Monday, July 06, 2015

Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant

Love Arrives in Pieces 

by Betsy St. Amant    
Contemporary Romance
Zondervan  


For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn't trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to her brokenness---so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but always falls short. So she keeps her passion for her secret art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn't get another job soon, she'll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée in a car crash. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he'll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town's old theater, and is shocked to learn former flame Stella is the designer for the project.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and their pasts as they struggle to compromise and come together on a vision for the theater. Chase doesn't understand why Stella is such a subdued version of herself, while Stella doesn't get why Chase thinks he understands her. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness---and their unresolved feelings for each other---until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, losing her trust in the process.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force both Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice---to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from the broken.
 
 

 Meet the Author
Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Find Betsy online: website, Facebook


 
 
Here is my review of this charming love story:


First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Betsy St. Amant and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Love Arrives in Pieces" 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.
"Love Arrives in Pieces" by Betsy St. Amant is the charming story of the renovation of an old theater that reunites two people after ten long years apart.  Stella has lived a lifetime since she last saw Chase.  The former beauty queen has been betrayed and broken by life and her ex-husband.  She is no longer inspired to look beautiful.  She would rather create beauty, so her job as Designer of the theater project is ideal to restore her somewhat.

Chase has also been broken by life.  Having moved away from Bayou Bend after breaking Stella’s sister’s heart (and Stella’s as well), he’s grown up quite a bit.  After losing his fiancée, he’s back home trying to start over again.  As the Contractor and Foreman on the theater project, he must work closely with Stella, with whom he really wants to restore relationship.  But that restoration isn’t coming easy.

This is a touching story of love and second chances, brokenness and healing.  The love story mirrored in the restoration of the theater is a well-crafted piece of symbolism.  What a wonderful summer read!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Homiletics Matthew 1

written 17 September 2013

Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                  Israel                   Who?  Christ’s Genealogy

1
Mt 1:1
Book of generation of Christ, son of David, son of Abraham
2
Mt 1:2-6a
Abraham begat Isaac begat Jacob begat Judas begat Phares of Thamar begat Esrom begat Aram begat Aminadab begat Naasson begat Salmon begat Booz of Rachab begat Obed of Ruth begat Jesse begat David the king
3
Mt 1:6b-11
David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias begat Roboam begat Abia begat Asa begat Josaphat begat Joram begat Ozias begat Joatham begat Achaz begat Ezekias begat Manasses begat Amon begat Josias begat Jechonias, about time they were carried to Babylon
4
Mt 1:12-16
After brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel begat Zerobabel begat Abiud begat Eliakim begat Azor begat Sadoc begat Achim begat Eliud begat Eleazar begat Matthan begat Jacob begat Joseph husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus called Christ
5
Mt 1:17
Generations from Abraham to David are fourteen; from David until carrying away into Babylon are fourteen; from carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen
6
Mt 1:18
Birth of Jesus: his mother Mary, espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of Holy Ghost
7
Mt 1:19-21
Joseph her husband, being just, not willing to make her public example, minded to put her away privily but while he thought, the angel  of the Lord appeared in dream saying, Joseph son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife: that which is conceived in her of Holy Ghost; she shall bring forth son thou shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins
8
Mt 1:22-23
This done that it might be fulfilled:  Behold virgin with child, son, call his name Emmanuel, God with us
9
Mt 1:24-25
Joseph did as the angel of the Lord bidden, took unto him his wife and knew her not until she brought forth her firstborn son and he called his name Jesus

 


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

1
Mt 1:1-17
generation of Christ, son of David, son of Abraham begat Isaac begat Jacob begat Judas begat Phares of Thamar begat Esrom begat Aram begat Aminadab begat Naasson begat Salmon begat Booz of Rachab begat Obed of Ruth begat Jesse begat David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias begat Roboam begat Abia begat Asa begat Josaphat begat Joram begat Ozias begat Joatham begat Achaz begat Ezekias begat Manasses begat Amon begat Josias begat Jechonias, After brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel begat Zerobabel begat Abiud begat Eliakim begat Azor begat Sadoc begat Achim begat Eliud begat Eleazar begat Matthan begat Jacob begat Joseph husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus called Christ;  Generations from Abraham to David fourteen; from David until carrying away into Babylon fourteen; from Babylon unto Christ fourteen
Principle:
God uses imperfect people for His divine purposes.
2
Mt 1:18-21
Mary, espoused to Joseph, found with child;  Joseph minded to put her away privily; while he thought, the angel  of the Lord appeared in dream saying, Joseph son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife: that which is conceived in her of Holy Ghost; she shall bring forth son thou shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins
Principle:
God’s will is uncommon to man.
3
Mt 1:22-25
This done that it might be fulfilled:  Behold virgin with child, son, call his name Emmanuel, God with us; Joseph took his wife and knew her not until she brought forth her firstborn son and he called his name Jesus
Principle:
God’s will fulfills prophecy.

