Touches of Tenderness

Books are words linked into sentences that make up a paragraph which form pages but they are also the thoughts, experiences, and lessons of the author. Sometimes a book is hard to get interested in making it difficult to truly become a book that you can embrace. Other times, a book is interesting but not one you would recommend to friends or family. Then there are the books that grab you and become the impetus to change you. Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry is such a book! I am not going to give a spoiler alert but I will tell you that this book is about the ways that others can effect you and affect changes. Treha is the unassuming main character that soon fills up your mind and heart as you want to stand in defense for her as well as cheer her on in her search for her mother along with the answers to her past. Miriam is her greatest cheerleader and protector but there are other great characters who intersect in the lives of both of them that shape the story into an outstanding book!

Chris Fabry, a West Virginia native, has written several books, of which two won Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, and he hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. His style of writing draws you in and invites you to drop whatever you are doing for a long visit amidst the pages of his books. I have never read his other books, but I was very impressed with this one which makes me excited to find others. I encourage you to pick up a copy today! I received this book free for review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Author Q & A

Sneak Peak – Chapter 1

Author’s Web Site

A Letter From God – Inspired Devotional

Friday, June 21, 2013
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If Christians lived according to their faith, there would be no more Hindus left in India.” This great leader was fascinated at the thought of knowing Christ. But when he met Christians, he felt let down. The world is filled with people who feel the same. They are intrigued by the claims of Christ, but they shrink back because of disappointment with His offspring.

“Don’t look at people,” we might protest. “Look at Jesus.” But while that may be true, the sobering truth remains: Whether we like it or not, we’re the only Jesus some will ever see. Dwight L. Moody put it this way: “Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian.”

“You are a letter from Christ…,” Paul reminded the Christians at Corinth, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stones but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV 1984)

The same is true of us today. We are God’s love letter to the world. We were set apart for a purpose—to communicate his glory to a lost and dying world.

Excerpted from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Daily Reflection: How have you been communicating God’s love lately?

Reprinted from the Inspired Devotional by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Boldly Go!

I recently received a book from Handlebar Marketing to review that I must admit is a MUST READ book. Bold as Love What can happen when we see people the way God does by Bob Roberts, Jr. is one of those books that causes you to ponder God’s Word and your faith. God’s Word tells us to love our neighbors and it does not specify only certain neighbors or the distance between neighbors or even only Christian neighbors – it just plainly says neighbors. This includes Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and even atheists. That can be a difficult task sometimes, but to live and love radically as Jesus did requires each of us to step out of our box – not to a soapbox, but to just stand up and go boldy where we have not trod before.

Roberts dissects what bold faith and connectivity looks like when we “love our neighbor” locally and globally without boundaries of likeness. His book is radical and his point of view is challenging of your faith. The synopsis on the back of the book includes this statement, “Take the risk! Your faith wasn’t made to live in isolation. It’s something you do face-to-face, heart-to-heart, hand-to-hand. Whether you are in a suburb of Houston or a village in India, put away the fear and suspicion and, instead, answer the call to radically love others the way God loves.” Roberts does not merely write about what is means to live radically and boldly with love and faith. He stepped out first in his community by connecting with religious leaders of other faiths and brought that relationship to his church. One man reaching out to another spreading to others. Are you willing to take the risk?


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Love Lessons

Beth Wiseman is a well-known Amish fiction writer as well as a Christian fiction writer.  I was lucky to have been able to review Wiseman’s book His Love Endures Forever which is the story of an English girl who is friends with an Amish young man, Levi, and  is also pregnant by another Amish man, Matthew.  Danielle, the young pregnant girl, learns about love in this book.  She has been living with an older couple after her mother is abusive toward her.  She is lost and falls in love with an Amish young man who has dreams of something more beyond the boundaries of his Amish village and Amish church.

