There are some exciting books being released!
I’m still waiting for my copy of Alan Fadling’s An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest to ship. Amazon tells me that my copy of Larry Crabb’s Fully Alive: A Biblical Vision of Gender That Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypes will arrive on Wednesday. Finally, today I received my review copy of Stasi Eldredge’s Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You. And I realized that if I keep getting new books I won’t have room for anything else in my suitcase when I head to Wales. <grin>
The winner can choose one of the following books (new or lightly used copies):
Missions: Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper
Theology: Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus by Jared C. Wilson
Children/Youth: Tales of the Defended Ones by Beth Guckenberger
Christian Living: Mud and the Masterpiece: Seeing Yourself and Others through the Eyes of Jesus by John Burke
Fiction: The Rescue by Lori Wick
There are two ways to enter:
1) NO PURCHASE NECESSARY: Leave a comment on this blog (not Facebook, but on the blog post itself) telling me what book you are most looking forward to reading and why. It can be a new release or something that you’ve been wanting to find time to read.
2) PURCHASE anything on Amazon.com through my referral link and earn one additional entry for every transaction. You must leave a comment on this blog post telling me the date of your purchase(s) to receive your entry credit(s). ***This is retroactive for purchases back to May 15th when I sent out my link in my Journey e-mail update***
Anyone, anywhere, can enter, but I will only ship the book within the continental USA. If you live outside this region please be prepared to provide me with an address of someone who will receive the book for you.
You must leave a valid e-mail in the e-mail field when you comment. The winner will be notified by e-mail. If I do not receive a response within 72 hours of notification another winner may be selected.
I am not responsible for books mailed and not received.
Winner will be selected at random.
Deadline to enter is Midnight, Eastern Time on June 1st.
Note: All comments are held for moderation so you will not see your comment appear until I have had time to log-in and mark that it is not spam. Thanks for your patience.
You are good and you bring forth good; instruct me in your statues. Psalm 119:68
At times there are certain verses that I memorize and carry with me through my days as a prayer. This is one of them.
As I repeat these words to myself I remember the character of God.
He is good.
And I remember the works of God.
They are good.
Sometimes, often, I have to redefine my definition of good, for there are things that I call good that are not necessarily the deepest good for my soul. I find this is especially true in regard to suffering and desires denied. But the Word tells us that He is always working for the good of those He calls His own; those who love Jesus and come to salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of the Son. Even in the middle of what seems painful and hard I can trust and believe that God is good and He is bringing forth good.
So I ask Him to instruct me. I ask the Father to teach me His ways and I ask the Spirit guard and guide my mind.
I long to know God as my deepest good today and always.
So I breathe these words as a prayer…
You are good and you bring forth good; instruct me in your statues.
Annalisa Werner’s hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love…that’s something she’s given up on.
So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.
Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher–or so he says. He’s looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.
With time running out, she accepts his help, but there’s more to this man than he’s admitting. Annalisa senses that Carl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He’s also gentle, kind, charming–unlike any man she’s ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of The Doctor’s Lady and The Preacher’s Bride. She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at JodyHedlund.com.
A fresh read. An age old plot.
Annalisa is trapped by her need and her culture. In a male dominated, hierarchical immigrant community a marriage of love is a foreign concept. When Annalisa’s husband destroys all her dreams and leaves her alone in a foreign land with a pile of debt and a daughter to raise she never thinks to question her father’s requirement that she marry a man from Germany that she has never met. It is the way of her people.
When Carl is sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit he is snapped out of his privileged and self centered life and thrown into a world of unknowns where keeping his identity secret is the key to keeping his life.
The plot is familiar, but I enjoyed some of the subtle twists of discovery: Annalisa’s surprise at a man’s kindness and good humor, Carl’s discovery of attitudes of injustice in spite of honest hard labor, the responsibility of making wise choices (whether the choice is to stand on our own or yield to the will of another) and the underlying truth that all men hold stereotypes that divide, keeping us from genuine relationship and community. I found the story’s villain too flat and the ending a bit too quickly and neatly wrapped up, but overall I enjoyed the book.
