Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fired Up by Mary Connealy

Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have
something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can't let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he's trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.

Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she's determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she's terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner---never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.

Glynna can't help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There's the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna's diner into Dare's back. Are Flint's cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna's son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?


Here's my review of this terrific read:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Mary Connealy and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Fired Up" 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.

 “Fired Up” by Mary Connealy is the second excitement-filled installment in her Trouble in Texas series.  Glynna Greer has packed up and left the house where she was kept imprisoned by her second husband, Flint.  She is ready to begin a new life with her children, Paul and Janny.  When Glynna has to use her own doctoring skills to patch up Dare Riker, the town doctor, her abilities become a valuable asset in the face of trouble.  But when the sparks begin to ignite between the beautiful widow and the doc, Glynna’s protective son may keep true love at bay.

This series is aptly named, and the trouble continues through this wonderful novel when it appears that someone is trying to kill Dare.  And Glynna isn’t really trying to kill the men in town with her cooking…  And if Paul could kill every man who looks at his ma with the daggers in his eyes, he would.  Meanwhile, Jonas’ sister, Tina Is relocating to Broken Wheel, much against his wishes.  But when she’s not the little girl he remembers but rather a beautiful woman, he finds himself in the position to defend her against the men in town like Paul defends his ma!  Still, Dare has a plan to win over Glynna’s son and Tina has caught someone’s eye, as well.  This story is heaping with romance, action and fun!
Mary Connealy’s signature wit is once again a prominent component in this suspense-western-romance.  The inner monologues of the characters are laugh-out-loud funny!  The characters themselves are thick and realistic.  The storyline educates and entertains.  Before I even read the description of one of Mary’s novels, I know it’s going to be a winner!  You can’t go wrong when you buy any of her books.  They are all destined for my keeper shelf!

Friday, September 27, 2013

My P-R-A-Y-E-R Journal by Ralph Spiller





First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Ralph Spiller and his publisher for sending me a copy of "My P-R-A-Y-E-R Journal" 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.

My P-R-A-Y-E-R Journal by Ralph Spiller may be a terrific resource in print, but the Kindle version is not my favorite prayer tool.  There are definitely some wonderful Scriptures chosen for the reader to pray back to God.  But these Scriptures are repeated every day, so it appears that you’re supposed to have areas between the days where you can actually journal specifics of how you’ve applied those verses, how the prayers have been answered, etc.  Mr. Spiller teaches a prayer format that uses the acronym PRAYER.  Personally, I feel that the acronym is long and difficult to remember.  But I would be able to follow along using the journal.

I will definitely use the Scriptures that Mr. Spiller showcases as part of my own prayer time, but I won’t be using this book regularly on my Kindle.

Bible Study: God Desires To Show Mercy - Jonah - Chapter 3

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Jonah, 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, spring 2010, 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, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. 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 Jonah. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

3 – Jonah experienced forgiveness, but didn’t want Nineveh to be forgiven.

Jonah desired mercy for himself, but justice for Nineveh.

3:1 – The Lord gave Jonah a second chance.

He does the same for us. When was the last time He did it for you?

3:3 – Jonah immediately went where he was told. Jonah’s immediate response offers evidence that we can be changed by prayer.

3:4 – One day’s walk – Jonah was 1/3 of the way through the city. Why do you think he waited to start proclaiming God’s message? What would you have done? Apparently, Nineveh wasn’t that large, but it was so metropolitan that it would have taken 3 days to see everything.

FYI…Archaeologists have unearthed the wall around Nineveh. It is only 8 miles long!

3:5 – This mass conversion didn’t last forever. See Nahum 3:1-19 to read a prophecy against Nineveh 100 years after Jonah was sent to them and this mass conversion took place.

3:8 – evil way of living and violence – get other references to Nineveh that may provide more insight.

3:10 – God changed His mind. When Nineveh responded to the warning favorably, God rescinded the punishment. Nineveh’s repentance relieved God’s anger. When we repent, His anger is assuaged, too.



