Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pause for Power A 365 Day Journey in the Scriptures by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!



You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:





and the book:



Pause for Power A 365 Day Journey in the Scriptures

David C. Cook; 2 edition (November 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:








Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the “Back to the Bible” radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.







Product Details:



List Price: $16.99

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; 2 edition (November 1, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 078140374X

ISBN-13: 978-0781403740



AND NOW...THE FIRST WEEK OF DEVOTIONS:







A Year in the Word



In the pages that follow, you’ll hear Isaiah’s invitation to wayward hearts, wrestle with Job’s dilemma, examine what Hebrews says about the breathtaking work of Christ, and listen in as Paul writes letters to infant churches. Such a task might seem daunting at first, but with the help of Pause for Power, it will take you only a few minutes a day. And here’s the best part: Over the course of a year, you’ll have read fifteen books of the Bible.



The devotions are undated, so you can start any day of the year. They’re also blended, so you can enjoy a variety of biblical voices and themes each week. One day you might contemplate Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and the next you might consider a wise saying from Ecclesiastes.



To get started, simply turn to Day 1, read the associated Bible passage in your favorite translation, spend time with the devotion, then ponder the question of the day. Repeat daily. In twelve months you’ll have studied Job, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 1 John. But more importantly, you’ll have gained insight into God’s Word—insight that will bring you closer to the Author Himself.





Day 1



Consistent Actions



Read Romans 2:1—3:20



To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.



Romans 2:7–8



God had given Israel great material and spiritual riches: a wonderful land, a righteous law, a temple and priesthood, God’s providential care, and many more blessings. God had patiently endured Israel’s many sins and rebellions, and had even sent them His Son to be their Messiah. Even after Israel crucified Christ, God gave the nation nearly forty more years of grace and withheld His judgment. It is not the judgment of God that leads people to repentance, but the goodness of God; but Israel did not repent.



In Romans 2:6–11, Paul was explaining a basic principle of God’s judgment: God judges according to deeds, just as He judges according to truth. Paul was dealing here with the consistent actions of people’s lives, the total impact of their character and conduct.



True saving faith results in obedience and godly living, even though there may be occasional falls. When God measured the deeds of the Jews, He found them to be as wicked as those of the Gentiles.



Something to Ponder



Is it possible for people to grow to have consistently good (not perfect) character and conduct? If so, how? How does this fit with Paul’s claim that no one is righteous apart from Christ’s sacrifice (Rom. 3:9–10)?





Day 2



Devoted to Devotions



Read Colossians 4:2



Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.



Colossians 4:2



It has well been said that the purpose of prayer is not to get our will done in heaven, but to get God’s will done on earth. Prayer is not telling God what to do or what to give. Prayer is asking God for that which He wants to do and give, according to His will (1 John 5:14–15). As we read the Word and fellowship with our Father, we discover His will and then boldly ask Him to do what He has planned. Richard Trench (1807–1886), archbishop of Dublin, said it perfectly: “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance; it is laying hold of His willingness.”



Of course, it is possible to pray in our hearts and never use the gift of speech (1 Sam. 1:13), but we are using words even if we don’t say them audibly. True prayer must first come from the heart, whether the words are spoken or not.



Something to Ponder



As you pray, in what ways are you “watchful”? In what ways are you “thankful”?





Day 3



The Mark of Maturity



Read Philippians 1:6–10



This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.



Philippians 1:9–10



Paul found joy in his memories of the friends at Philippi and in his growing love for them. He also found joy in remembering them before the throne of grace in prayer.



This is a prayer for maturity, and Paul began it with love. He prayed that they might experience abounding love and discerning love. Christian love is not blind! The heart and mind work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment.



The ability to distinguish is a mark of maturity. When a baby learns to speak, he or she may call every four-legged animal a “bowwow.” But then the child discovers that there are cats, mice, cows, and other four-legged creatures.



One of the sure marks of maturity is discerning love and loving discernment.



Something to Ponder



With daily decisions, do you tend to seek what is good, or do you try to discern what is truly best?





Day 4



Avoiding Oblivion



Read 1 John 2:17



The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.



