Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 4 – Genesis 12-50


The Patriarchs

Hour 4 was a fascinating look at the rest of Genesis, and specifically the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.  This hour presented many concepts that I have noted in the margins of my Bible or have done extensive study on.  Some of these concepts are:  the seven “I will” statements of Genesis 12:2-3, covenant and the similarities between Joseph and Jesus.

I loved learning that, when God changed Abram’s and Sarai’s names, He symbolically filled them with His Spirit!  This language lesson was amazing!  But if your forte is science, we’ve also got something for you.  Circumcision is done on the 8th day of life.  By faith, I am positive that it is not coincidental that the formation of vitamin K is on the 7th day and levels of Prothrombin max out at 110% on the 8th day, then lowers to 100%.  Both vitamin K and Prothrombin aid in clotting.

The section on the offering of Isaac was also incredible.  I would like to know where the idea that Isaac may have been 30 years old at this time came from, though.  This section challenged me to hold nothing back from God, to obediently give Him what He asks and trust Him to provide.  This isn’t easy for me.

Many lessons are to be learned from Jacob’s life.  From a study of his name to his relationship with his brother, Esau, to his dealings with his Uncle Laban, Rachel, Leah and his own children, there is a lesson for every one of us.

The parallels between Joseph, the favored son of Jacob and Rachel, and the Lord Jesus Christ was enlightening.  I was also fascinated by the hidden chronological genealogy from Boaz to David in Genesis 38.  What an amazing week!

Homework is to skim Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  Two words: audio Bible.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shattered by Dani Pettrey


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Dani Pettrey and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Shattered" 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.

“Shattered” by Dani Pettrey is an exciting and romantically infused suspense read!  It is a legally passionate story in which the leading lady, Piper McKenna, is frequently the only believer in the saying, “innocent until proven guilty”.  When a murder is committed during a sporting event in Yancey, the entire town is catapulted into an emotional frenzy.  The sheriff is posturing himself for re-election rather than fighting for justice.  The McKennas are rallying around the accused:  their brother, Reef.  Piper, dissatisfied with how the investigation is being handled, trusts her instincts and begins her own investigation, leading her to constantly bump heads with Landon Grainger, the man she’s crazy about but who won’t give her a second glance.

Landon is struggling more and more to maintain his professional distance as he is continually encounters Piper during the investigation.  He is also caught between his boss’ political aspirations to close the case quickly and his own desire to see that justice is done.  His job is in jeopardy and his and Piper’s lives are on the line as they pursue the truth into the more rugged and dangerous parts of the Alaskan wilderness.

“Shattered” reads well as a stand-alone novel, but the depth of the relationships is greater if you’ve read “Submerged” (the first novel in the Alaskan Courage Series).  Both books are riveting reads!

Revelation Study by Sue Edwards

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Sue Edwards and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Revelation:  Discovering Life for Today and Eternity" 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.

“Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity” is a Discover Together Bible Study by Sue Edwards. The nine lessons cover the first three and last two chapters of the book of Revelation, concentrating on the letters to the churches as representatives of churches today.  Each lesson contains a QR Code that, when you scan it with your smart phone, will lead you to a video teaching segment with Sue Edwards.  You can also view these videos online.  The website also contains leader guides for the Bible studies that are valuable assets if you are leading a small group study of the material.

The format of the study is extremely flexible.  You can simply answer the general study questions to complete the study on a basic level or you can choose to also complete the Dig Deeper exercises that will intensify your study.  Each week also has a suggested Scripture for memorization.  The study is laid out in such a way that the student answers questions to grasp the details of what Christ’s praise and criticism to each church really means.

I’ve studied the book of Revelation several times, but I am floored by what I have learned from this study!  At first I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be studying the entire book, but quickly realized that this Bible study is just the right size and focusing on just the right material.  The questions are thought-provoking and the material has deep life applications.  I highly recommend it for personal or small group study.

Beginning September 11, 2013, I will be blogging extensively on each week of this study.  I’d love it if you’d stop by my blog then so we can study Revelation together.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bible Study: NT Proverbs - James - Chapter 3

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of James, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. 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 and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 3 of the book of James. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

Self-control – begins with thoughts

Our walk with Christ is not a competition with other Christians.