Wiseman’s book, the third book in her A Land of Canaan series, is a journey of reflection and lessons of love – true, unconditional love.  Not only does Danielle learn about the unconditional love of God, but Levi’s mother learns about unconditional love for others.  Daniells’s mother learns about seeking forgiveness and Danielle learns to forgive.  Danielle, Levi, and Matthew all learn about themselves in this coming of age story.

This is an excellent story of love – the love of family, the love of others, the love of God – and it is a story of forgiveness and learning.  I received this book free for review from booksneeze.com.

Author’s Web Site

A Tangled Tale

I have just finished reading a book that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the Lebensborn program that Heinrich Himmler began during World War II.  Michele Phoenix has written a book that has two distinct stories that are also interrelated.  Tangled Ashes is the story of romance, intrigue, recovery, and history.  Readers will find themselves immersed in France during the renovation of a chateau in the present day and at other times in France during the occupation of German forces at the same chateau.  The storyline follows the lives of two French girls who begin working at the chateau during the occupation as well as the German officers at the chateau. It also follows the story of the angry, alcoholic  contractor who is in charge of the present day renovations as his path crosses with the nanny and children of the owners.

Marie and Elise are young French girls who begin working at the chateau before it becomes the site of one of the Lebensborn programs.  The Lebensborn program provided maternity homes to wives of the SS and to unmarried women.  It also was a program that espoused the ideology of perfecting the race with racially pure children.  Elise falls in love with a German stable boy and begins to embrace the ideology.  She becomes pregnant and a resident of the chateau rather than an employee.

Becker (Marshall Becker) is both battling demons from his past and heads the renovation team of the chateau.  Jade comes face-to-face with Becker and forces him to battle those demons and overcome them with her confrontational style of “friendship.”  While all of this is going on, there are also late night happenings, a reclusive old man living in the gatehouse, and a French interior designer who clashes with Becker.

This story is filled with so much to capture your interest!  It is a wonderful story both in the past and present of the chateau.  I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing.

Author’s Web Site

The Bad, The Mean, and The Downright Ugly

Men will tell you that “women can be mean and ugly.” Of course the same can be said of them as well, but Liz Curtis Higgs addressed this issue in Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn From Them. She delineated the lines of women into those girls who were bad for a moment, bad for a season but not forever, and bad to the bone. Higgs uses humor to tell the stories of some of the most well-known women of the Bible. We all know that the Bible was written for teaching and reproof so the lessons that can be learned from these women is monumental.

You will learn about Eve, Potiphar’s wife, Lot’s wife, the woman at the well, Delilah, Sapphira, Rahab, Michal, and the sinful woman. Before you read the book, try to determine what Higgs said about each woman’s label. Was Eve bad for a moment, for a season, or just plain bad to the bone? Why did Higgs place each of these women into the lines that she chose? Can we really learn from women who lived over 2000 years ago? You may be surprised! You will enjoy Higgs humor, wit, and the lessons that she teaches through all of this.

I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.  Rank my review by clicking on the picture and you might win a book for yourself!

 

Author’s Website

Prose and Song about Ruth

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group is proud to announce the release of Liz Curtis Higgs’ new book Girls Still Got It. Higgs is the author of Bad Girls of the Bible where she use wit and humor to talk about women that she calls bad for the moment, bad for a lifetime, etc. In her new book, she has written about a good girl of the Bible – Ruth. I have not read the book but WaterBrook graciously offered a video from Higgs and the first chapter. Please enjoy!

Matching Hearts

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Beth Moore books and studies.  My goal is to read all of her books and complete all of her studies.  Her material is so easy to understand and applicable to life.  She has not disappointed me with A Heart Like His, the story of David.  I had completed her study on David entitled Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed and came away with a better understanding of the life of David.  However, A Heart Like His helped me to relate the events and lessons from David’s life to my own life.  David was a shepherd, the youngest son of Jesse, and the anointed king but before all of that he was a man – a man with fleshly desires, a man with free will, a fallen man.  David is the man next door to you.  David is the mayor of your town.  David is you.

