Twilight at Moorington Cross

by Abigail Wilson

Imagine being given a grand inheritance worth millions of dollars. Imagine that same inheritance coming with a stipulation — a pretty big stipulation. You can have all the money and the grand estate if you are willing to marry a man you have never met within thirty days. Oh, I forgot…She at least gets to pick between two different men! She can choose between a rather boring and unattractive fellow, or the biggest cad in all of England!

Fortunately for Amelia Pembroke, she has a handsome solicitor to help her figure out which man is right for her! Hmmm….I might see where this is going.

There are many mysteries to be solved as this book is full of quirky characters, untimely death, and a clock running down. It’s set in Regency England and sticks pretty well to the character of the time.

This is certainly a light read. It’s mean to highlight the fun characters and the mysteries to be solved. I really isn’t a deep book, so pick this one up if you want something breezy and fun. I was given a copy to review and, as always, this is my honest opinion of the read! I hope you enjoy!

When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines with Persecuted Christians

by Todd Nettleton

In one of the latest books to drop by The Voice of the Martyrs, Todd Nettleton takes us along as he travels to the frontlines of persecuted nations. He shares some incredible stories, gives his thoughts as he journals after long days, and guides us in prayers for those that are sharing their faith under such difficult circumstances. The most amazing part about this book is just reading of the joy our brothers and sisters have as they face prison time, beatings, harassment, and all sorts of unimaginable things. They count it as a blessing to share the Gospel in this way. They recognize that Jesus was willing to do the same for us, so why shouldn’t we be just as happy to face persecution?

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:1,2

If you are not familiar with The Voice of the Martyrs ministry, I highly encourage you to check out their website. A free magazine is available too! Todd Nettleton also hosts a weekly podcast that is always available at the bottom of my page.

This is a book that I highly, highly recommend. It’s such an encouragement for us to read their stories and see how God always gives us what we need to handle situations when we want to bring Him glory. Also, the proceeds of these books go to helping spread the Gospel in countries where it is prohibited. So, it’s basically a win for everyone!

The Noble Guardian

by Michelle Griep

The Noble Guardian is Michelle’s third book in The Bow Street Runners Trilogy. Fun, witty and light! You will enjoy reading as the Regency Era comes to life in her distinct and playful writing. If you want to see some of Michelle’s personality, check out our two epic face-offs! I’ll post the links below. Also, here is a link to her website, should you want to check it out. Now, on to the story!

Abigail must leave the home of her evil step-mother and step-sisters to…Wait, this sounds familiar. Okay, double-checked and it’s not Cinderella. Nope. She’s heading out to meet her betrothed! Of course, it can’t be as easy as all that! She has already met her true love and is betrothed when the book starts?!

Of course not. Of course he’s not the one! Trying to avoid the fierce bandits taking liberties with travelers, she hires a handsome lawman to escort her. I don’t see anything here that would make her life more difficult to navigate… It’s totally NOT confusing to have a handsome protector, that completely gets on your nerves, travels with you and help you through many terrible dangers. *sigh* What a nightmare.

Well, as you can guess, there are a lot of fun adventures here. I definitely recommend picking up a copy and checking it out! You won’t regret it if you are looking for something sweet and fun.

Again, it’s the third book in a trilogy, but it can be read on it’s own. I have been wanting to get to it for a while and I’m glad I finally did!

Of course, this book was given to me for the purpose of reviewing and, as always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!

Face-Off #1
Face-Off #2

No Fear in Perfect Love

As I scroll through my social media accounts, I start feeling anxiety, frustration, and total disgust. In fact, a simple search of anxiety and social media brings up article after article describing the different types of anxiety and mental health problems that come from looking at our accounts over and over. Why is that? I mean, social media is not a nice place. It started out as a way to connect with far away loved ones, old high-school friends, and to see what your ex is up to and if you are still cooler than the person he is with now….Well, maybe that’s not what it was intended for. Who knows 🤷

The point is, it’s really none of those things now. It has become a source of shouting opinions the loudest, making others feel stupid for their opinions, and a breeding ground of fear over the things happening in this world. Is this at all healthy? I think that we can all agree that it is not. Probably each of us has been viciously assaulted by a post we thought as simple and witty while others couldn’t wait to make us feel shamed for our “insensitivity” or “lack of social awareness”.