Tame the tongue! (“Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth!”)

3:1 – Those who teach will be held accountable because of their influence.

3:2 – everyone makes mistakes. Including teachers.

3:3 – A device placed in a horse’s mouth can steer the whole animal! What can we put in our mouths to do the same? Praise.

3:4 – The rudder of a ship is small but steers the whole vessel. What is your rudder?

3:5 – The tongue is small, but has great influence. Like a tiny spark, it can start huge fires – good and bad.

Perhaps the tongue is compared to fire because words can spread destruction quickly. They can also smolder beneath the surface where you don’t realize damage is being done. (“Only you can prevent forest fires.”)

3:7 – the tongue is wilder and more unruly than the wildest animal. Take a moment to think about that. What is the wildest animal you can think of? What makes that animal wild? Your tongue is wilder!

3:8 – says “…no man can tame the tongue…” So what’s the point of the passage? Jesus can do it.

The untamed tongue:
Gossips, puts others down, brags, manipulates, spreads false teaching, exaggerates, complains, flatters, lies. This is the poison the tongue is filled with.

Is what I’m going to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

“It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

3:9-12 – We praise and curse with the same tool. This is ridiculous! It’s like pouring glue and acid from the same bottle. The fresh and salt water analogy is a good one. And the grapevine… As part of the body of Christ, are you bearing sweet fruit or sour grapes?

3:13 – Our actions reveal our wisdom or lack thereof. Need wisdom? Ask God for it. See 1:5.

3:14-15 – Worldly wisdom is not wisdom at all. It’s from the devil. Do a word study on wisdom. Begin with verse 17.

3:14 – Bitter envy… – we should seek God’s wisdom instead of comparing ourselves and our possessions to others.

3:16 – Envy and selfish ambition lead to disorder and every kind of evil!

3:17 – Wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, full of good fruit, impartial, sincere. Cite examples of how you’ve seen these qualities manifested in Christians you know.




• The book of James is called the “Proverbs of the New Testament”. What pearl of wisdom have you harvested from today’s reading, and how will you apply it to your life?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 3 – Genesis 4-11


The Prehistorical Period

Hour 3 is an enlightening study.  The genealogy of Genesis 5 and the fascinating look at Noah’s ark whet my appetite for a deeper look at God’s Word!  We were also presented with the following riddle:  Methuselah is the oldest man in the Bible at 969 years, yet he died before his father.  How can this be?  I’m not going to tell you.  Get into the Word to find out.  If you try to figure it out, but can’t, check out this Bible study or leave me a comment with your email address and I’ll share.

We studied several of Satan’s stratagems (schemes), as well.  These were fascinating and got me thinking about the schemes he might be orchestrating now that the Messiah has done what He came to do.  I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this if you’d like to share a comment.

I have discovered that it is more beneficial to sit down and answer the questions at the end of each chapter in the workbook before I get to class.  It gives me an overview of the lesson and prepares me for the lecture and discussion.  Also, using the audio Bible is truly a blessing since I don’t necessarily have the time to sit down and read the homework for next week:  Genesis 12-50.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

When the Heart Heals by Ann Shorey


When the Heart Heals

Sisters at Heart - #2

By Ann Shorey

Readers are invited to travel back to 1867, to the town of Noble Springs, Missouri, for an engrossing story of love's tentative first steps and fragile future in the face of opposition. With tenderness and grace, Ann Shorey tells the story of Rosemary, a sympathetic but strong woman determined to thrive in a world that doesn't always understand. 

Courageous and unconventional, Rosemary Saxon served as a nurse during the Civil War, a service that has caused most women in town to regard her as unfeminine and downright vulgar. Although she would like to put her experiences as a nurse behind her, she must support herself. She takes a position with Dr. Elijah Stewart and a mutual attraction begins to develop. But when a sophisticated woman arrives in town claiming to be Elijah's fiancée, a heartbroken Rosemary decides to leave Noble Springs and start fresh. Can Elijah convince her of the mystery woman's deception before he loses her forever?