Thanks to Bethany House for sending me a free digital copy of this novel for review.
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw looking for a minister. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind.
For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna’s outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?
Karen Witemeyer is a bestselling historical romance author who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She holds a master’s degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University and is a member of ACFW, RWA, and her local writers’ guild. Stealing the Preacher is her fifth novel. Karen lives with her husband and three children in Abilene, Texas. Learn more at www.karenwitemeyer.com.
Book Release Date: Jun 1, 2013 .
Karen Witemeyer’s novels impress me with their balance of humor, redemption and reality. Evidenced in her novels is the fact that author understands people and the things that motivate them. Stealing the Preacher is no exception. It’s a good romance and a sweet story. I’d call it light reading, but don’t mistake that for a book full of fluff. This is a redemptive story. Hope, fear, overcoming the past, justice verses mercy, the value of internal beauty and the endless pursuit of a loving God weave their way through this novel. My favorite thing about this book is that when I turned the last page my soul was left rejoicing in the truth that God loves us too much to give up on us.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing me a free digital galley of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Ben and Joseph lose their mothers, but find a family looking just for them. Antonio is rescued from what seems like a hopeless situation. Caitlyn dares to trust that truth will set her free. Jorani is delivered from slavery into the arms of grace.
Follow these real-life stories as they take you on a journey to foreign places and extreme struggles. Travel through their challenges and see the hand of the great Storyweaver – our Defender God shielding and defending the defenseless in the amazing ways only he can.These are the tales of the ones left wounded and weak-ones made whole and strong . . .
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jJ8g6
Beth Guckenberger and her husband, Todd, are the founders of Back2Back Ministries which communicates a lifestyle of service by sharing the love of Christ and serving God through service to others. Guckenberger travels and speaks regularly at women’s and missions conferences, as well as youth gatherings and church services. In addition to her children’s releases in the Storyweaver series, Guckenberger has written two mission-minded books. She has also partnered with Standard Publishing on the mission content in its 2013 VBS program. The Guckenberger family lives and serves in Monterrey, Mexico.
Find out more about Beth at http://www.bethguckenberger.com/.
I’m perhaps not the best qualified reviewer for this book as it is meant for children to read with their families, but I love stories, especially stories of hope and God’s great redemption so I requested this book for review.
This book is full of stories. Stories of hope and a future, freedom and grace.
The layout was a bit scattered for me, but perhaps it is perfect for kids. I loved all the extra tidbits, things like the definition of foreign words and descriptions of life in other places, but they were placed in such a way that you had to pause reading the story to investigate the extras. (Honestly that drove me crazy as a kid too. I’m all about uninterrupted stories with extras before or after, but that’s just me.)
I think that parents will want to read this book first and decide when their children are ready to read it. This book is full of wonderful tales of hope after tragedy, but there is tragedy in this book. It’s important for a parent to be ready and available to be able to talk to kids about these stories and their content. While these stories are carefully and tactfully told some kids may not be ready to hear about a mom who is planning on killing her child so he is not alone in the world when she dies of cancer or read about the abuse of a parent. Despite all the hope and happy endings, the reality of these tales will require wisdom on the part of the parent. One nice bonus is that each chapter contains questions and space to write the answers and thoughts about the chapter.
Overall, I think that this is a great resource to expand the horizons of children, to foster in them a heart of compassion and a greater faith in God who loves the orphan and the fatherless.
It’s an encouraging book for adults as well.
One winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 24th. Winner will be announced at the “Storyweaver” Author Chat Party on April 25th. Beth will be chatting with guests, answering questions, and offering tips about beginning a dialog with children and youth about the orphans around the world, the basic needs of children living in poverty, and what we can all do to help. (It’s okay if you haven’t read the book – who knows, you might WIN a copy!) Beth will also be hosting a fun trivia contest and giving away tons of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books, and more!)