The one thing that sets David apart from many is that he was humble and chose to align his heart with God in such a manner that even in the dire condition of his sin David cried out to God with repentance and love.  David loved and served in a manner that showed how his heart aligned with God’s. David also understood that he was unable to stand alone in life but must always stand with God.  Therefore God was not just his trump card in hard times – he was his Personal Advisor in daily decisions.  I try to live like David, but I tend to try to “do it myself.”  Most of the time all that gets me is lost, crying, and eventually facedown before my God.

I received this ebook free for review from netgalley.com.

Living Proof Ministries
Lifeway

Questions and Lessons on Faith

In my lifeftime, I have had questions about faith, God, His will for my life, and the big one – why does God allow suffering in the world.  It is hard to reconcile the loving God with the violence, starvation, hatred, and desperation found around the world.  I, as well as many others, question how can God allow this to happen and yet expect me to only believe in His love and blessing.  Andrea Palpant Dilley, author of Faith and Other Flat Tires: AMemoir Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt, travelled this path as well.  Dilley had been born into a missionary family who served as Quaker medical missionaries in East Africa during the first six years of her life.  By age twenty-one, Dilley was facing that road of doubt over the dysfunctionality of the church, the perceived silence of God, and the age-old question of suffering.

Faith+and+Other+Flat+Tires+Sample+Chapter

This story is her story.  Her story of doubt, questions, searching, and her journey of being a Christian refugee.  Her journey is similar to many others including myself.  She pushed the limits of what she had held sacred, she clung to the fleeting security of men, and she questioned everyone about their faith.  This story is also about her journey back to the security of God and the outpouring of His blessings.  I found her book to be truthful and upfront about the struggles of many to reconcile the church, God, and the world – especially the younger generation.  Her chapters are not too long and keep the reader interested in the next marker on her journey – whether that marker be an obstacle or an insight.

If you are facing that rough road of doubt, or know someone who is, then this book is for you.  I received this book free for review from Handlebar Marketing and I would like to offer it free to a reader of my blog.  Please leave a comment on my blog and I will choose a winner using Random.org.

Author’s Web Site

Let Us Not Forget

I would love to say that it is rare that I climb up on my soapbox to preach a sermon, but that is not me.  I climb upon my soapbox every time something  breaks my heart or inspires my sense of justice and mercy.  Today I am not only on my soapbox, but I brought along my megaphone so that others will hear.  The authors of Daughters of Hope, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett have written a book that had me crying, angry, and hurting.  Forgotten Girls Stories of Hope and Courage is a book of short stories of girls and women who have been oppressed, held captive, raped, beaten, and forced into lifestyles that were not of their chosing.  Stories of girls from Nepal, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Senegal, Egypt, and the Sudan (to name a few of the countries of origin) who were sold into prostitution or forced marriages, were held either kidnapped or abandoned, were ostracized, and who felt unloved or unwanted.

In the introduction, the authors wrote, “Have you ever noticed how seldom something “life changing” really changes your life?  The term gets tossed around a lot – to describe watching the sun set in a gorgeous blaze of color, for instance, or to rave about an exciting adventure.  Consider the number of books with the phrase splashed across the front cover.  Good things, all.  Inspiring and helpful and memorable.  But life changing?  Yet truly life-changing events do occur.  Events that forever mark a divide between the then and now of life.  Between despair and hope.  Between ignorance and understanding.  Between death and life.”  I can tell you that this book IS life changing!

Living in the West, we can read about the horrors of war and dictatorships, but after a time we become immune to the stories or we learn to tune them out.  However that is not what Jesus called us to do.  Jesus called us to live as Micah described in verse 8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  To do what is right is to seek justice for those that are widowed, orphaned, captive, and oppressed.  Our hearts should be broken for the same reasons that Jesus’ heart was broken.  Strom and Rickett’s book will open your eyes, your heart, your sense of justice and mercy.

The Kidnapped Bride video

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

Sisters in Service
Reaching Out to the Unreached
News from the Frontlines of Persecution
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Research on Women
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Vision