1 John 2:17



Every great nation in history has become decadent and has finally been conquered by another nation. Some nineteen world civilizations have slipped into oblivion. There is no reason why we should think that our present civilization will endure forever. “Change and decay in all around I see,” wrote Henry F. Lyte (1793–1847), and if our civilization is not eroded by change and decay, it will certainly be swept away and replaced by a new order of things at the coming of Christ.



Slowly but inevitably, and perhaps sooner than even we Christians think, the world is passing away, but those who do God’s will abide forever. Long after this world system—with its vaunted culture, its proud philosophies, its egocentric intellectualism, and its godless materialism—has been forgotten, and long after this planet has been replaced by the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21:1), God’s faithful servants will remain, sharing the glory of God for all eternity. And this prospect is not limited to Moody, Spurgeon, Luther, or Wesley and their likes—it is open to each and every humble believer. If you are trusting Christ, it is for you.



Something to Ponder



If you are expecting to share the glory of God for all eternity, what things are you doing now to prepare for such an encounter?





Day 5



Sovereignty and Responsibility



Read Romans 9:14–33



Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”



Romans 9:14–15



Moses was a Jew; Pharaoh was a Gentile, yet both were sinners. In fact, both were murderers! Both saw God’s wonders. Yet Moses was saved and Pharaoh was lost. Pharaoh was a ruler, and Moses was a slave, yet it was Moses who experienced the mercy and compassion of God—because God willed it that way. Nobody can condemn God for the way He extends His mercy, because God is righteous in His judgments (see Ps. 19:9 KJV).



Paul wrote of divine sovereignty and then human responsibility. Here is a paradox: The Jews sought for righteousness but did not find it, while the Gentiles, who were not searching for it, found it! The reason? Israel tried to be saved by works and not by faith. They rejected “grace righteousness” and tried to please God with “law righteousness.” The Jews thought that the Gentiles had to come up to Israel’s level to be saved, when actually the Jews had to go down to the level of the Gentiles to be saved.



Something to Ponder



When you can’t fully understand God’s working, what do you do to maintain your faith?





Day 6



Sins of the Saints



Read Hebrews 2:3–9



This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.



Hebrews 2:3



We have the idea that believers today “under grace” can escape the chastening hand of God that was so evident “under law.” But to whom much is given, much shall be required (Luke 12:48). Not only have we received the Word from the Son of God, but that Word has been confirmed by “signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will” (Heb. 2:4). The phrase “signs and wonders” here refers to the miracles that witnessed to the Word and gave confirmation that it was true. Today we have the completed Word of God, so there is no need for these apostolic miracles. God now bears witness through His Spirit using the Word. The Spirit also gives spiritual gifts to God’s people so that they may minister in the church (1 Cor. 12:1–11).



I have often told the story about the pastor who preached a series of sermons on “the sins of the saints.” He was severely reprimanded by a church member. “After all,” said the member, “sin in the lives of Christians is different from sin in the lives of other people.”



“Yes,” replied the pastor, “it’s worse!”



Something to Ponder



Do you agree that sin in the lives of Christians is worse than sin in the lives of other people? Why?





Day 7



Heart Gifts



Read 2 Corinthians 8:10–24



Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it.



2 Corinthians 8:11



During my years of ministry, I have endured many offering appeals. I have listened to pathetic tales about unbelievable needs. I have forced myself to laugh at old jokes that were supposed to make it easier for me to part with my money. I have been scolded, shamed, and almost threatened, and I must confess that none of these approaches has ever stirred me to give more than I planned to give.



We must be careful here not to confuse willing with doing, because the two must go together. If the willing is sincere and in the will of God, then there must be a “completion of it” (2 Cor. 8:11; see Phil. 2:12–13). Paul did not say that willing was a substitute for doing, because it is not. But if our giving is motivated by grace, we will give more willingly.



God sees the “heart gift” and not the “hand gift.” If the heart wants to give more, but is unable to do so, God sees it and records it accordingly. But if the hand gives more than the heart wants to give, God records what is in the heart, no matter how big the offering in the hand may be.



Something to Ponder



Think about a time you gave willingly and a time you gave grudgingly. What made the difference?






Here is my review of this incredible daily devotional:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Dr. Warren Wiersbe and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Pause for Power: A 365 Day Journey in the Scriptures" 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.