• The book of Jonah shows how hatred can cloud our thoughts and keep us from obeying God. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture to break down those and other barriers, and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• 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, September 25, 2013

Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity – Week Three


Smyrna:  The Church Who Suffered Well

This letter about suffering and resurrection is especially for those who are going through tough times.  While studying this letter, I learned that a sister in Christ was diagnosed with stage iv liver cancer.  This letter molded how I’ve prayed for her.

Jesus knows our individual struggles and provides real comfort in those times.  He knows what you are enduring for your faith:  ridicule, exclusion, ostracism, physical pain, death.  He’s experienced each of these things – and more – so He has intimate knowledge of what you’re going through.  So bring your cares to Him.  Then trust that the opposition you’re enduring will be used by God for His glory.

This week’s video teaching painted the picture that God comes to our aid.  He comforts.  He educates.  He strengthens.  God is in control.  He is sovereign.  This is a lesson that we all need to be reminded about at one time or another.

Jesus comforts the church of Smyrna – and us – by saying, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.”  Well, I must confess:  I still fear.  But I think I’m getting faster at recognizing that fear and I give it over to the Lord more quickly each time.  I will remember the words of a sign posted outside of a church in London during World War II:  “If your knees knock, kneel on them.”

This leads right to where we have some major acknowledging to do.  We cannot overcome suffering on our own.  We must give control over to the Spirit.  We must allow the Spirit to lead us.  We must rely on His power in us to overcome.  And that power does exist.  It has enabled others who have gone before us to endure great suffering, torture and even death.  Yes.  It is possible to be faithful unto death.  That blows my mind!

Memorize:  Hebrews 4:15-16

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bible Study: God Desires To Show Mercy - Jonah - Chapter 2

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Jonah, 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, spring 2010, 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, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. 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 Jonah. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

2 – Jonah’s prayer.

The Psalms would have been Jonah’s prayer book. Just as we memorize portions of scripture, he did the same. And while he was in the belly of the whale, those verses came back to his memory and he prayed them to God. This is going to be a great chapter to study and learn how to pray scripture back to God.

2:2 – See Lamentations 3:55; Psalm 18:6; 120:1; 86:13

Sheol – called “the place where the dead abide” by a Bible study I’ve done recently. This is a place where awe and amazement of God are forgotten. How frightening is that? Can you imagine forgetting how awesome God is?

Jonah appears to recognize the spiritual (and physical) wasteland he’s entered and wants out.

Have you ever been (or known) the person who suffered physically to become aware of a spiritual desert in their life? What was the outcome of the situation?

Jonah called out to God from the depths of the pit. That’s where he believed he was.

2:3 – it’s never too late to be rescued.

See Psalm 88:6; 2 Samuel 22:5; Psalm 42:7; 69:1-2, 14

The sailors threw Jonah overboard, but he credits God with the act. What does this tell you? Apparently, Jonah recognizes God’s sovereignty over the situation to use the sailors’ behavior to work the outcome to His will.

Jonah begs God to save him from the waves, the overwhelming current, the swirling deep water and mud.

Do you think the water was churning inside the fish? I keep getting visuals from Disney’s animated classic “Pinocchio”.

2:4-7 – Jonah could feel the spiritual life draining from him as he pulled further and further from the Lord.

I am reminded of trips to the ocean when I would wade into the water and body surf for a bit, then look back at the beach and wonder where I was because I’d drifted so far with the waves. Does life do this to you? Do you sometimes look at your relationship with God and wonder how you drifted so far away from Him? If so, what finally clues you into the fact that you are further from God than you want to be? A good practice would be to take stock of your relationship with Him often enough to not be surprised by drifting.

2:4 – See Psalm 31:22; Jeremiah 7:15; 1 Kings 8:48 - 2:4 – Jonah felt as if God pushed him away. What really happened? When was the last time you recognized a misconception like this in yourself?

2:5 – See Psalm 69:1-2 – Jonah is threatened by the water and the deep. It is overwhelming.

