Friday, September 30, 2016

When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander



When Love Arrives

by Johnnie Alexander

Dani had planned to spy on Brett--so how did she end up on a date with him? 

Dani Prescott can't believe the lie Brett Somers is trying to sell to the media. During an interview about the plane crash that killed his parents, he blamed Dani's mother. But the crash killed her as well. Vowing to restore her mother's reputation, Dani has been following Brett and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use to discredit him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something--but he's got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is?


Here's my review of this engaging love story:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Johnnie Alexander and her publisher for sending me a copy of "When Love Arrives" 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.
When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander is a captivating and surprising love story considering the initial encounter of the leading man and lady is built on a lie.  Brett is a too handsome, too charming and too rich playboy type who lost both parents in a plane crash.  Dani is looking to dig up some dirt on Brett in the hopes of restoring her deceased mother’s reputation by removing the blame placed on her for the plane crash that killed her and Brett’s parents.  She never expected to be caught spying on him.  She never expected him to ask her out on a date.  She never expected to fall in love.

This beautifully written novel is difficult to put down.  The short chapters are easily consumed.  I caught myself reminiscing about places I’d been that I was reminded of by the character’s experiences (the old plush couch theater in the old MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Village Diner in New York).  This book brought a lot of smiles to my face and sighs to my lungs.  But the best part of the book is that it’s about forgiveness.  This is a beautiful thing since forgiveness seems to be in such short supply.  It’s nice to see examples of such behavior even if it’s in a work of fiction.
I haven't read book one in this series, but book two reads perfectly well as a stand-alone novel.  I completely recommend this book for a weekend read.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Homiletics - Romans 10


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

1
1-2
Heart’s desire/prayer=Israelites saved; they zealous for G, but not based on knowledge.
2
3-4
They not know/submit to G’s righteousness; Christ=righteousness for everyone who believes.
3
5
Moses writes about righteousness: ”person who does these things will live by them.”
4
6-7
Righteousness by faith says: do not say in heart, who ascend into heaven (to bring Christ down) or who descend into deep (to bring Christ up from dead).
5
8-9
What it say?  “word is near you, in your mouth & heart”, msg concerning faith we proclaim: if you declare w/mouth: “J is Lord” & believe in heart God raised him from dead, you saved.
6
10
w/heart you believe/are justified, w/mouth you profess faith/are saved.
7
11
Scripture says “Anyone who believes in Him never put to shame”.
8
12-13
No difference betw Jew & Gentile, same Lord=Lord of all, richly blesses all who call on him, everyone who calls on name of L saved.
9
14-15
How can they call on one not believed in, believe in one not heard, hear w/o someone preaching, preach unless sent; “how beautiful feet who bring good news.”
10
16
Not all Israelites accepted good news, Isaiah: who has believed msg?
11
17-18
Faith comes from hearing msg thru word about Christ; I ask: did they not hear?  Of course, their voice gone into all earth, words to end of world.
12
19
I ask: did Is not understand? 1st, Moses: I make you envious by those not a nation, I make you angry by nation that has no understanding.
13
20-21
Isaiah: I found by those who didn’t seek me, revealed myself to who didn’t ask for me; I’ve held out my hands to disobedient and obstinate people.

 

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

1
1-8
Paul’s heart’s desire is for Israel’s salvation
Principle:
Righteousness comes from salvation in Christ.
2
9-11
How to be saved
Principle:
Salvation occurs when you believe God resurrected Jesus and confess that Jesus is Lord.
3
12-16
Calling on the Lord
Principle:
The Lord blesses everyone who calls on Him.
People are led to call on the name of the Lord when they hear the good news of Christ.
4
17-21
Faith, hearing, understanding, revelation
Principle:
Hearing the Gospel of Christ always has the potential to lead others to faith in Christ.

 

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

Paul desires Israel’s salvation obtained through faithful belief and profession.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK Salvation comes from faith and profession in the Lordship of Christ and leads to righteousness and the mission to share the good news of Christ with others.