So grab your copy of Tales of the Defended Ones and join Beth and friends on the evening of the April 25th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)
Thank you LitFuse for sending me a free copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion
It’s only mid-April, but at 90 degrees, summer has arrived in Florida.
Summer, that season that drains my body of energy and leaves me to wilt in the heat or sends me rushing to hide in the cool of the climate controlled indoors.
Parched. That’s a word I think of when I think of summer.
Parched gardens longing for moisture. Parched throats longing for a cool drink of water.
Have you ever been parched, shriveled dry and desperately thirsty?
Imagine that feeling of longing, that deep need to be restored. Then imagine someone brings you a glass of water, clinking with ice, shrouded with drops of condensation. And for a moment all you can do is stare at the glass, memorizing the look of it. Longing for relief you reach forward and run a finger down the side of the glass through the condensation. You press the finger to your lips and the dampness brings a momentary relief to your lips even while it stirs your thirst. You reach down and with both hands encircling the glass and you hold it. The cold seeps into your skin and the ice clinks in the glass. You raise the glass and you press it to the side of your face and then roll it slowly across your forehead savoring its cool touch against your hot and dehydrated skin. Then you set the glass down in front of you and with a sigh you arise and return to your work.
But you are still parched.
The dampness on your lips and the coolness on your head will do nothing to sustain you. You must actually drink the water!
It may be a silly illustration, but I think that it describes how I sometimes seek to sustain myself. In fact, I’d put money on the fact that it’s not just a problem for me, but that many, many believers find themselves going through these very same motions in their spiritual life. We do everything but actually drink of the living water.
Jesus comes to us with an invitation. He does not speak idle words, nor are they a one-time offer.
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me,
as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you.
No branch can bear fruit by itself;
it must remain in the vine.”
We have an invitation to come to the source of Living Water. Jesus offers us rest and refreshment if we will abide in Him. But how often do we move toward Him and yet neglect to actually drink? We come to Him, but we neglect to learn from Him, to abide in Him. I think it happens more often than we care to admit, especially for those who are serving in ministry.
The Words of Life are our livelihood. The Scripture is not just for our personal edification and growth, it is our message and its truth is the foundation of all our work. We hear the Words day in and day out. But how often do we accept the invitation to drink? How often do I let the familiar words penetrate between flesh and marrow and how often do I simply observe them, like condensation running down the side of a glass, but fail to drink in that which my soul needs?
Sometimes I bring that beautiful glass of water up to my face and cool myself with its moisture. I rest against it and expect that external contact to sustain me. This is a picture of my life when I neglect solitude and silence with God. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this discipline is essential to the state of my spiritual life. If I neglect solitude and silence my mind is filled with a sense of busyness that crowds out my ability to listen well to the Spirit. Without solitude and silence I cannot abide. I know this. And yet it is so easy to allow this time consuming discipline to slip away in light of life’s day to day demands and the needs that are all around me.
Then, when I find my way back into the stillness of time set apart with the Lord it can be akin to drinking the glass down in one long draught and I wonder why I let myself get so parched with thirst. But sometimes it’s a slow reversal, like finishing a long marathon and discovering you are completely dehydrated and overcome with muscle cramps. You rehydrate your body through the pain. Sometimes I find that coming awake to God is like this. There is a painful process of toxins being removed and hydration being restored.
Still, whether the process is painful or whether it brings instant joy, I can’t deny that my deepest desire is to be refreshed, restored, renewed. I want to rest and I want to abide. The question is not should I drink. I know that I should.
Will I daily arrange my life in such a way that I am not just gazing on or handling the living water, but so that I am actually drinking, coming, abiding in its life.
That begs the questions of how do you do it? How do you arrange your life to meet this deep desire? What would it look like to move toward daily drinking the living water?
Everyone is unique and the mix of spiritual practices that help me abide well in Christ are not necessarily the same practices that will be most effective for you. There are, however, some basic disciplines that every believer can draw from to open their life to a deeper practice of abiding in Christ.