2:6 – See Job 28:9; 17:16; 33:18; Psalm 30:3; 16:10; 18:5 – Jonah is feeling low. He is talking about deep mountain roots, which offers an interesting contrast. Jonah declares that the Lord delivers from the pit. Do you think he does this to remind himself of what the Lord is capable? This is a great tactic to take in prayer. And this appears to be the turning point in Jonah’s prayer where hope returns.

2:7 – See Psalm 77:11-12; 2 Chronicles 30:27; Psalm 11:4; 18:6; 65:4 – Jonah remembered the miracles of the Lord and called out to Him in his distress. Jonah’s prayers rose to the Lord in His holy temple in heaven. The Lord’s temple is a palace, meaning He is the King.

Jonah called out to the Lord “when my life was ebbing away” – Is he speaking of physical or spiritual death? What makes you think that?

Jonah’s prayers seemed to need to find God because of how distant Jonah felt from the Lord.

2:8 – See Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Samuel 12:21; Psalm 31:6 – Jonah talks about worthless idols. What brings this up? Is his mind beginning to align with God’s and he is seeing the issue that he is being called to combat in Nineveh?

Mercy – hesed – covenant love that the stronger party gives to the weaker party.

Ironically, Jonah sees idol worshipers as forfeiting God’s grace, but he was denying the Ninevites the opportunity to know the One True God. Could this have been the moment that ultimately influenced him to go to them in obedience to the Lord?

When was the last time you were convicted by the Holy Spirit by something you said during your prayer time? Isn’t it amazing how God does this?

2:9 – Jonah promises to praise the Lord publicly.

See Psalm 42:4; 50:14, 23; Numbers 30:2; Psalm 116:14; Ecclesiates 5:4-5; Exodus 15:2; Psalm 3:8 – Jonah declares his thanks and talks about fulfilling his vows to the Lord without delay. He declares God to be his salvation, his deliverance.

What vows did Jonah make?

2:10 – God’s grace.



• The book of Jonah shows how hatred can cloud our thoughts and keep us from obeying God. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture to break down those and other barriers, and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• 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, September 18, 2013

Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity – Week Two


Ephesus:  The Church Who Lost Her Love

In this week’s video teaching, Sue explains that sin keeps us from close fellowship with Jesus.  It also keeps us from experiencing the abundant life promises found in Scripture.  We actually nurture our “pet sins”.  We indulge in them.  They’re inviting.  But one day, they will demand from us more than we want to pay.  We will choke on the consequences of our “pet sins”.  They may seem small, but they need to be tamed.  Jesus wrote this letter to the seven churches to help them eliminate their sin.  Sue challenges the student to pray for God to identify and eliminate our “pet sins”.  I am definitely praying!

So here’s the church of Ephesus in a nutshell:   They were hard-working and persevering.  They had sound doctrine, meaning that they stuck to the Bible as far as beliefs went.  They also had a hatred of false practices.  Their problem was that they’d lost their love.  Let’s translate that into what it might look like – then and now.  The church of Ephesus would be strict, rigid, legalistic, unforgiving, judgmental, works-oriented, full of hypocrites.  This sounds like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  Sadly, it also sounds like me at times.  I am grateful to this lesson for putting that into perspective for me.

Thankfully, the study doesn’t stop there.  Jesus provides a “fix” to put Ephesus on the right path:  remember from where you have fallen, repent and do the things you did at first.  When you first saved, how did you feel?  How did you act?  How did you pray?  How did you witness?  Were you more passionate than you are today?  Were you more in love with Christ?  Did you seek Him at every opportunity because you wanted to know Him so desperately?  Think about this for awhile.

If you have any suggestions for how to recapture the “honeymoon” of your salvation, PLEASE leave a comment!

Memorize:  Revelation 1:5b-6

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris



Here is my review of this solid murder mystery:


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Lisa Harris and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Dangerous Passage" 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.

Dangerous Passage is the freshman novel in the Lisa Harris’ new Southern Crimes series.  This book is a solid murder mystery peppered with clues for the armchair sleuth.  Human trafficking is at the heart of the frightening plot where each new revelation exposes greater danger and seedier characters.  This story will get your blood boiling to join the fight against injustice just like the leading lady, Avery North, an Atlanta homicide detective who is investigating a series of murders alongside her medical examiner beau, Jackson Bryant.