“We need a new president!” “We need social justice!” “We need equality!” “We need freedom to make choices for ourselves!” “I need! I need! I need!” So many posts about equality and fairness for each person, yet there is no love behind it? There is judgement if we disagree on any point? There is cruelty and no compassion for those that make a mistake in your eyes?

What happened to giving others room to grow? Time to change? Freedom to have their own opinions? Love hopes all things. Love is patient. Love does not easily take offense. What about those things?

While social media is a breeding ground of fear and shame, many are disoriented and completely disillusioned in life. Everything looks bleak and hopeless. So, where does that leave us? Those of us that claim to have a God that protects us. We claim to have a God that brings us joy? We have a God that says to be anxious for NOTHING. Is that what others are seeing? How can we achieve that in our relationship with Him?

In fact, God goes as far as to say that there is no fear in love. It says that fear involves punishment and that if we fear, we are not perfected in love. What is He trying to tell us?

As always, it’s a matter of our hearts. Are we actually trusting Him? Do we trust that He created us and wants the very best for us? Of course, His best for us and what we think is best, may very well be different! God deserves glory in everything. So, do our lives of comfort and having every need met make us feel as if we need Him? Not usually. It’s all about the lens we are looking through as we live our lives.

Do I wish to bring Him glory in every, single thing that happens in my life? When I’m in pain, how do I bring Him glory? When my car breaks down, how do I bring Him glory? Is my first thought, “Poor me! I can’t deal with this right now!” Or, is my first thought, “God, what do you wish me to do in this situation? Wisdom, please.”

You know, I read the most amazing book a few years back and it’s completely stuck with me. Muslim women are very difficult to talk to because, often times, they are only allowed to speak with those whom their husbands have given them permission to speak to. Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh put their lives on the line to live in Iran and witness to these women. It proved to be almost impossible due to having no access. After some time, they were put in the worst of prisons. Raw sewage, rodents, bad food (if any). Their response? “Thank you, Lord! You have given us unprecedented and total access to share You with these women!” Because they didn’t think of themselves and ask God why He would have done such a thing to them when they were so faithful, the ministry they had was unfounded! They looked at it as the biggest opportunity to speak to these women, completely undeterred! They had a captive audience instead of seeing themselves as captives.

Can you even imagine how much glory they brought to God? Can you imagine their welcome when they get to Heaven and see Him and how proud He is of them? What a beautiful moment! What blessings!!!

It sounds scary to us to think of being in a situation like that. However, the truth is that we don’t have what we need to handle it because God hasn’t put us in that position. He gives us what we need to handle in our lives only when it is time. I might feel overwhelmed by a big day coming up. Does it help me to stay up all night worried? No. I don’t have what I need to get through it yet because it’s not here yet.

We can rest in the fact that we have a loving God that delights in us! He says, “indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” He is always with us through all things.

Yes, the world is a mess. Yes, we could be headed to persecution. Yes, we are turning away from God in our country. Yes, yes, yes. Does this cause me concern? I certainly don’t like it! Does it cause me anxiety? No. Not anymore. I know that God is truly in control. He has proved to me over and over again that He will provide for me what I need when I need it. He has showed me numerous times how He holds me through the difficulties. My only question?

How can I bring Him glory in all of it?

Can I Truly have joy in 2020?

So, this about sums it up.

I knew we shouldn’t have raided Area 51! 😳

Here I was all excited about the new year and all the things we had planned…I don’t even need to elaborate. You get it. You totally get it. I mean, just imagine trying to explain to someone that just woke up from a coma what’s been going on for the last 8 months. I think I’d tell them to go back to sleep!