Some categories to think through are:
If you are looking for a good, easy to follow resource to help you explore and discern what practices may lead you to a deeper place of abiding in Christ then I’d highly recommend Ruth Haley Barton’s Sacred Rhythms DVD and Study Guide.
While I personally recommend the visual imagery presented in the DVD, you can also read the same content in her book, Sacred Rhythms.
(Or you may be like me and choose to get them both so you can read the book while you follow along with the DVD and Study guide.)
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.
When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting to her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.
Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.
Every word has a melody.
Every sentence has a rhythm.
This truth has intrigued me since my early years. Even before I fully understood the meaning behind many of the words, I devoured literature and consumed poetry.
Austen, Alcott, Wordsworth: I left no piece of literature untouched, left no author unexamined. I continue to see magic in how a word is transformed by the word next to it and how written thoughts can incite emotion and evoke change.
In addition to a lifetime of writing and exploring fiction, I have more than ten years of strategic marketing and brand management experience, including five years of marketing non-fiction books and three years of marketing the musical arts. I live in Indiana and am blessed to share my life with my amazing husband, sweet daughter, and very lovable Golden Retriever.
Learn more about Sarah Ladd at her website: http://www.saraheladd.com/
An enjoyable Regency romance, The Heiress of Winterwood, drew me into a story of faith and surrender.
Sheltered and willing to go along with her uncle’s plans for her future, Ameila experiences a wake up call when her selfless promise to care for a dying friend’s child leads to tension, surprising discoveries and betrayal. Captain Sterling can’t lay down his guilt over the mistakes of his past. Suddenly Graham finds himself confronted with the limits of his own abilities as he faces the loss of all that he holds dear. This entertaining tale draws the reader into faith lessons while weaving together a story of mystery and love.
This was an excellent debut novel from Sarah Ladd. I’ll be keeping an eye out for her next release.
Angels with wings of blade. Demons with renewed sight. And a girl who has never been more broken.
Brielle has begun to see the world as it really is, a place where angels intermingle with humans. But just when she thinks she’s got things under control, the life she’s pieced together begins to crumble.
Her boyfriend, Jake, is keeping something from her. Something important.
And her overprotective father has turned downright hostile toward Jake. Brielle fears she’ll have to choose between the man who’s always loved her and the one who’s captured her heart.
Then she unearths the truth about her mother’s death and the nightmare starts. Brielle begins seeing visions of mysterious and horrible things.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s been targeted. The Prince of Darkness himself has heard of the boy with healing in his hands and of the girl who saw through the Terrestrial veil. When he pulls the demon Damien from the fiery chasm and sends him back to Earth with new eyes, the stage is set for the ultimate battle of good versus evil.
Brielle has no choice. She must master the weapons she’s been given. She must fight.
But can she fly with broken wings?
Shannon is a wife and mother. A sister. A daughter. A friend. She was raised in Northern California by her parents—pastors of their local church and constant figures of inspiration.
“I’m a firm believer that books open doors into the imagination and remind us that we should venture there often. We should dream. We should try hard things. We should be fearless. And while there are many obstacles that stand in the way, I hope my stories remind readers that life is to be lived. Pain is to be tackled. Mountains are to be climbed. And while you may fall into dark places along the way, light is as close as the prayer on your lips.”
You can read more about Shannon at her website and blog at: http://shannondittemore.com/
The thing that I appreciated most about Angel Eyes was that while the book was full of suspense and pain and conflict in the heavenly realms, it was not built on fear and horror, but on hope.
When I read the synopsis for Broken Wings (above) it sounded dark, but like Angel Eyes, I found this book packed full of hope. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve read anything else recently that has stirred my heart like this series. The battle is real. The battle is present. Worship, love, truth, the testimony of our redemption and faith in the Triune God are our weapons.