I am a huge romantic suspense fan, and I adore books that drop clues and let me figure out the whodunit.  This book didn’t grip me initially, but I kept reading because I had to submit a book review.  I’m glad I kept reading.  I grew to like the characters and their relationships with each other.  However, I usually prefer to experience the “meet-cute” of the love interests, but the relationship between Joshua and Avery is already established when you start reading.  The plot is suspenseful and strong, easily my favorite part of the book.  If you have a preference for the suspense over the romance, this is a read I would recommend.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Bible Study: God Desires To Show Mercy - Jonah - Chapter 1

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Jonah, 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, spring 2010, 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, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. 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 Jonah. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

1:1 – Jonah was the son of Amittai (2 Kings 14:23-25) of Geth Hepher, in the territory of Zebulun (Joshua 19:13).

The Lord speaks to Jonah. Imagine this. Jonah has conversations with God.

1:2 – God is angry over the wickedness of the Ninevites. But, unlike our anger most of the time, God’s is backed up by righteousness. It’s motivated by wanting the best for His creation. Also, the Lord deals with His anger by confronting its source.

1:3 – Jonah immediately disobeyed. A study that I’ve done on the book of Jonah called “Kona With Jonah” by Sandra Glahn saw this verse as the first step in a stage direction to show us the depth of Jonah’s spiritual rebellion. He traveled to Joppa, which was at a lower elevation than Samaria where he lived. So Jonah went down to Joppa. Then he went down to the docks and the boat.

Jonah ran away – bad choice. What sort of prophet can he be if he thinks he can outrun God? He obviously doesn’t know God well enough to know he can’t get away from the Lord!

Jews feared the ocean, so for Jonah to choose a sea voyage over God’s command to go to Nineveh is a really big deal. Look at a map. The trip to Nineveh was completely over land.

Jonah is motivated by prejudice. He hated the Ninevites like WWII Jews hated Germans. Or like we “hate” al Qaeda today.

Jonah deals with his anger by running away and disobeying.

How much of Jonah’s reluctance to go to Nineveh was a result of fear?

1:4 – The Lord sent a storm to stop Jonah. But was merciful in how intense He made the storm. He wanted repentance from Jonah just like He wanted repentance from Nineveh. Just like He desires our repentance. But notice that the storm was so intense the ship threatened to break up.

The Hebrew wording of this verse gives the ship human characteristics. It says that the ship thought it would break. This gives the book a fairy tale feel.

God is angry with Jonah for his disobedience, so He sends obstacles to motivate Jonah to stop, repent and obey. He begins with wind and a storm.

1:5 – Jonah continues his downward rebellion. He goes down into the hold of the ship and finally lays his head down to sleep.

Jonah slept through the storm while the sailors worked feverishly to save the ship! When you run from God, does your conscience allow you to sleep?

1:6 – The Captain woke Jonah and tells him to get up! He wanted Jonah to pray for relief. What does this tell you about the Captain? About Jonah? Jonah had made it known previously that he was running away from the Lord. See 1:10.

The Captain’s plea is almost identical to God’s command in verse 2. Have you ever experienced something like this – where you’ve disobeyed God, but later received the same request from a person and complied? Do you think Jonah obeyed the Captain because he realized that God was speaking through him?

1:7 – Casting lots was one form of “divination” that was acceptable in Israel. Can you find other scriptures where lots are cast? What were the results? Did it appear that God may have had influence over the outcome of the casting? What does this tell you about God?

Do you think Jonah already knew he was the cause of the storm before the lot was cast? What evidence did he have so far that God was after him?

Jonah was rightly identified as the cause of the calamity.

1:8 – The sailors ask who he is. Actually, they ask his occupation, where he comes from, what his country is, and who his people are. Why would these things matter?

1:9 – Jonah identifies himself as a Hebrew and a worshiper of the Lord. How could he say such a thing when he is being blatantly disobedient? When was the last time you did something like this?

1:10 – The sailors were afraid and asked what he’d done.

