make for God and how do you make them?
In what way have you responded acceptably to your anger?
2
Why do you think the Lord reserves discipline for those He loves?
What are some of the lasting consequences of sin?
From your experience, what have been the results of trying to run away from your problems?
3
What affect has the sin of a past generation had on later generations?
What impact might your current sinful choices have on future family members?
4
 

 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wonderstruck – Week Two – The Wonder of God’s Presence


This week, we’re memorizing…Psalm 19:1

I was wonderstruck this week by…how God equips the called.  My schedule is really full, but I’ve felt a tug from the Lord to step into another ministry where I’ve been burying my talent for years by not participating.  I made lots of excuses in the past, but this week I was obedient.  I feel His pleasure.  My schedule is still filled, but it is filled with more of Him.  I’m still getting enough sleep and I can feel other areas of my life falling into place.  It’s amazing how disobedience can throw our whole life into turmoil.

I was also wowed by a couple of exercises in this week’s homework.  Writing the lament was a wonderful experience that took my focus from myself and the stormy circumstances of my life and put my eyes back on my Savior!  I hope I remember this exercise when I experience tough times in the future.  There was another exercise that really opened my eyes to God’s plans and purposes.  We had to go through the six days of creation and determine what Bible stories wouldn’t have transpired without God creating that particular “thing”.  For example, if God hadn’t created the heavens, atmosphere and clouds, the pillar of cloud would never have manifested in Exodus and Christ wouldn’t be able to come with the clouds in Revelation.

How have you noticed God’s nearness recently?  In spite of the age of Scripture, His Word falls fresh upon me.  I am studying Matthew with BSF this year, and I’ve been praying that I would see the Gospel with fresh eyes since I’ve studied it before.  And this has been a prayer that God has answered beautifully.  He is unearthing nuggets of treasure for me to savor as I chew on the verses we’re studying.  He is saturating me in His presence.  Hallelujah!

I’ve felt Him through the encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ.  I’ve seen Him in the mountains and the clouds.  I’ve sensed Him early in the morning while I walk my dogs and read my devotions.  He is always there – whether I feel Him of not.  Knowing that gives me peace.