Ann Shorey is the author of Where Wildflowers Bloom, The Edge of Light, The Promise of Morning, and The Dawn of a Dream. She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul. Ann and her husband make their home in southwestern Oregon.



Here's my review of this exciting Christian romance:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Ann Shorey and her publisher for sending me a copy of "When the Heart Heals" 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.
Ann Shorey’s “When the Heart Heals”, book 2 in the Sisters at Heart series, is an incredibly sweet historical romance that will transport the reader back to simpler, but more difficult times.  Although it’s the second book in the series, it reads well as a stand-alone novel.

After the Civil War, Rosemary Saxon struggled to find her place in society.  Having served as a nurse in the war, many people shunned her because of her physical contact with men was believed to have compromised her.  It hasn’t helped that her gift for herbal healing has branded her reputation as well.  Dr. Elijah Stewart also served in the war – as a physician.  His need for a nurse draws him and Rosemary together.  But Elijah’s past is chasing him down, and that past threatens to tear him and Rosemary apart.

This novel is a drama, a mystery and a romance.  Each component is solid.  The plot is thick and well-crafted.  The dialogue seems a bit forced at times, but I think that has a lot to do with the post-Civil War social standards.  The story builds well like a good roller coaster and excitedly rushes to its thrilling conclusion.  This is a wonderful book to not only read over a long weekend, but also to add to your fiction library.

Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson



Picture Perfect
Weddings by Design Series - #1
By Janice Thompson
Known for her contagious humor and cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives her fans more of the bridal business drama in a brand-new series all about those long-suffering people who make beautiful weddings happen. Picture Perfect is the first in the new series and brings our favorite character, Bella, back in a big way, while introducing new characters readers will love. Fans will laugh out loud as they experience this breezy and entertaining novel from a great storyteller.
Feisty wedding photographer Hannah McDermott has dealt with her share of difficult brides. But none can compare to the ultimate Bridezilla she's dealing with now. Still, she's trying desperately to impress Bella Neeley, Galveston Island's most sought-after wedding planner, so she can take the top spot in Bella's list of recommended photographers--a spot currently occupied by her arch-rival, Drew Kincaid. What she doesn't count on, however, is falling head over heels for the competition.
Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series. She lives in Texas.


Here's my review of this wonderful work of fiction:
First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Janice Thompson and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Picture Perfect" 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.
“Picture Perfect” by Janice Thompson is the first novel in her brand new Weddings by Design Series.  This sweet love story takes place on Galveston Island, Texas surrounding the wedding of a celebrity that Hannah McDermott has been hired to photograph.  Hannah struggles with always coming in second, so the success of this wedding and her relationship with Bella Neely’s Club Wed could make or break her career.

Bella and D.J. Neely and the entire Rossi clan from the Weddings by Bella series make a significant appearance as does Brock Benson from Thompson’s Backstage Pass series, but surprisingly these characters don’t steal the show.  Hannah proves to be her own reckoning force.  She is a solid character with lots of quirks and carries this book as its leading lady with style.  Drew Kincaid, Hannah’s competition in the photography business, is a charming leading man who proves to be a stabilizer.

Maybe I enjoyed this book so much because I can relate so well to Hannah.  Plagued by dramatic ideas that her arch-nemesis from high school is still dogging her lead her to tackle some deep-seated issues with gusto.  Hannah is truly inspiring.  This is a great book to take on vacation or to enjoy over a weekend.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bible Study: NT Proverbs - James - Chapter 2

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of James, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. 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 and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 2 of the book of James. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

No to favoritism, Yes to good works. Show your faith through who you are.

Appearance is not more important than character.

No partiality (for the rich)!
They persecute the poor (believers)
Favoritism violates the law of love, so it is sin (v. 8)
Favoritism will be judged.

2:1-4 – Favoritism is a sin. See v. 9, Leviticus 19:15, Luke 20:21.

We must ignore external appearances.

Assessment – assigning a value. This is ok.

Judgment – an opinion. This isn’t ok.

When we judge and show partiality, we’re saying that Jesus was wrong – in how He lived, how He taught, everything!

2:5 – beloved brethren – James reminds the people that he loves them.