1:11 – The storm is growing worse. The ship was already threatening to break up in verse 4. What do you suppose it’s doing now?

Why would the sailors ask Jonah what they should do to him to make the storm stop?

1:12 – Jonah isn’t all bad. He cares enough about the sailors to put himself in harm’s way to spare them.

But Jonah isn’t all good, either. His desire to be thrown overboard may not be as much about saving the sailors and the ship as it is about escaping from what God wants him to do. This prophet would rather die than deliver God’s message to the Ninevites! Wow!

Are you withholding forgiveness from someone? Don’t hold back any longer. Get on your knees and pray that God would fill you will forgiveness for that person. Pray for them to be touched by the Lord.

1:13 – Why do you think they didn’t take his advice and throw him overboard?

The storm continued to grow worse. Remember verses 4 and 11? The sailors must be approaching hopelessness.

1:14 – They cried out to God, themselves, asking not to be accountable for what they were about to do…

1:15 – …and threw him overboard! The storm stopped. Apparently no amount of prayer was going to stop this storm. Action had to be taken. Have you been there?

Have you ever experienced immediate relief after obeying God? How does it make you feel?

I wonder if the storm stopped the moment his toe touched the water.

1:16 – This incident made the sailors fear the Lord.

1:17 – The fish swallowed Jonah. Big fish? Tight squeeze? One Bible teacher wrote that people get too preoccupied with the idea of the fish. I disagree. First of all, it’s part of the divinely inspired Word of God, so there’s something to be learned from it. God produced a perfect environment at a perfect time to save Jonah from drowning. This is not insignificant or unimportant.

Imagine what it would be like inside of a fish. What do you imagine? If this part of the story were a parable, what life lesson can you take away from it?

Imagine this: God used the fish to deliver Jonah – saved him from drowning.

I don’t normally assign homework, but we will be studying Jonah’s prayer next time. It may be beneficial for you to read chapter two in advance and determine what verses of scripture Jonah is quoting (most are in Psalms).



• The book of Jonah shows how hatred can cloud our thoughts and keep us from obeying God. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture to break down those and other barriers, and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• 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, September 11, 2013

Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity – Week One


A Preface and a Portrait – Revelation 1

In Sue Edwards’ short video, she quotes A.W. Tozer:  “The most important thing about you is what you believe about God.”  I’d like to modify that statement a bit:  The most important thing about you is what you believe about Jesus Christ.  Revelation chapter 1 paints a glorious portrait of Jesus Christ.

The book of Revelation promises blessing to those who read the book and also to those who hear and take it to heart.  As I read this book, I am excited.  I think the sights and sounds of Christ’s return are going to be incredible.  And the experience of being raised with Christ – whether as one of the dead in Christ who will rise first, or the living in Christ who will be caught up with Him in the air – will be amazing!

How do you visualize Jesus Christ?  I see a man with dark skin and eyes – Israeli through and through.  Scripture says His hair is white as snow.  I imagine He is quite striking.  Physically, He’s lean, yet strong and well-toned from all of that carpentry work He did – and from pulling His bride repeatedly out of the pit.  I imagine that meeting Him face-to-face will have the same affect on me as it did John:  immediate face plant!

Personally, I am hopeful that the time of the end is near because the longer it takes for the end to come, the more depraved the world grows.  But I am secure in my salvation and thankful for my life and the opportunity to know Christ now.  Our God – our Jesus – our Holy Spirit – the Trinity is the Alpha and Omega…the Beginning and the End.  It is fitting to think of the Lord in this way since we are studying how this life will end and the next will begin.  Hallelujah!

Memorize:  Revelation 1:3

Monday, September 09, 2013

II Timothy Sword Study




Here's my review of this incredible resource:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Tammy McMahan and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Timothy II Sword Study" 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 Sword Study of II Timothy by Tammy McMahan is ten weeks of Bible study suitable for the whole family!  The workbooks are available for purchase separately so you can customize your family’s experience based on the ages of the children involved.  But each week, each family member studies (and memorizes) the same Scripture at their own age-appropriate level.