Containing 365 days worth of insight and inspiration, “Pause for Power: A 365 Day Journey in the Scriptures” by Warren Wiersbe is a wonderful daily devotional. The day’s reading is numbered, not dated, so the reader may start at day one when they receive the book. Each entry has a scripture reading, a key verse at the top of the page, and Dr. Wiersbe’s beautifully written commentary, followed by a question at the bottom of the page for pondering and meditation.

Warren Wiersbe’s writing isn’t too flowery or overly theological, so he is easily understood by the masses. The short readings are thought-provoking, encouraging and life-changing. This book would be a wonderful way to develop a daily quiet time with Jesus. I certainly plan to use this devotional during 2011, and recommend it as a thoughtful Christmas gift.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bible Study: Coming Out Of Bondage - Exodus - Chapter 6


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Exodus. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.

Stacey


Take a few minutes to savor Exodus Chapter 6. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…


6:1 – God’s mighty hand is nail-scarred.

6:6-8 – the 7 “I will” statements. This is God’s promise to deliver Israel. This is a picture of Christ.

6:6 – outstretched arm – Jesus’ arms were stretched out on the cross to redeem us.

6:12 – “I speak with faltering lips” – is this a dig against God? Is Moses complaining that following God’s instruction in 3:18 resulted in increased suffering? Or is this a reiteration of Moses’ objection about not being eloquent in 4:10?

6:14-25 – Why include only the genealogies of Reuben, Simeon and Levi? These are Jacob’s first three sons…and the deliverers are from Levi’s family…

6:28-30 – Moses brings up his eloquence issue again. See 4:10.


What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bible Study: Coming Out Of Bondage - Exodus - Chapter 5


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Exodus. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.

Stacey


Take a few minutes to savor Exodus Chapter 5. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…


5:1 – How did they get an audience with Pharaoh? Was Moses remembered in that house? Did the Israelite elders facilitate it?

Why is Moses asking for permission to go to the desert and worship? Isn’t he supposed to completely liberate the people? This request sounds like he wants to arrange a field trip. He is saying exactly what God told him to in 3:18.

5:2 – Pharaoh’s words drip with sarcasm and scorn.

5:4 – When Pharaoh says “get back to your labor,” does this mean the elders accompanied Moses and Aaron? Yes. See 3:18.

5:5 – Pharaoh mentions how numerous the Israelite population is. It would seem that he is worried about more than losing slave labor. Perhaps they would regroup in the desert and attack Egypt.

5:6-14 – Pharaoh takes away the straw to make bricks, but doesn’t reduce the quota, making the Israelites’ life even more difficult and bitter.

5:15 – The only explanation for why a Hebrew slave would approach Pharaoh is that God’s message to the elders is now know and it has strengthened the people.

5:19 – Weren’t they in trouble back in 5:14 when Pharaoh was beating them?

5:20-21 – The foremen rebuke Moses and Aaron – another clue that they heard God’s message.

5:22-23 – If God told Moses that obedience to His instruction of 3:18 would lead to greater suffering of the Israelites, Moses may have refused the assignment completely. God empowered Moses by withholding information from him.

When was the last time God dealt with you in this way?

5:22 – When Moses “returned” to the Lord, where did he go? Certainly not back to Midian! Where do you think Moses would go to meet with God in Egypt?


What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bible Study: Coming Out Of Bondage - Exodus - Chapter 4


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Exodus. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.

Stacey


Take a few minutes to savor Exodus Chapter 4. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…


4:1 – Moses objects to God’s assignment based on the Israelites not believing him.

How often do you turn down an assignment from God because you fear you will be rejected? Take heart. Those who reject you aren’t rejecting you at all, but God.

4:2-9 – The Lord gave Moses three signs to persuade the Israelites to believe: the staff becoming a snake, the leprous hand and the water turning to blood.

4:3-4 – Remember that Pharaoh’s royal headdress has a snake on it symbolizing his “deity.” In this passage, Moses is effectively grabbing a symbolic Pharaoh by the tail.

4:10 – Moses objects to God’s assignment saying, “I am not eloquent.”

4:13-17 – God is capable of being angry with our behavior, yet He still loves us and wants to use us in His plan.

4:13 – Moses objects a final time, begging God to send someone else.

4:14-17 – God agreed to send Moses’ brother, Aaron, to speak. But Moses did not get out of God’s calling. He still had to go to Pharaoh.