2:11 – Both commandments mentioned violate the law of love to one’s neighbor.

2:12 – Judgment of believers to determine rewards, not to determine eternal destiny.

2:13 – Be merciful – it triumphs over judgment. Memorize this verse.

2:15-16 – Are you paying lip service? Or walking the talk?

2:18 – a genuine Christian will have a changed life.

2:19 – It isn’t enough to just believe. Even the demons believe! What are you doing for Jesus?




• The book of James is called the “Proverbs of the New Testament”. What pearl of wisdom have you harvested from today’s reading, and how will you apply it to your life?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss and their publisher for sending me a copy of "Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska" 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.
Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss have collaborated on several novels, and their proven partnership creates an entertaining and enlightening read in their latest novel “Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska”.  These gifted authors paint a majestic landscape with their narrative so that I feel like I have visited this incredible place.  And they meticulously present two incredible love stories that will capture the reader’s heart.

Ginny made a decision to walk away from her engagement to Brett two years ago.  Since then, her music career has taken off… and so has Brett – back to Glacier Bay.  Now, Ginny is faced with some major decisions and she’s been led to Alaska and the person who knows her best to help guide her in making those choices.  What she doesn’t expect is that a collection of letters will soften her heart toward what God has planned for her life.

So many wonderful messages fill the pages of this breathtaking book.  The story reminded me that God does indeed work in mysterious ways and that He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  His plans are to prosper us and not harm us.  He desires to give us hope and a future.  Hallelujah!  Tricia and Ocieanna give voice to these messages and more through the quirky community of Alaska and the likable characters they create.  The plot is woven meticulously to tell a beautiful love story and glorify our Awesome God, Who wants what is best for His children.  Thanks you, ladies, for an incredible handful of hours of entertainment and perspective alteration.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 2 – Genesis 1-3


The Creation and the Fall of Man

WOW!  Another incredibly scientific lesson was presented in this hour.  Our facilitator assures us that this will not be the case for every week of study.  Genesis is fascinating.  The timing for this aspect of the study is perfect since we are also studying Genesis in BSF this year.

Do you subscribe to the creation taking place in six literal days?  The Stretch Factor is a fascinating concept introduced by Dr. Gerard Schroeder that explains how creation could have taken place in six days!  We also learned several scientific indicators that the earth is young.

One of the more fascinating things I learned this week was regarding the words “erev” and “boker”.  Several times in the creation story occurs the phrase “…and there was evening and there was morning…”  “Erev” means “obscurity, disorder” and has come to mean “evening”.  “Boker” means “orderly, discernable” and has come to mean “morning”.  So, the idea is that there was disorder and the Lord worked to create order and the first (second, third, etc.) day was done.

We also learned about dimensions of reality, irreducible complexity, the laws of thermodynamics and thermal decay.  This is truly a thinking man’s Bible study.  It reminds me how intelligent my God is, and that I have the potential to be a greater thinker than I am currently practicing.

Homework for next week is to read Genesis 4-11.  I am going to start listening to “The Bible Experience” to accomplish the Bible reading homework each week.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Bible Study: NT Proverbs - James - Chapter 1

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of James, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. 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 and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 1 of the book of James. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

Pray for wisdom and discernment. That we will read His Word and be open to His instruction on how to obey it. That He will strengthen us to do what He says.

Do you put into action what you study?

What lessons do you take from James chapter 1?

Author: James, the brother of Jesus

This book is commonly known as the Proverbs of the New Testament.

My life application Bible says that the book is written in excellent Greek. Does this mean that James was well-educated? To be what? Was he not going into the family business?

1:1 – Letters at this time were signed at the beginning. This is from James to the Jews.

1:2 – The Word says “…when you fall into various trials…” It doesn’t say “if.” Trials WILL come.

“Trials” can also mean temptations of evil.

1:3 – perseverance – hupomone – hope.

Perseverance is endurance (“withstand in spite of suffering”) and steadfastness.

1:5 – If he lacks wisdom, ask… Do you ask God for what you’re lacking?

1:6 – You must believe and not doubt. Doubt is a sign of double-mindedness.