Seriously though, it’s been one for the history books. With that being said, how do we maintain peace and joy in a year when so many things have completely changed our way of life, when the world is so unsettled, and when everything is out of our control? We are quarantined without others to lift us up and help us out of our darkest days. I mean, COME ON! I haven’t even been to Target in 6 months!!! That’s how I know there’s a major problem.

Simply put, how do we maintain control when that said control eludes us? We get so caught up in our life plans that we forget to do the most important thing!

Ask God what His plans are and how He wants to use me!

Now, look… I’m just as guilty! I often wonder what is going on! It just seems like it’s all too much. The truth is that we do not wage wars of flesh and blood, but of the unseen. Social politics are at an all time emotional high and we are quarantined and unable to gather and pray together. We’ve been cut off at the knees!

The thing is, we get so caught up in our own troubles that we forget to look at the bigger picture. It’s not about us. Nothing revolves around us. That’s a hard truth. You’re welcome.

Instead, what are we supposed to do? Consider it an opportunity for joy? According to James, that’s exactly what we are supposed to do. Remember, it’s not about us. What’s happening here is so much bigger. How is God wanting to use us through this?

Look, it sounds unattainable and ridiculous. I know. But joy is a choice. It’s a choice to look up at the Light, hold His hand, and journey together. It’s a choice to hope. It’s a choice to be willing to let God use you in whatever way He will get the most glory! If my heart is all about that plan, I can’t help but chuckle and just say, “I’m glad You’ve got this because I sure don’t!”

The weight is gone. It’s not my problem. I can trust that I serve a God that delights in me!

The best part is that He gives us a simple formula. We don’t even have to figure it out on our own! He’s that awesome!!

There are so many verses that can encourage you! I can’t possibly even scratch the surface. All I know is that God is amazing. He delights in me. I want Him to have all the glory. I can rest in Him and give Him control (which I don’t have anyway!). My job? Rest in that, be full of joy, tell God what I need and thank Him for all He’s done and is doing in the madness. I will choose to focus my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable — things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

If this is where my mind is, I am not spun up by the news and the chaos around me. I’m focused. I’m at peace. I’m full of joy!

Train up a child

We’ve all read the verse. Easy-peasy, right? Then I became a mom. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, (or 36 hours of labor…I mean, whichever you want to go with…) every bit of know-how seemed to vanish.

Why is he crying all the time? Why is he giving me attitude, crossing his arms and telling me “no” at 11 months old? He’s supposed to be so innocent! Are they trying to stay up later, or do they really need to pee? Did they just bully the kid on the playground? What are they doing on their phones?!

Okay, so I do need help. James 1 has my name all over it. Wisdom. I need wisdom. Everyone has something they are striving for, greedy for, willing to give up anything for. Me? I need God’s wisdom. Without it, I just make a huge mess. Thankfully, it’s freely available if we just remember to ask.

There’s this idea going around that really drives me crazy. I’ve heard so many pastors and teachers present the book of Proverbs as a “guide”. The idea that it is not a book with promises, but just a general guide for your life and what may, or may not happen. This is such dangerous territory! Who are we to pick and choose what is truth and what is a generality? It’s God’s Word!

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

I grew up as a pastor’s kid. Yep, a PK. I also grew up to be a single mother. A girl that loved to party. A girl that did not love Jesus. I was fine to leave Him back and home with my parents and move on with my life.

Of course, that left my amazing parents behind to clean up the mess. If you think that didn’t have any effect on them, their church, their ministry, their hearts, or their lives, you are so wrong. People threw this verse in their face. Some scoffing, laughing, so pleased to see failure. Others were confused, disoriented, and left to question all they had been taught. How could the pastor’s daughter be pregnant and unmarried? (Well, I won’t explain that part…)

My mom and her deep, deep rooted faith would answer ever so calmly, “The end isn’t written yet.”

She was right. The end had not yet played out.

You see, when your life is so rooted in Jesus and so intertwined with His heart, that’s what your kids are going to know. That’s what they are going to see. That’s what they are going to live.