 

Application:

1
What is your heart’s desire for the salvation of others?  How is this desire evidenced in your prayer life and service?  To whom are you witnessing and for whom are you praying?
On what is your zeal for God based on?
How would you explain the righteousness of God to a new believer or a skeptic?
How do you/will you submit to the righteousness of God?
Why is Christ the culmination of the law?  Where in Scripture do you find support of this truth?
What does Moses say about the righteousness that is by the law in Romans 10:5-8?  What does his teaching mean to you?
2
How is one saved?  Have you done this?
What role does your heart play in salvation?  What role does your mouth play?
What promise is given to every believer according to Romans 10:11?  How have you experienced this to be true?  What does this mean to you?
3
What is the difference between Jew and Gentile according to Romans 10:12?  What is the relation to the Lord for the Jew and for the Gentile?
According to Romans 10:13, who will be saved?  How will this knowledge change how you pray and share Christ?
What is the process of coming to belief in Christ according to Romans 10:14-15?  Where are you in this cycle of belief?  What will it take to bring you to the next level of the cycle?
Knowing that all Israelites haven’t accepted the good news, how will you pray for and witness to Israelites?
4
How does faith come to us?
What is the message that brings faith?
According to Paul in verse 18, did Israel hear the message?  If that is the case, why isn’t Israel saved according to Scripture?
Was the problem a lack of understanding according to verse 19?
What do you think Isaiah meant in verses 20-21?  (see also Isaiah 65:1-2)

 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Homiletics - Romans 9


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

1
1-2
I spk truth in Christ, conscience confirms thru HS, I have great sorrow/anguish in heart.
2
3-5
Could wish I cursed/cut off from Christ for sake of Israel; theirs=adoption, divine glory, covenants, law, temple worship, promises, patriarchs; from them=Messiah.
3
6-8
Not tho G’s word failed; not all descended from Is=Is; nor descendants all Abe’s children, “thru Isaac offspring reckoned”; not phys children=God’s, but children of promise.
4
9-13
Promise: I return, Sarah have son; Rebekah’s children conceived @ same time by Isaac; before twins born: “older will serve younger”; written: “Jacob loved, Esau hated”.
5
14-15
God unjust? No; to M: “I have mercy on who I have mercy, compassion on whom I have comp”.
6
16-17
Doesn’t depend on human desire or effort, but G’s mercy; Scripture to Phar: “I raised you for this purpose, I display my power in you & my name proclaimed.”
7
18
Tf G mercy on whom He wants, hardens whom He wants.
8
19-20
“Why God blame us?  Who able to resist?” Who are you to talk back to G?  “Shall formed say to one who formed: why you make me this?”
9
21
Does Potter have right make of same clay special and common?
10
22-24
What if G, choosing show wrath/make pwr known, bore w/patience obj of wrath to make riches of glory known to obj of mercy (prep in adv for glory), not only Jews also Gents?
11
25-26
In Hosea: “I call ‘my ppl’ who not, I call ‘my loved one’ who not; in place where said “you not my ppl’ they called ‘children of the living God’.”
12
27-28
Isaiah: “though Israelites like sand, only remnant saved; L carry out sentence w/speed & finality”.
13
29
Isaiah previously: “unless L left descendants, we like Sodom, Gomorrah”.
14
30-33
What we say?  Gentiles didn’t pursue righteousness, obtained by faith; Israel pursued law as righteousness not by faith, stumbled; as written: “I lay stone causes stumble, who believes in Him never put to shame.”

 


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

1
1-13
Paul’s burden for the Jews
Principle:
Salvation is from the Jews but not only for the Jews.
2
14-21
God’s mercy
Principle:
God is merciful and compassionate toward His creation.
3
22-33
God’s relationship with people
Principle:
God’s choices benefit the objects of His mercy.

 

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

Paul writes about God’s purpose in election and mercy.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK God is sovereign over all things and as Creator of the universe and everything in it (and beyond), He has the right to do what He wishes with that Creation and He uses what He created to benefit those on whom He chooses to have mercy – those He has drawn to Christ – the children of the promise.

 

Application:

1
What truth can you speak in Christ about your feelings for others?
For whom are you burdened spiritually?  How do you minister to these people?
How can you develop a Christ-like, self-sacrificial love for those to whom you minister?
According to 9:4-5, what belongs to Israel and what is the significance that these things belong to Israel and not the Gentiles?
How might God’s word have failed according to verses 1-6?
What does it mean that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel”?
Paraphrase verse 7 in your own words.
Who are the children of the promise?
Describe God’s purpose in election according to 11-13.
2
How is it just that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy?
What does 9:14-21 teach you about God?
What does 9:14-21 teach you about people?
How does 9:14-21 make you feel about your relationship with God?  How will you express your feelings to the Lord?
How does the illustration of the Potter and the clay in 9:20-21 help you understand your relationship with God?
3
What might it look like for God to bear with great patience the objects of His wrath (9:22)?
Why do you think He would do such a thing?  (See 9:23-24)
What does Hosea say about God’s people?  What does this mean to you?
What does Isaiah say about God’s people?  What does this mean to you?
What is the stumbling stone?  Who stumbled over it?
What is your relation to the stumbling stone?