1:7 – Double-minded people waffle between trusting God and relying on themselves.

1:9 – lowly brother gets exaltation? How? Because he has fewer stumbling blocks?

1:10 – the rich get humiliation?

God doesn’t care about earthly wealth.

Earthy wealth is temporary.

1:11 – A summary of putting wealth into perspective.

Money can’t buy everything.

Do you see what you have as a gift from God? Do you seek to honor Him with it? Do you pray for His wisdom in managing your money regardless of how much you have? How do you share your wealth?

1:12 – crown of life – see Revelation 2:10. This crown is awarded for withstanding trials.

1:13 – God doesn’t tempt us!

1:14 – my NIV study Bible says that dragged away and enticed are common hunting terms. THE ENEMY ACTIVELY HUNTS US!!!!!

Don’t give the enemy too much credit. We do this to ourselves.

Before we’re enticed, we’re dragged away – from what? – from God. If we remain in His presence, we will not be enticed.

1:16-18 – God loves to give us gifts.

1:16 – Deceptions will come – don’t believe them.

1:17 – Praise God for His gifts. Gratitude changes our focus to draw us back to God. Pray Psalm 103.

1:19-20 – The angry Christian cannot accomplish God’s will – seething with wrath – WOW! That is a vivid description. God cannot teach us or mature us if we have such an attitude.

Sometimes, trials make us angry. Many of us adopt the attitude, “Why is God doing this to me?” Rather, we should ask, “What is God trying to teach me through this?”

1:21 – moral filth and prevalent evil – what ideals contrary to God’s Word do you need to get rid of? Reflect, obey and pray.

Meekness = humility = teachability

1:22 – Don’t just read or listen to the Word. DO WHAT IT SAYS!

Are you obeying God’s Word?

1:23-24 – To forget what you look like when you walk away from the mirror seems ludicrous! Disobeying God’s Word is precisely that foolish!

1:25 – We are given a promise of blessing for obedience. Do you need more incentive than that?

1:26 – see 3:1-12. It is impossible to tame the tongue. Pray continually that God will anoint your tongue for His glory.

1:27 – How do you keep yourself from being polluted by the world? May I suggest wholesome forms of entertainment, fellowship with believers, and spending more time with God than you think you can spare?

Widows and orphans are highly distressed people. Why would the Lord command us to visit such people? To offer His peace to them, perhaps? Do you do this as a regular practice?




• The book of James is called the “Proverbs of the New Testament”. What pearl of wisdom have you harvested from today’s reading, and how will you apply it to your life?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 1 – Introduction


Some of the concepts presented in Hour 1 are familiar.  It’s almost like being transported back in time to scientific and mathematical teachings from my youth.  Other ideas were completely new to me, but fascinated me.  Still other teachings flew over my head faster than the speed of light or sound!  Einstein, Euclid, dimensions, spherical trigonometry, tesseract, hidden messages.  We talked about all of these things, and more.  I gained greater understanding of things I was introduced to through science fiction films.  I have a new appreciation for our Creator, Who effortlessly understands all of this because He invented it!

Our Bible is sixty-six books authored by 40 different people over the course of thousands of years.  The Old Testament tells the story of a nation.  The New Testament tells the story of a man.  The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.

One thing I took away from this week’s video teaching has changed the way I journal.  Dr. Missler said that we should rejoice when there appears to be an anomaly in Scripture or something I don’t understand.  He recommended that the student keep a journal chronicling the puzzling passage and date it.  Then, pray and ask God to bring revelation and understanding.  When He does, record the revelation and date that as well.  This practice will create a map of God’s activity in my life.  I am super-excited to begin this activity.

We have some homework:  read Genesis 1-3 for next week.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble



Here is my review of this suspenseful romance:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Colleen Coble and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Safe in His Arms" 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.
Colleen Coble’s “Safe in His Arms” is a touching love story and a solidly crafted tale of suspense.  The Triple T Ranch is unlike any other cattle ranches in Texas.  Danger lurks around every corner.  Several attempts have been made to take the life of owner, Paddy O’Brien, which would leave the property in the care of his only daughter, Margaret.  Margaret loves the ranch as she would a husband, resolving that the ranch will be her life and that no man wants to take that priority position in her life.  But Paddy has his own ideas about wanting his daughter to marry.