The whole mothering thing just got a lot harder.

Basically, the burden is on you to intertwine God into EVERY. ASPECT. OF. YOUR. LIFE.

When my car breaks down, do I see it as an annoyance, or an opportunity to share God’s love with someone? When my plans get unexpectedly changed, do I throw a fit, or do I tell my kids how exciting it’s going to be to see what God has planned for us instead? When I have health problems, do I get frustrated and angry, or do I use that as a chance for compassion? How am I handling the things that I deal with on a daily basis.

So many families go to church and make big decisions based on God’s Word, but when it comes to the little things, that’s not so easy. Our kids are watching. They are little sponges that are growing up and learning how to react or respond to every situation. Are we teaching them to react with emotion, or are we teaching them to respond like Christ?

Of course there are so many mess-ups. I fail over and over on a daily basis. But, my kids know that and I am the first one to call myself out on it. I obviously need a Savior and my kids need to know that! That’s a good thing. My heart wants to do what God wants and that is a daily and hourly discussion. It’s not a foreign concept, but completely intertwined in our lifestyle.

My parents lived this kind of life. Their actions where completely in sync with their words.

So, why did I end up pregnant and away from God?

Well, that’s just it. I didn’t end up that way. Yes, I strayed away, but like the one lost sheep, God gently pursued me and brought me back. In my 40’s, I can look at my childhood and see that an act of sexual abuse by an outsider left me dazed and darkened for many years. It took God’s gentle hand and his outstretched arms to help me out from my hiding place. I needed to learn to trust Him. It took me years to see that He is happiness.

I want to encourage you to focus more on your relationship with God and your responses (or reactions) and get that aligned. Disciplining and raising your children are secondary to your heart. That is what your kids are looking at. Ask God for wisdom. I beg you! It’s there for you! I cling to that promise of wisdom to get me through life. God always delivers.

My kids often make up scenarios and ask me what I would do in this situation or that predicament. My answer, “Ask God for wisdom”. Oh, they hate that. I’m not playing along. Blah Blah. But you know what, they remember it. They know that’s my answer for a difficult situation. They will remember that someday. Now that my oldest son is a police officer, I sure am glad that’s how I answered all those times!

When we watch tv, there’s always a crisis point in the movie or show. Guess what I bring up? “If they were doing what God wanted, they wouldn’t be in this pickle! God doesn’t give us rules, He shows us what makes us happy and helps us avoid these problems!” Meanwhile, the kids, “there goes mom again” — laughing and joking. But you know what? It’s respectful and loving because they know I mean it and they know it’s true! They begin to see it themselves as we watch. They begin to see how it’s going to play out when someone makes a decision to go against God’s advice.

That’s what I want! I want them to see God’s love! I want them to see God wants the best for them! I want them to fall so deeply in love with God!!!! That’s my goal as a mom. I don’t care if they become a garbage collector, a port-a-potty cleaner, or a doctor. I only care that they fall madly and deeply in love with our Savior.

So, is it true? If I train up my child in the way that is right, he won’t depart from it? Yes. It’s a promise. If we are actually living our lives in such Light, there is no way that they will stay in the darkness if they end up wandering there. If we are living a contradicting lifestyle of words vs actions, they will run to the darkness and never look back.

Ultimately, their salvation is their decision. It’s just on us to show them how much peace it brings. How much joy. How much love. Why it’s worth it.

Praying for you, momma!

A little bit about…

There are so many times over the years that I’ve wondered why God even bothers with humanity. In my own mistakes and horrible decisions, He’s always remained faithful and He will continue to do so. I’m just thankful that my salvation and worth is based on His character and not my own!

My journey includes sexual abuse, faithfulness, a rebellious lifestyle, patience, single motherhood, mercy, a beautiful child, grace, a superhero, tenderness, another perfect child, love, wrestling with God, forgiveness, and much more. 