I’ve read other books that center around angels and demons. Many of them left me uncomfortable. There was too little of God, too much supposition and too little Biblical foundation. While this series is imagination and fantasy, it is built on a foundation of truth. Always the angels worship and honor God as primary. Even the gifts given by the halo are attributed not to the halo itself or to the angel it came from, but always as a blessing from the Almighty who alone chooses what gifts to give and to upon whom He will bestow these graces. I also liked that the author incorporated the truth that God gives people roles to play as acts of worship, despite the fact that an angel could have played that part.
Further, I was moved by descriptions of worship in color and song and fragrance. The author’s beautiful illustrations captured my heart and stirred my imagination.
While this could be read as a stand alone novel you really should read Angel Eyes (which is currently on sale for just $4.00 at Amazon) before reading Broken Wings. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment, Dark Halo, due to be released on August 20th.
It’s 1846 in Ireland. When her family’s small farm is struck by famine, Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus, set out across the ocean to the Promised Land of America.
Five years prior, Clare’s older sister Margaret and her Uncle Tomas emigrated in similar fashion and were not to be heard from again. But Clare must face her fears as she lands in the coming-of-age city of New York. There she discovers love, adventure, tragedy, and a terrible secret which threatens to destroy her family and all she believes.
Flight of the Earls is the first book in a historical novel trilogy based on Irish immigration in the 1840s.
Michael K. Reynolds has more than two decades of writing experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He wrote and produced the Emmy and Telly Award- winning Crystal Darkness series of anti-meth films and owns Global Studio, a social marketing agency. Also an active leader in church and business, he is a noted speaker in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.
This isn’t just a novel, it’s a saga. Full of sorrow, intrigue, mystery, reality and hints of grace this tale takes the reader on a journey of emotion.
As I read the first chapters of this book I thought that the descriptions were perhaps a bit over dramatic, but as I became engaged in the story the writing style and the tale wove together in perfect harmony. This book was a layered tale of the plight of the Irish; in County Roscommon, Ireland, New York and the Mexican American War. While I had a hard time putting the book down, I can’t really say that I enjoyed the book. The entire story exposed a realistic picture of greed, corruption, betrayal, death and every sort of human vice. It wasn’t a happy tale or even a particularly redemptive one, though there were frequent glimpses of the grace and mercy of the ever present God. While I applaud the excellent writing and the historical content I’m not sure that I’ll read the rest of the trilogy.
Thank You B&H Publishing for sending me a free digital galley of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
“As long as I live, I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend why God has allowed me the unspeakable joy of serving Him through full-time ministry. Goodness knows I didn’t deserve it. My entire life has been a mission of God’s mercy. I am increasingly awed over my salvation and find the privilege of knowing and loving God to be unfathomable. A long time ago I had to accept the fact that I could do nothing to repay God for His bountiful grace to me, for if I could, grace would be nullified. What I could do instead was pour my life on His altar and make every effort to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Phil. 3:12). Translation? Fulfill my calling. Not anyone else’s – just mine. To know Him. To love Him. To serve Him. I believe that is what He’s called you to do too.”
Beth Moore – Praying God’s Word
I’m forgetful. I think to some extent we all are. Maybe that’s why remembrance is such an important topic in the Bible.
What do I forget?
I forget that God has chosen me, re-created me as a new creation and given me a calling specific to the woman that he created me to be. My calling doesn’t look like someone else’s calling because it is uniquely designed for me.
I forget that it’s a journey, not an errand where I sweep in, get the thing I’m after and complete my task. It’s a bit ironic actually. I use the email ID of sojourner. My domain name is Land Of My Sojourn. And yet I so often in the times of waiting and long empty stretches of road I lose sight of the reason that God has taken hold of me and directed me down this particular path. I try to compress a plan that stretches out through all eternity and condense it to make sense of this one season.
I forget that eternal life is about relationship with God and that it is solely from that relationship that ministry happens. (“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3) I miss the blessing of the moment, growing in relationship with God and others, because I want to be doing something more “useful” for the Kingdom.
Beth said it perfectly and I’ll let her reminder speak to my soul today. What can I do for God? I fulfill my calling. No one else’s – just mine.
May we all live to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in the works that He has planned for us.
God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do. ERV
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