 

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

Jesus was born to the virgin Mary and husband Joseph.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMAT know that Jesus Christ is completely man because of His genealogy and His connection to Mary and completely God because of His relationship to God through the Holy Ghost.

 

Application:

1
What do you learn from the genealogy of Jesus?
What does Christ’s genealogy tell you about Him?
2
What were possible consequences for Mary and Joseph’s obedience to God?
What were possible blessings for their obedience?
3
What other possible ways could Jesus’ birth have played out and still fulfilled this prophecy?

 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Homiletics Revelation 5:6-10, 7:9-17, 22:12-17

Written 19 May 2014

Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                  Vision                  Who?  John, Jesus (Lamb), Father, elders, beasts, multitudes

1
5:6-7
(John) saw in midst of throne and four beasts and elders a Lamb as slain, having 7 horns and 7 eyes – 7 Spirits of God sent into all earth; he took book out of rt hand of him upon throne.
2
5:8-10
When he had taken book, 4 beasts and 24 elders fell down before Lamb, having harps and golden vials full of prayers of saints; they sung new song: Thou art worthy to take book and open seals for thou was slain, redeemed us to God by blood every kindred, tongue, people, nation; made us unto God kings and priests and we shall reign on earth.
3
7:9-10
(John) beheld great multitude – no man could number of all nations, kindreds, people, tongues – before throne and Lamb clothed in white robes, palms in hands; cried w/loud voice: Salvation to God upon throne and Lamb.
4
7:11-12
All angels stood round throne/elders/4 beasts, fell before throne on faces and worshiped God: Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be unto God forever, Amen.
5
7:13-17
One elder (to John): What are these in white robes and whence came they; I (to him): Sir, thou knowest; he (to me): they which came out of great tribulation, have washed their robes, made them white in blood of Lamb; they before throne of God, serve him day and night in his temple, he on throne dwell among them, they hunger/thirst no more, neither sun nor heat light on them; for Lamb in midst of throne shall feed them, lead them into living waters, God shall wipe all tears from their eyes.
6
22:12-13
(J:) Behold, I come quickly, my reward with me, to give every man according as his work shall be; I Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last.
7
22:14-15
Blessed they that do His commandments, they have right to tree of life, may enter through gates of city; without are dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, whoever loves and makes a lie.
8
22:16-17
I sent my angel to testify, I am root and offspring of David, bright and morning star; Spirit and bride say, Come; let him that hear come, let him that is athirst come, whoever will, let him take water of life freely.

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

1
5:6-10
John saw in midst of throne, 4 beasts, 24 elders – Lamb as slain, having 7 horns/7 eyes (7 Spirits of God),  took book from him on throne; beasts, elders fell down before Lamb, having harps and prayers of saints; they sung new song: Thou art worthy to take book and open seals for thou was slain, redeemed us to God by blood every kindred, tongue, people, nation; made us unto God kings and priests and we shall reign on earth.
Principle:
Jesus is worthy to judge mankind based on Who He is and what He’s done.
2
7:9-17
John beheld great multitude of all nations, kindreds, people, tongues – before throne and Lamb clothed in white robes; cried w/loud voice: Salvation to God upon throne and Lamb;  All angels stood round throne, fell on faces and worshiped God;  One elder (to John): What are these in white robes and whence came they;  John: Sir, thou know;  he: they came out of great tribulation, have washed robes, made white in blood of Lamb; they before throne of God, serve him day and night in his temple, he on throne dwell among them, they hunger/thirst no more; Lamb shall feed them, lead them into living waters, God shall wipe all tears from their eyes.
Principle:
If innumerable multitudes will come to faith in Christ during the great tribulation and they will serve God wholeheartedly because of their gratitude for salvation, shouldn’t we who have been spared that suffering be even more grateful?
3
22:12-17
(J:) Behold, I come quickly, my reward with me; I Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last; Blessed they that do His commandments, they have right to tree of life, enter through gates of city; without are dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, whoever loves and makes a lie; I sent my angel to testify, I am root and offspring of David, bright and morning star; Spirit and bride say, Come; let him that hear come, let him that is athirst come, whoever will, let him take water of life freely.
Principle:
Jesus is coming soon and we will be blessed if we obey Him.

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

Jesus, Who redeemed us, is coming soon to judge.

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK that Jesus is coming soon to judge mankind and we have the opportunity now to become His followers and live lives obedient to what He teaches, cleansed by His blood and spared from eternal death and the suffering that will occur during the great tribulation.