When Daniel shows up as the new ranch foreman, sparks fly between him and Margaret.  But she has a tough time discerning if his feelings are genuine or contrived to gain her property.  Margaret’s cousin also appears and threatens her position when Paddy reveals surprising news.  And the threats to Paddy persist.

“Safe in His Arms” is book number two in the Under Texas Stars Series is an engaging read with fleshy characters.  This was so much the case that I found myself truly frustrated by behaviors and circumstances as if I had a vested interest in the happenings of the book.  Leave it to Colleen Coble to really touch the heart of her audience.  This author is truly gifted.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Five Days to a Clutter-Free House


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims and their publisher for sending me a copy of "5 Days to a Clutter Free House" 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.

The opening pages of “5 Days to a Clutter Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space” by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims has just explained the reason behind my issue with clutter!  If I were only cleaning up after myself, this would be a piece of cake.  But, thank the Lord, I have a family that blesses and challenges me on a daily basis.  And each member’s idea of clutter and “clean enough” is very different from mine!  And even though I am capable of a single-handed, whirlwind, extreme makeover of my home to combat clutter, this isn’t my favorite way to spend a few hours.  Still, I love the result of a tidy living space.

This book explains the psyche of the clutterer.  Thank you, ladies!  Now I can at least put together some sort of plan to motivate my loved ones so I’m not having to de-clutter my home as often.  It also forced me to face the fact that I am part of the problem as well.

This book is loaded with wonderful ideas about maximizing your space and minimizing your clutter.  Preparing the plan of attack complete with goals is one of the keys to success.  Creating a team to conquer this task is another.  With practical tips on how to choose teammates and prepare for this life- and attitude-changing event, this book helps the clutterer to unclutter his or her own space and build a sense of achievement.  This will be a book to which I refer whenever I am planning to tackle a major overhaul in my home.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 24

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Joshua, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. 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 and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong and very courageous. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 24 of the Old Testament book of Joshua. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

24:1 – The leaders present themselves to the Lord at Shechem.

24:2-13 – Joshua reminds Israel what God has done for His people.

24:15 – Why would serving the Lord seem undesirable? Did anything keep you from serving Him? What?

This is a great verse to memorize and put into practice!

24:19 – What does Joshua mean when he tells Israel that God will not forgive Israel’s rebellion and sins?

24:22 – What does it mean that Israel is a witness against herself that she’s chosen to serve the Lord?

24:25 – What decrees and laws did Joshua draw up for Israel? The ten commandments?

24:26 – The Book of the Law of God? Deuteronomy?

What is the significance of the large stone?

The oak?

The holy place of the Lord?

Shechem?

24:28-33 – If Joshua wrote this book, who wrote the last 6 verses?

24:29 – Joshua died at the age of 110.

24:30 – If Joshua sent the people away in verse 28, who buried him?

He was buried in the land of his inheritance. Why do you think that the Lord allowed men to bury Joshua unlike Moses, whom the Lord buried, Himself?

24:31 – If Israel served God throughout Joshua’s lifetime, the lifetimes of the elders who outlived him and those who experienced God’s wonders, this verse implies that they stopped serving God.

It also implies that this verse was written after the last of those people died. What was God’s last wonder that He performed on Israel’s behalf?

Who was the only other living person to experience all that God had done for Israel? Caleb.

24:32 – Joseph’s bones are finally laid to rest – a promise kept.

He was buried in the land of his son’s inheritance.

24:33 – Eleazar the priest is also gone.

He was buried in the land of his son’s inheritance.



• The book of Joshua teaches us many things including the fact that we must pursue a relationship with the Lord for ourselves rather than leaning on others’ relationships with Him. Joshua followed Moses as leader of Israel, after all. What have you learned and applied to your life from today’s reading that will help you persevere in your relationship with Christ?
• How do you observe God proving to Israel that He is with Joshua as He was with Moses in today’s text? How does it apply to your own life and relationship with Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?