Level One is designed for 4-7 year-olds.  The lessons have three basic parts:  “Pray”, a hands-on component called “Color and Do” and an application portion entitled “Read and Learn”.  The level one workbook contains engaging illustrations, various age-appropriate exercises, challenges and fun puzzles.
 
The Level Two workbook is designed for children aged 7-10 years.  This book also contains prayer and application components.  Investigative study is introduced with this age group where the topics are examined from an “aerial view”, a “street view” and an “under the rug” view.  The activities are meatier.  The questions are more thought-provoking and biographies of Christians are presented.

Level Three is geared toward 11-14 year-olds.  The format is similar to Level Two, but there are fewer drawings, more advanced questions, tools like Strong’s Concordance are introduced, and there are fun activities like ciphering, charting and word puzzles.
 
Level Four is intended for ages 14 and up.  This workbook contains investigative study is the “aerial view”, “street view” and “under the rug” format.  There is a prayer component and an application component like the other workbooks as well.  The questions at this level are basically the same as Level Three in content.  They are just worded in a more mature fashion.

The Level Five workbook is the same study guide as Level Four, but it also contains additional helps like background information, in-depth devotional and investigative study, guided prayer using the A.C.T.S. model, memorization, family gatherings and answers to key activities.
 
This is a wonderfully flexible Bible study that can be customized to engage all age groups.  What a wonderful way to spend time as a family.

Wounded Women of the Bible by Dena Dyer and Tina Samples

Here's my review of this hopeful read:
First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Dena Dyer and Tina Samples and their publisher for sending me a copy of "Wounded Women of the Bible" 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.
“Wounded Women of the Bible:  Finding Hope When Life Hurts” by Dena Dyer and Tina Samples is a powerful read.  I’m sorry to say that this book found me at the perfect time – when my life was thrust into a tumultuous season.  But I’m glad I had this book to remind me of the Biblical stories of Two Women in Solomon’s Court, Abigail, Dinah, Ruth, Hagar, Jochebed, Mary and Martha and many more.  The authors point the reader toward hope, Scripture and the Lord, and that is exactly what a person needs when they’re experiencing rough times.
This book reminded me that I am not alone.  I am grateful to have this book as a resource I can look back on when I need it or when I know someone else who does.




Friday, September 06, 2013

Bible Study: God Desires To Show Mercy - Jonah - Introduction

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Jonah, 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, spring 2010, 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, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. 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 read these introductory notes on the book of Jonah. We will begin studying the actual book of Jonah next week. This week, take a look at the history and several background passages that would have influenced Jonah’s feelings toward Nineveh.


Jonah lived in Samaria. He prophesied in 784-772 BC during the reign of Jeroboam II. See 2 Kings 14:23-25. Jewish tradition says that Jonah was the boy brought back to life by Elijah in 1 Kings 17.

In 722-721 BC, Sargon, the Assyrian king, captured Israel’s capital city. So Nineveh became responsible for obliterating Jonah’s native land 50 years after Jonah preached to them.

Nineveh was the greatest of the capital cities of the Assyrian Empire. Established by Nimrod, see Genesis 10:9-12. Assyrians are descended from Shem’s son, Asshur. Remember Shem? He was one of the sons of Noah, saved from the Great Flood in the ark. The Assyrians were responsible for the bloodiest and most devastating invasions in Israel’s history. They had a brutal style of warfare, employing massive armies, including a large chariot corps, and the use of siege works such as battering rams and ramps. They were masters of psychological terrorism, grotesquely displaying bodies of conquered victims. See Nahum 3:2-3. King Jehu mimics one of their tactics in 2 Kings 10:8. The Assyrian Empire flourished during the period of 800-612 BC. Nahum 3:7 predicts Nineveh’s devastation.