Application:

1
Who are the “players” in this “scene”?
What is the book the Lamb took from him on the throne?
Why is the Lamb worthy to take the book and open the seals?
Who are kings and priests unto God and what will they do?
2
Who are the great multitudes in white robes?
How do you worship God?
How is your hunger and thirst satisfied by the Lamb?
How does this passage make you grateful for your salvation?
3
What does it mean to you that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last?
In what way are you obedient to God’s commands?
Who are those left outside of the heavenly city?
Who will you lead to the water of life this week?

 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

“Fatal Trauma” by Richard Mabry

Fatal Trauma 
by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.    
Medical Fiction
Abingdon Press  


Hang on to your seats! Richard Mabry's latest medical thriller , Fatal Trauma, will have you reading long into the night!

A gunman who has nothing to lose faces a doctor who could lose it all to prove his innocence.
When Dr. Mark Baker and Nurse Kelly Atkinson are held at the mercy of a dangerous gunman, the lives of every emergency room patient are at stake. At the end of the evening three men are dead. One of them is a police officer who couldn't be saved despite Mark's best efforts. The other two are members of the feared Zeta drug cartel.
Though the standoff is over, the killing is not, because when the drug cartel loses its members, revenge is not far behind. Facing an adversary whose desires are dark and efforts are ruthless, Mark finds himself under suspicion as a killer, yet still a potential victim. When he turns to his high school sweetheart, attorney Gwen Woodruff, for help, Kelly helplessly looks on, as she hides her own feelings for the good doctor.
At the height of the conflict, three questions remain: Who is the shooter? Who will the next victim be? And can Mark prove his innocence before the gun turns on him?
 

 Meet the Author
A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Find Richard online: website   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here is my review of this suspenseful read:
 
 First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Dr. Richard Mabry and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Fatal Trauma" 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.

“Fatal Trauma” by Richard Mabry is not my favorite Mabry novel.  First, let me address what I enjoyed about the book:  It is circumstantially suspenseful, and I always learn about the medical profession and terminology when I read Mabry’s work.  I loved the thread of faith that was prominent throughout the novel that encouraged me that God uses imperfect people and He is a God of second chances.  What I didn’t care for were the characters.  They often seemed mechanical and detracted from a well-crafted plot.  The dialogue seemed forced in many instances.  The “love triangle” felt manufactured.

All that said, I would still recommend this book.  Overall, I enjoyed it.  And I encountered a valuable concept that I apparently haven’t learned, yet: we all make mistakes, but God offers grace and forgiveness.  If we are to look like Jesus, we must offer grace and forgiveness to those who wrong us.  Honestly, this lesson made the book a “must read” in my opinion.  Thank you, Dr. Mabry.
 

Homiletics Hebrews 10:19-25

Written 12 May 2014

Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                                                                Who?

1
19
Having boldness to enter holiest by blood of J
2
20
New, living way he consecrated through veil (His flesh)
3
21
Having high priest over house of God
4
22
Draw near w/true heart in full assurance of faith, hearts sprinkled from evil conscience, bodies washed with pure water
5
23
Hold fast profession of faith w/o waivering, he is faithful that promised
6
24
Consider another to provoke love and good works
7
25
Not forsake assembling as manner of some, exhorting one another, more as ye see day approaching

 

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

1
19-21
Boldness to enter holiest by blood of J; new way He consecrated through veil (His flesh); priest over house of God.
Principle:
Jesus’ blood sacrifice enables us to approach our heavenly Father with confidence.
2
22-23
Draw near with true heart/full assurance of faith/hearts sprinkled/bodies washed; profess faith w/o waivering.
Principle:
We’ve been cleansed, so we may draw near to God and profess our faith confidently.
3
24-25
Provoke love and good works, not forsake assembling as some, exhorting (encouraging) more as ye see day approaching.
Principle:
Encourage each other to love and do good works.
It is tempting to forsake assembling, but we shouldn’t.
We must encourage each other more as “the day” draws near, probably because there will be more discouragement encountered.

 

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

Jesus’ blood cleanses us for boldness, love and good works.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross not only freed us from our sin, but also freed us to approach the Father boldly with a cleansed heart and body so that we may profess our faith and encourage our brothers and sisters to love each other, do good works, meet together and encourage each other as we await Christ’s return.

 

Application:

1
What does it mean to approach God with boldness?
How might we do this?
2
In what way do you regularly allow Jesus to cleanse your heart?
How does full assurance of faith allow us to draw near to God?  Do you have that full assurance of faith?
What does it mean to profess your faith without waivering?
Under what circumstances have you professed your faith this week without waivering?
3
How are you influencing each other to love and do good works?
When have you been tempted to “forsake meeting together”?
What action would you advise another to take to avoid falling to that temptation?
What sort of encouragement have you been providing as the time of Christ’s return draws near?
Why might encouragement in the end times be critical to our Christian walk?
What encouragement do you need to promote your spiritual growth?