4:18 – Moses asked Jethro’s permission to go to Egypt. He honored the authority God placed over him.

4:19-23 – God teaches us how to do His will.

4:20 – Both of Moses’ sons were born. How old were they? Zipporah and both boys were able to travel on the same donkey, so they must have been small.

4:24-26 – God expects obedience.

Why would God want to kill Moses for not circumcising his son? Because Moses was disobedient.

How old was this boy? Was he older than eight days? Why didn’t Moses circumcise him? Did Moses just have too much on his mind? Some scholars believe that Zipporah didn’t want Moses to circumcise the boy.

This passage seems to be misplaced. But it speaks to several things. Some feel that this is the moment that Moses sent Zipporah and the boys back to Jethro as mentioned in chapter 18. Zipporah’s words aren’t happy. She probably wouldn’t be a supportive “deliverer’s wife.”

Are you siding with the opinion of a loved one over the command of God?

Is there something that you should have done that you’ve allowed someone else to do for you?

4:27-30 – Aaron is quite a man! What can you tell about him from these verses? He heard the Lord speak to him. He obeyed the Lord. He trusted God and Moses. He was teachable. He was available and willing to serve God and be used by Him.

4:29-30 – Moses still accompanied Aaron when speaking to the elders. Remember that, even though Aaron did the work of presenting the message to the people, this was still Moses’ calling.


What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

Monday, November 08, 2010

10 Hours to Live: A True Story of Healing and Supernatural Living by Brian Wills

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


10 Hours to Live: A True Story of Healing and Supernatural Living

Whitaker House (September 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Brian Wills is an author, missionary, conference speaker, and former tennis pro, best known for his miraculous healing from a rare, deadly cancer known as Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He is the first and only person to date to survive the disease after being diagnosed in its advanced stages; he went on to compete on the pro tennis circuit, and later serve as a national coach and executive director for the U. S. Tennis Association. He and his wife, Beth, founded Healing For the Nations and currently serve as missionaries. The Wills’s have four children and live near Richmond, Virginia.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603742433
ISBN-13: 978-1603742436

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



CHAPTER ONE


Two-Minute Warning


My hand was moist on the racquet as I slammed an ace across the net and watched my opponent scramble, almost tripping as he missed the ball. At twenty-two, I had almost sixteen years of experience on the tennis court. My serve proved they were years well spent. So did the record I held when I graduated from Drury University: 121 wins—more than any other player in the school’s history at that time. Now, as the assistant coach at the University of Richmond, I was training hard for my upcoming trip to Europe, where I would play on the professional satellite circuit.


Perspiration matted my shirt to my back as I sprinted to hit a backhand across the net. In mid-stride, I caught my breath as something like liquid fire snaked across my abdomen. Sweat dotted my upper lip, not from exertion, but from the mind-numbing pain that seared me, licking my insides to a slow burn. I faltered—my steps unsteady, and my hand trembling on the racquet. Gritting my teeth, I decided to take a break and sat in the locker room with my head in my hands. What’s happening to me?


My doctor had said the occasional bouts of pain were the result of overtraining, so I’d cut back on my training schedule. I made sure I got plenty of rest and ate well. But it didn’t help. When I least expected it, the fire still roared to life and caught my breath away. Since the pain was in my lower abdomen, close to my bladder, I’d gone to see a urologist.


"It must be in your head," he’d said, dismissing me.


He was wrong. He had to be. There was nothing psychological about the pain that drove me off the court that day. Thankfully, when the pain left my body, it disappeared from my mind. Weeks passed in a blur of activity as I prepared for my flight to Europe. This would be the fulfillment of a lifetime of dreaming and training. I refused to let it be marred by the sudden flames of fire.


Sidelined


My flight was scheduled to depart on Super Bowl Sunday, the last Sunday in January 1987. That week, snow fell in piles so deep that the world looked like it had been iced with a thick layer of whipped topping. I waded out into the snow and let my shovel slice through the drifts that covered the driveway. Bundled against the freezing wind, I worked up a sweat, and, by the time I’d finished clearing away the snow, my back ached, strained by the repetitive work. I fell into an exhausted sleep Friday night but woke around midnight with chills, fever, and pain. Saturday morning, I went to see my family doctor.


"Your blood count is alarming," he said, frowning. "I’m going to admit you to the hospital for further tests."