King of Israel/King of Judah/King of Assyria
Saul (1050-1010)/ /Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 BC)
David (1010-970)/ /
Solomon’s reign ended in 930 BC and the kingdom was divided. (970-930)//
Jeroboam I (930-909 BC)/Rehoboam (930-913 BC)/
Baasha (908-886 BC)/Asa (910-869 BC)/Adad-Nirari II (911-891 BC)
Omri (885-874 BC)/ /Ashurnisirpal II (883-859 BC)
Ahab (874-853 BC)/Jehoshaphat (872-848 BC)/Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC)
Joram (852-841 BC)/Jehoram (853-841 BC)/
Jehu (841-814 BC)/Athalia (841-835 BC)/
/Joash (835-796 BC)/ Adad-Nirari III (810-783 BC)/ Jonah (784-772 BC)
Jeroboam II (793-753 BC)/Azariah (Uzziah) (792-740 BC)/ Ashurdan III (773-755 BC)
Menahem (752-742 BC)/Jotham (750-735 BC)/Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BC)
Pekah (752-732 BC)/Ahaz (735-715 BC)/Shalmeneser V (726-722 BC)
Hoshea (732-722 BC)/ /
Fall of Israel 722-721 BC/ /Sargon II (722-705 BC)
/Hezekiah (715-686 BC)/Sennacherib (704-681 BC)
/Manasseh (697-642 BC)/Esharhaddon (681-669 BC)
/Josiah (640-609 BC)/Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC)
/Jehoiachim (609-598 BC)/Battle of Carchemesh ends Assyrian Empire 605 BC
/Zedekiah (597-586 BC)/
/Fall of Jerusalem 586 BC/


1115-1077 BC – Tiglath-Pileser I was murdered.

883-859 BC – Ashurnasirpal II used his cruel reputation to extort tribute from other nations.

858-824 BC – Shalmaneser III – in 824 BC, he fought 12 united kings including Hada-Ezer (Ben-Hadad). In 841 BC, he defeated Hazael of Damascus and received tribute from King Jehu on Mount Carmel.

810-783 BC – Adad-Nirari III is probably the savior of 2 Kings 13:5.

744-727 BC – Tiglath-Pileser III was also known by the Babylonian name, Pul. 2 Kings 15:19-20 records him accepting tribute from King Menahem of Israel. 2 Kings 15:29 records one of Assyria’s major invasions of Israel. 2 Kings 17:24 – records his use of mass deportation as a tactic to reduce nationalism in a conquered area. Several invasion campaigns are attributed to his reign:

738 BC – against Hamath
734 BC – against Ijon, Joppa
733 BC – against Ijon, Janoah, Dothan
732 BC – capture of Damascus

In 735 BC, Israel tried to replace King Ahaz of Judah with someone who was anti-Assyrian. See 2 Kings 16:2-6, Isaiah 7:16. Against Isaiah’s warnings (Isaiah 7:4, 16-17; 8:4-8), Ahaz appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III for help in 2 Kings 16:7-9. Ahaz became an Assyrian vassal. See 2 Kings 16:10; 2 Chronicles 28:16, 20-22.

726-722 BC – Shalmeneser V – King Hoshea of Israel withheld tribute to Assyria as recorded in 2 Kings 17:3-5. This action began a 3-year siege against Israel that resulted in the end of the kingdom of Israel in 722-721 BC. Shalmaneser V saw the end of Israel, but his successor, Sargon II, took credit for the victory. See 2 Kings 17:6; 18:8-12.

704-681 BC – Sennacherib – He was murdered by his two sons as recorded in 2 Kings 19:37. He fought against Judah in 701 BC, the 14th year of King Hezekiah’s reign. He captured Lachish. 2 Kings 18:14-16 records King Hezekiah paying him an enormous tribute. 2 Kings 19:35-36 (2 Chronicles 32:21; Isaiah 37:36-37) records a victory of the angel of the Lord against the Assyrian camp.

681-669 BC – Esharhaddon – King Manasseh is recorded as being his loyal vassal.

669-627 BC – Ashurbanipal was the last great Assyrian king. He invaded Egypt in 667 BC with King Manasseh’s help. His brother was King of Babylon.