 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Homiletics - Romans 8


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

1
1-4
No condemnation for those in Christ bec law of S set you free from law of sin & death; what law powerless to do bec it weakened by flesh, God did by sending Son in likeness of sinful flesh to be sin offering; He condemned sin in flesh that righteous requirement of law be fully met in us who live according to S.
2
5-8
Those who live according to flesh have minds set on flesh desires, those who live according to Spirit have mind set on Spirit desires; mind governed by flesh=death, is hostile to G, doesn’t submit to G’s law & can’t; mind governed by Spirit=life & peace; those in realm of flesh cannot please G.
3
9-11
You not in realm of flesh, but in realm of Spirit if Spirit of G lives in you, if anyone not have Spirit of Christ, they not belong to Christ; if Christ in you, even though your body=subject to death bec of sin, Spirit gives life bec of righteousness; if Spirit of Him Who raised J is in you, He Who raised J will give life to your bodies bec of Spirit.
4
12-15
Therefore we have obligation, not to live according to flesh; if you live according to flesh you die; if by Spirit you put to death misdeeds of body, you live; those led by Spirit of G are children of G; Spirit does not make you slaves, rather Spirit brought your adoption, by Him we cry Abba Father.
5
16-17
S testifies w/our spirit we are G’s children; if we children, we heirs of G & co-heirs w/Christ if we share in His sufferings that we may share glory.
6
18-21
I consider our sufferings not worth comparing w/glory that will be revealed in us; for creation waits in eager expectation for children of G to be revealed, for creation subjected to frustration in hope that creation be liberated from bondage to decay & brought into freedom & glory of children of G.
7
22-27
We know whole creation groaning as in pains of childbirth up to present; we who have firstfruits of S groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption, redemption of our bodies; in this hope we’re saved, hope that’s seen is no hope at all, who hopes for what they have; if we hope for what not have, we wait patiently; in same way, S helps us in weakness, we don’t know what to pray for but S intercedes thru wordless groans & He Who searches our hearts knows mind of S bec S intercedes in acc w/will of G.
8
28-30
In all things G works for good of those who love Him/have been called acc to His purpose; those G foreknew He predestined be conformed to image of Son that He be 1stborn among many; those predestined, He called; those called, He justified; those justified, He glorified.
9
31
What shall we say in response: if G is for us who can be against us?
10
32
He who didn’t spare Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not graciously give us all things?
11
33-34
Who will bring charge vs. those G has chosen, G justifies; who condemns?  No one, J who died – more than that, was raised – is @ rt hand of G interceding for us.
12
35-39
Who shall separate us from love of Christ? Trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword? As written: for your sake we face death all day, we considered as sheep to be slaughtered; No, we more than conquerors thru Him who loved us; I’m convinced neither death nor life, angels nor demons, present or future, nor any powers, height nor depth, nor anything else in creation able to separate us from love of G in Christ.

 

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

1
1-15
Life and peace in Christ
Principle:
The most important choice we will ever make is: life or death.
2
16-27
We are God’s children
Principle:
Each of us was planned and wanted by our Heavenly Father.
3
28-39
God works all things for good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose
Principle:
God is good and has good things planned for the lives of His people.

 

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

God works all things for good for His children.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK that God loves His people and has wonderful plans for our lives.

 

Application:

1
Why is there no condemnation for those in Christ?
What was the law powerless to do and how did God accomplish it?
What is God’s attitude toward sin?
Compare and contrast those who live according to the flesh and those who live according to the Spirit.
Would you prefer to live according to the flesh or the Spirit?  Why?
What might it look like to live according to the flesh?  The Spirit?
Where in Scripture do you see examples of people living in the flesh and living in the Spirit?
2
What does it mean to be a child of God?
How have you suffered?  And how will that suffering compare to the glory that will be revealed in you?  How does this encourage you to suffer well?
How might you suffer well?
How did Paul suffer well according to 2 Corinthians 12:7-11?
How does the Spirit help us in weakness?
3
What are the conditions of God working all things for good?
Describe the process of being glorified by God.
What does the question, “if God is for us who can be against us”, mean to you?
What has God graciously given you in the spirit of giving His only Son?
Where is Jesus now and what is He doing?  How does this comfort and encourage you?
What cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ?
What leads Paul to write that we are more than conquerors?
Where in Scripture do you see evidence that God’s people are more than conquerors in Christ?
What does it mean to you to be more than conquerors in Christ?