"But my flight leaves tomorrow!"


It appeared that I would not be on it. My family rallied around me at the hospital. "Nothing’s changed except the date you leave," they assured me. "We’ll reschedule your flight."


After being admitted to Chippenham Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, I curled up in a fetal position on the bed in my private room and clenched my jaw against the unrelenting back pain. Outside, snow and ice covered the parking lot. Inside, I shook with chills, despite the warmth of the room. My stomach felt full and distended.


Over the next nine days, I suffered through a sigmoidoscopy, a CT scan, a needle biopsy, and multiple blood tests. I was stunned when the tests revealed that my right kidney had stopped working. No wonder my back was hurting! The pain hadn’t come from shoveling snow or my training schedule.


"You may have a kidney stone," the doctor said, hazarding a guess.


Each day, family and friends showed up at the hospital to encourage me. At night, when they all went home, and the hustle and bustle of the hospital dimmed with the lights, I lay in bed and pondered my situation. I was a twenty-two-year-old athlete in excellent physical condition. It couldn’t be anything serious.


Could it?


The Sentence


On February 6, the ninth day of my hospitalization, my parents, brother, sister, aunt, and uncle were in my room laughing and telling stories when my doctor arrived.


"I have some really bad news," he said, sorrow dimming his kind eyes. "Brian has a mass in his abdomen the size of a golf ball, which has been diagnosed as Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare, fatal disease usually found in African children. It progresses very quickly, and there are only three hospitals in the world that treat it. I’m trying to get you into the closest one: the National Institute of Health, NIH, in Bethesda, Maryland."


We must have looked as baffled as we felt.


"Do you have any questions?" the doctor probed.


We couldn’t think of a thing to say except that we wanted to go home for the weekend and pray.


"That’s fine," the doctor said, "but I must warn you—this is a very fast-growing tumor. It’s been known to kill children in a day."


Taking a Stand


The doctor’s words hung over the room like a death sentence long after he’d gone. The once-smiling faces of my family members looked stricken. I reeled inside, trying to regain my bearings. How could I have a serious illness? I was young and healthy. My whole life stretched before me like a promise.


Some of my family already understood what I had yet to grasp: the tumor was malignant, and I was fighting for my life. I’d been hit hard by a foe called Burkitt’s lymphoma.


Our family’s quick response to go home for the weekend to pray came as no surprise. We’d always been a close Christian family. Just as my father and grandfather had passed their love of sports down to me, my parents had passed down to us kids a spiritual heritage. They had lived their faith in front of us; they weren’t ashamed to let it show. I’d grown up attending the local church and traipsing along with them when they made hospital and nursing home visits. My parents also ministered to young people, and it wasn’t unusual for groups of up to forty of them to gather at our house, worshipping God until the wee hours of the morning.


The gospel I’d witnessed since I was a child was not a weak one. I had attended healing services, and I’d seen blind eyes opened. I’d witnessed deaf ears hear again. I’d seen polio victims completely healed. I’d been instantly healed of many childhood injuries, and my parents had dug into spiritual healing a few years before when my mother had been diagnosed with allergies. Later, my father received a diagnosis of cancer. Through it all, we learned that God’s Word, written in the Bible, was alive and powerful. We’d also learned the power of our own words. By believing God and confessing His Word over their situations, both of my parents had been healed.


I didn’t know what Burkitt’s lymphoma was, but healing had always come easy for me. I left the hospital ready to receive a miracle.


At home that weekend, as I tried to sleep, I realized that what my doctor had said was true: I was running out of time. Lying on my side, I could see the cancerous mass—now much larger than a golf ball—move as I turned.


Open Doors


While I was trying to receive my healing, my doctor was doing everything possible to get me into the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He was told that there was a six-month wait.


A few months earlier, my doctor had attended a medical conference. During the conference, a physician sitting beside him had introduced himself and given my doctor his card. "I’m at the National Institute of Health," he’d said. "If you run across someone with a very fast-growing cancer, like Burkitt’s lymphoma, give me a call. That’s my specialty."


On Monday, my doctor called this man, and every door to the NIH swung open for us.


On Tuesday, my parents drove me to Maryland for a consultation. The National Institute of Health was an impressive complex of distinguished-looking buildings housing the newest technology, as well as personnel doing cutting-edge research. By the time we arrived, the pain was so severe I couldn’t walk; my family carried me inside.