• The book of Jonah shows how hatred can cloud our thoughts and keep us from obeying God. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture to break down those and other barriers, and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• 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, September 04, 2013

Nehemiah: a heart that can break by Kelly Minter – Week Seven


All of the homework is done.  There’s one last video to watch and then it’s all about putting what we’ve learned into practice.  Hopefully, you’re already doing that.  My own life has changed dramatically since Week One.  My heart and mind are changed.  I pray that change will be reflected in my walk with Christ, that others will see and ask me why I have the hope that I have so that I can point them to Him!

I have celebrated each week’s completion by making the recipes Kelly included in the study workbook.  They were incredible!  I just hope I take more away from this study than just my new staple enchilada recipe!

The session seven video tied it all together.  I pray that I will not forget Nehemiah and his heart for God.  I pray that I will not read the name Jerusalem in Scripture or hear it on the news without thinking about his faithfulness to do God’s will.  I pray that I will remember that the New Jerusalem is coming, and it is a city built of people, not of bricks!  Hallelujah!!!

Even though this study is over, you’ll want to come back next week because we are beginning a study on Revelation by Sue Edwards!  You do not want to miss it!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Promise by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley


Here is my review of this encouraging and enjoyable weekend read:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley and their publisher for sending me a copy of "The Promise" 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 Promise” by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley is the emotionally-charged second novel in the Restoration series.  This book reads well as a standalone novel, but you will appreciate characters and  parts of the story much more if you’ve read the first book, "The Dance".

Tom Anderson lost his job five months ago, but still hasn’t told his wife.  He leaves for work each day and spends his time a coffee shops with free wi-fi filling out applications.  Jean has noticed Tom’s moods, but she can’t get him to open up to her.  And she doesn’t feel comfortable enough to share things with him that she needs to discuss.  Meanwhile, Tom’s parents, Jim and Marilyn (featured in the previous novel – a good book!) are on their second honeymoon in Italy.

These two authors have beautifully written a book that shows struggle and hope and what can happen if you persevere with the Lord at the center of your relationships.  The dialogue actually helped me to carefully choose words when dealing with sensitive circumstances surrounding my children and husband.  Their characters are so life-like that I feel myself becoming emotionally involved in the tale:  experiencing their frustration and their joy.  Some of the dialogue seems a bit contrived at times, but I’ve come to realize that these speech patterns are more the mark of good communication and expression.  And now I am attempting to mimic those speech patterns.  This book, in conjunction with other current circumstances and studies I am doing, also led me to pray more specifically and Biblically for those around me.  Thank you, Mr. Walsh and Mr. Smalley.

Trapped by Irene Hannon



Here's my review of this wonderful novel:

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

Irene Hannon’s second novel in the Private Justice series, “Trapped”, is the suspenseful tale of a runaway teen and her half-sister/guardian who hires the Phoenix Investigations agency to find the girl.  Darcy thinks Laura’s house rules are strict, and Laura’s life is boring.  Darcy misses their deceased mother and carries other burdens that influence her decision to head to Chicago using her librarian-sister’s “stash cash”.  What Darcy doesn’t count on is a major snow storm that keeps her close to home.

Laura is very different from Darcy, but she didn’t think her sister would take off the way she did.  When a classmate of Darcy’s turns out to be related to the office manager for the Phoenix agency, Laura seeks the agency’s help to find the missing teen.  Another thing she didn’t count on was the strong attraction she has toward James Devlin, the chief investigator on Darcy’s case.

Dev is a former ATF Agent and a formidable investigator.  He pieces together the dead ends with the clues and his gut feelings to move forward in the investigation of Darcy’s disappearance.  Meanwhile, he is determined to keep his relationship with his client professional and impersonal, but he can’t shake the desire to be around her.  His growing feelings are baffling because “Librarian Laura” isn’t really his “type”.  But Laura is not your typical librarian and may be exactly what Dev needs to break free of his past and move into the future.

This book is a solid suspense read.  It is also a solid romance.  It’s one of those novels that you could stay up all night reading because the plot moves along at a strong and steady pace until the roller coaster ride sweeps you away to the finish.  Start this book close to your weekend so you don’t have to put it down too much.  Irene Hannon crafts fleshy characters that will make the reader look at the people they encounter more closely.  Her books always end up on my “keeper” shelf!