“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.” – Psalm 18:18,19

Practical Insights for Everyday Christian Living

by Joyce Meyer

GALATIANS & COLOSSIANS

A Biblical Study


83E53BFD-1C24-4E04-AA4F-97085AD3289C_1_201_a I always tread carefully when I read Bible studies. Personal biases and interpretations inevitably abound. Also, there are often times a stigma is attached to a writer or speaker based on their “branch of Christianity”. If God has shown me anything this year, it’s to rejoice in others’ love of him. Instead of judging their background and denomination, I choose to be happy in their desire to serve God and leave it up to Him to show us all where we need to change things in our lives.

I feel like I need to preface this review with my thoughts because we will so often “throw out the baby with the bath water” if someone isn’t worshiping God exactly as we are. As long as nothing conflicts with God’s Word, I will choose to rejoice in their love of God. (1 Thessalonians is a really great book that deals with this idea). 222865AF-0752-483F-93B6-5137DC1207B9_1_201_a

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading  through these verse-by-verse commentaries/devotionals. Joyce Meyer knows the Bible well and understands suffering and perseverance. Her background is so dark and God’s mercy is evident in her change. 

These are a great companion to the Word. They are simple and straightforward to read and I would recommend picking one up each morning and having some time with God! As always, I recommend reading the Word on your own, as well as using other resources and materials. It’s good to hear what God has revealed to others and, ultimately, take it all and ask Him for wisdom on what to do with it.

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Thanks, Hachette Books for these! As always, this is my honest review. Here’s to many more!! Links are in the pics above. Enjoy!!

 

An Uncommon Woman

by Laura Frantz

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You know when you have your favorite dessert…like one you get maybe once or twice in a lifetime? Think about how you savor every last morsel — slowly taking bite after bite and stopping in between to enjoy all the layers of flavor and decadence.

That is this book. 

This can not be read in one day, two days, or even a week. This is a book you read one delightful bit at a time.

I am not really sure how Laura Frantz does it, but somehow she gives enough information for you to really feel like you are there in that moment. I know what you are thinking — DIALECT HEAVY. Not the case. Believe me. You feel like you are there, but you aren’t skimming the lines and lines of description. She masterfully describes and pulls you in at the same time. Genius. Sheer genius.

This is another knock out of the park for Frantz and I can only hope that there’s a sequel. (Please be a sequel!) I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review. This is me being honest. Here’s to many more.


**On a somewhat side note, as I was taking my time enjoying this book, my family and I went away on vacation. We went to this amazing place in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia called The Frontier Culture Museum.

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I live in the Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown), so this is no small statement for me to say that The Frontier Culture Museum stands on it’s own as one of the greatest historic sites I’ve seen. Anyway, while we were there and going through the drawers in a 1600’s kitchen (yes, I was like a kid in a candy shop as you can open all the drawers and touch everything!!!), I came across this little bit of history. Once you read the book, you will understand the significance!

 

 

 

 

Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns about Heaven

by Ace Collins

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I have to admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for this song. Piano sounds pouring through our home as my mother played this song anytime she needed to sit and be alone for a few moments. With our busy household, those moments were few and far between. When I hear it now, I miss the sounds of my childhood and my Mother being one room over — as opposed to 500 miles away.

As you can imagine, when I received this book, I was quick to turn to this hymn and read about its origins. I wasn’t disappointed. What a beautiful story it is. Lasting hymns, or any art really, only touch hearts if they have some depth and soul to them. A moving story behind it. A heartache that is felt by many even when it is still so personal to the author, composer, or artist.

I’m always so thankful for books like this. While I love a good piece of fiction, nothing really moves me like the true stories of God lifting others out of darkness and hopelessness. I encourage you to pick up a copy. With the holidays right around the corner, you can’t go wrong!

While I was given this book to review, I am always honest about my opinions. I will say that the only down side to this is that the author couldn’t always publish the lyrics. That, I know, is no fault of his. It would be nice to have them all there to ponder over as you read the stories that led to their creation. Good news – only a few are missing!

Link is in the above pic and throughout the page. Be sure to grab a copy! Thanks again, Baker Books!

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