Ushered into a small room, I was examined by Dr. Young, one of the world’s leading authorities on Burkitt’s lymphoma. Afterward, he shook his head. "I don’t think there’s anything I can do for you," he said. "You’re too far gone."


Too far gone?


Beaten at the Game of Life


The tumor that had been the size of a golf ball on Friday now measured almost ten inches in diameter. The cancer had spread to my lungs, liver, and most of the organs of my body. "Today is Tuesday, and your son won’t be alive by Friday," the doctor explained to my parents. "I’ll admit him to the hospital and keep him as comfortable as possible." He stepped out of the room to make the necessary arrangements.


I felt like I’d been shoved over a precipice and was hurtling toward destruction at breakneck speed. I didn’t know how to stop my fall. My life had spiraled out of control.


It was my mother’s words that slowed my descent and set me on solid ground again. "No, God’s Word says that by Jesus’ stripes, Brian is healed. ‘Let God be true, and every man a liar.’" (See Isaiah 53:5 kjv; Romans 3:4 niv.)


"Let God be true, and every man a liar," we all agreed.


"We’re going to make our stand right now and believe God, no matter what the doctors say," she announced.


In my mind’s eye, I saw a football game in progress. One team was whipping the other when I heard a two-minute warning. I realized that, so far, my team was being beaten by Burkitt’s lymphoma, and there was a two-minute warning in my life. The game wasn’t over yet, but I knew that without a miracle, I would never make it out of the hospital alive.





Here is my review of this incredible true story:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Brian Wills and his publisher for sending me a copy of "10 Hours to Live: A True Story of Healing and Supernatural Living" 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.

"10 Hours To Live: A True Story of Healing and Supernatural Living" by Brian Wills is the powerful and fantastic true story of a 22-year old given a death sentence from the deadliest of cancers, Burkitt's lymphoma. The author is the one and only survivor of the disease.

What began as a stomach pain during a tennis match, then thought to be a kidney stone, turned a family to intensely and deliberately believe the promises of God rather than the diagnosis of a doctor! This is a faith-filled and dramatic story of healing by the Great Physician that will inspire the reader and heighten your faith and expectation to see God show up in your own life.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Perfect Blend by Trish Perry

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Perfect Blend

Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Trish Perry is an award-winning writer and editor of Ink and the Spirit, a quarterly newsletter of the Capital Christian Writers organization in the Washington DC area. She has published numerous short stories, essays, devotionals, and poetry in Christian and general market media, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group.


Visit the author's website.




Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930159
ISBN-13: 978-0736930154

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Steph Vandergrift was jilted in a truly beautiful place.

She focused on her surroundings so she wouldn’t break down and openly sob in front of people passing her on their way to work. Eyes blinking and chin quivering, she desperately sought distraction in the old stone buildings, lush spring greenery, and fragrant wisteria and lavender from the well-tended landscape nearby.

Rick told her she would love Middleburg, one of the most charming little towns in northern Virginia. When he proposed—

She breathed deeply against the urge to wail as if she were at an ancient European funeral.

When Rick proposed, he said she would even love his law firm’s stately, historic building. This was where she sat now, her dark bangs in her eyes. Despite the warm spring air, she huddled outside on the front steps, certain her brain—or surely her heart—would burst if she didn’t stop and collect herself.

A sudden leave of absence. That’s what the receptionist told her. Rick had taken a sudden leave of absence. And Steph knew she was whom he had suddenly left.

She swallowed hard. She stood and dusted off her short flared skirt in an attempt to look nonchalant while she sized up her situation. Where was she going to go? Where? She wiped away a tear, but another one swiftly took its place. She needed to not do this here, in the middle of this quaint old town.

God, what do I do now? Please tell me.

Distraction. She needed another distraction right now.

Across the street a middle-aged woman stepped out the front door of a small building, the white-painted stone of which was gorgeously weathered. She bent to lift a watering can, and her loose blond curls fell forward. She tended to the flower boxes that hung, moss-laden, from green-shuttered front windows. Then she seemed to sense someone watching her. She turned around and smiled at Steph before calling out to her.

“Good morning, dear. Are you all right over there?”

Steph took a few steps away from Rick’s building and tried to look purposeful. She managed to say, “Yes, I—” before her throat seized and then released a torrent of weeping and incoherent babbling.

So much for her stoic resolve.

Within seconds the woman was across the street and at Steph’s side. She smelled like vanilla and strawberries.

“You poor girl. Whatever is the matter?”

Steph tried to speak between heaving sobs. “…were s’posed to elope…left everything…job, family, friends…he’s not here…leave of absence…what…gonna do?” And then full-on wailing obliterated any further at-tempts at communication.

The woman enveloped Steph with her free arm, the other still holding the watering can, and steered her toward the little stone house across the street.

“You just come with me this instant. You mustn’t stand out here all alone like this.”

Yes. That was it. She was all alone. Rick had lured her away from everyone she loved. Everything she knew. She had left them all to marry him. It seemed like such a romantic notion, to elope after her parents had expressed their disapproval of Rick. And then what did the dirtbag do but desert her here?

The enticing smell of fresh-baked bread wafted all around them when they entered the little shop. Despite her anguish Steph sensed a rumble in her stomach. She thought she must be more beast than damsel to actually harbor hope for a pastry or two in the middle of this catastrophe.

“You have a seat right there.” The woman coaxed her into a wicker chair at one of the lace-covered tables in the dining area. “What you need is a nice, soothing cup of chamomile. Just give me a moment.” Before she went too far away, she stepped back to the table and placed a box of tissues within Steph’s reach.

Once Steph was alone again, reality descended. What was she going to do? Granted, she hadn’t walked out on a stellar career. She could get another job selling men’s suits in just about any department store, she supposed. But she didn’t know anyone here in Middleburg. Should she hang her head and drag herself back home to Baltimore? Why had she made such a scene before leaving? She hadn’t quietly sneaked away. No, she had to pull an all-out, in-your-face confrontation with her parents. A dramatic disconnect with her friends and roommates. And all of them had simply been trying to save her from exactly what just happened.

As she had always feared, her judgment was completely whacked. She had forgotten plans for any long-term career once she and Rick became serious. She thought she would spend the rest of her life married to an up-and-coming real estate attorney and raise their two perfect children and faithful dog in this adorable, classy town. Why had she believed that would happen simply because Rick said it would?

“Here we go, dear.”

It finally dawned on Steph that the woman had a faint accent. British? That would fit with this cute little shop, with its delicately flowered wall-paper and elegant china cabinets. The small, framed paintings hanging here and there looked like scenes of the British countryside.

The woman set a serving tray on the table and placed each item in front of Steph. A white porcelain china pot, painted with miniature violets, from which she poured tea into a delicate rose-covered cup and saucer. A plate with a couple of triangular biscuits on it. They smelled like butter and sweetness. And two dainty bowls: one holding strawberry preserves, and the other holding what looked like sour cream.

Steph realized she was able to stop crying as long as she stopped focusing on herself for a moment. She looked up and pressed a tissue against her nose. “Thank you so much. You didn’t have to—”

“No need for that. Go on, now.” The woman gestured at the food and tea and sat down across from Steph. Her gentle blue eyes reminded Steph of her mother during better times. “You’ll feel better if you have a bit to eat and some nice, relaxing tea.”

As soon as Steph lifted one of the biscuits, the woman said, “I’m Millicent Ashford Jewell. Everyone calls me Milly.”

“Steph.” She spoke around an absolutely delicious bite. She rubbed crumbs from her fingers and shook Milly’s hand. “Steph Vandergrift. Thank you for being so kind.”

Milly smiled and put a spoon of the cream on Steph’s plate for her. “Clotted cream. One of God’s great gifts, in my opinion. Marvelous on the scones.”

Clotted cream. Now that sounded downright nasty. But Steph was a self-admitted people pleaser, and she had never been one to ignore God’s great gifts. So she put a little of the cream on her next bite of scone. And then nearly moaned, it was so fantastic.

“But that’s just really thick whipped cream!”

Milly said, “I think you like it, right?”

“I love it.”

Milly stood. “I have a few matters to tend to in the kitchen. Feel free to walk back and get me if you need me. We don’t stand on ceremony around here.”

The shop door opened as Steph swallowed a sip of tea. She followed Milly’s delighted gaze toward the door and took another nibble of scone. Mmm. “Absolutely yummy.”

A crooked smile spread across the face of the young man who walked through the door. He looked directly at Steph and acted as if her comment were all about him. With a lift of his eyebrows and a tilt of the head, he said, “Well, thank you very much.”

Milly laughed and approached him. They hugged each other.

“Welcome back, stranger,” Milly said. “How was vacation?”

Steph didn’t pay much attention to their conversation after that. The man seemed to be in a hurry, which was fine by her. Otherwise she feared Milly might want to introduce them. She’d rather a man that attractive not look at her too closely right now.

Steph watched his warm brown eyes, which never seemed to lose their smile. She noticed he never once messed with his short, tousled blond hair or fussed with anything else about his looks. Yet, when he walked with Milly toward the kitchen, Steph saw how perfectly, yet casually, he was dressed and groomed.

Her heart was broken, thanks to Rick’s wimpy, childish retreat from her life. But Milly’s chamomile tea and warm scones made her feel a little better. And despite her circumstances and the many question marks in her immediate future, she was still able to appreciate a good-looking man. She leaned sideways to watch him at the kitchen door until he disappeared from view. He and Milly were out of earshot, so Steph surprised only herself when she whispered it again.

“Absolutely yummy.”




Here is my review of this wonderful romantic novel:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Trish Perry and her publisher for sending me a copy of "The Perfect Blend" 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.

Trish Perry has truly outdone herself in this latest romantic novel, "The Perfect Blend". It is the first novel in the brand new "Tea Shop Series". Steph Vandergrift gave up everything for a man who left her at the altar. She takes a job at Millicent's Tea Shop while she tries to figure out what to do with her life after her world falls apart. Kendall James is a kind man who has his eye on Steph. But will he stand a chance when her ex returns and wants her back?

This book is a charming romance from the lovely cover art all the way through to the very end of the novel. Its bonus materials include thoughtful questions for discussion and reflection and some wonderful recipes that I cannot wait to try. This would be a great book to enjoy with a group to discuss and sample those recipes.

Bible Study: Coming Out Of Bondage - Exodus - Chapter 3


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Exodus. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material.

Stacey


Take a few minutes to savor Exodus Chapter 3. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…


3:1 – As a shepherd, Moses thoroughly walked and learned the land that he would lead the Israelites through!

3:2-4 – God initiates contact with us.

3:2 – the Angel of the Lord is God. Physical manifestations of God are Jesus. Therefore, this is an incarnate appearance of Christ.

What do the flames symbolize? God’s holiness? After all, God does say this is holy ground in 3:5. In other places in scripture, fire represents judgment.

The Lord drew Moses to Himself with the burning bush. What has God used to draw you near to Him?

3:5 – Why did Moses have to remove his shoes?

3:6 – God is a name dropper. Whose names would God use to identify Himself to you? Would God be able to drop your name when addressing someone else?

3:7 – God sees us and hears us.

3:8 – God comes to our rescue.

3:11-4:12 – God is patient and willing to teach us.

3:11 – Moses objects to God’s assignment saying, who am I to approach Pharaoh? First and foremost, he is God’s chosen servant for the job. Also, Moses had a relationship with Pharaoh’s household in the past. Was he afraid that they would remember him and try to kill him?

3:13 – Moses objects to God’s assignment based on not knowing how to identify God to the Israelites.

3:14-15 – God identifies Himself as the great I AM, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

Monday, November 01, 2010

November CSFF: The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead








Here is my review of this incredible book:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Stephen Lawhead and his publisher for sending me a copy of "The Skin Map" to review for them. I have always been grateful for this generosity, but haven’t been very consistent in taking the time to thank them in a public forum. I really appreciate your time, effort and expense in making a reviewer copy available to me.

"The Skin Map" by Stephen R. Lawhead is Book One in the brand new Bright Empires series. Arthur Flinders-Petrie is "The Man Who Is Map". Actually, he was a man, now he is just a map... A map that has been separated into five pieces that, when reassembled, may lead to "the secret of the universe" or something even better. Kit Livingstone's mysterious confrontation with his great-grandfather, Cosimo, puts him on the path to seek out this disassembled treasure map that is tattooed on human skin!

Beautifully written, British-flavored prose adds elegance and intelligence to this terrific fantasy-adventure novel that transcends time and space.

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