Monday, April 29, 2019

Characters Who... Serve in the United States Military

While watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I've been thinking about those courageous men and women who serve in our military. Before every hockey game in the post-season, the National Anthem of the United States is played (as well as Canada's when a Canadian team is playing that particular game). During those moments, as I stand at home with my right hand over my heart and sing my salute to my God, country, and team, I contemplate the freedoms I live with each day and the high cost to other people that these liberties require.

This challenge is my thank-you to the men and women who have served the United States, including those who have perished so that I might live in a country of great freedom.

For May 2019, read books that feature at least one person who serves in the United States military.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Lessons Learned from... the Garden

Scripture reference: Matthew 26:36-46
Further reading: Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46

Easter, or Resurrection Day, as I like to call it, was yesterday, and that put me in mind of the Garden of Gethsemane. There is so much to learn from the time Jesus spent there just prior to his betrayal and arrest (which came just before his crucifixion, burial, and rising from the tomb). Our focus today will be specifically on the prayers of Jesus in the Garden, though there are a couple of other things I’ll be pointing out.

Once Jesus and his eleven disciples (by this time, Judas had already separated himself from the group in order to betray Jesus) came to Gethsemane, He left most of them there but pulled aside Peter, James, and John to go deeper with Him into the Garden.

“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.
Stay here and watch with Me.’”
Matthew 26:38 NKJ

Mark says Jesus “began to be troubled and deeply distressed” (Mark 14:33 NKJ).

Exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Troubled and deeply distressed.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Seeking a Sign

"But [Jesus] sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, 'Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.'"
Mark 8:12 NKJ

We all want to see signs to know we're on the right road. Vacations don't happen without a map, GPS, or app on our phones, and road signs declaring highway numbers, street names, and exits are crucial for reaching our destinations. The only problem with becoming accustomed to relying on signage is that we might forget that faith requires no sign.

Faith is believing that Jesus came down from Heaven to be born on Earth in order that He might minister to thousands of people, then sacrifice Himself to save us from eternal death. He died and rose from the tomb to bridge the gap between God and us that our sin (beginning with the sin of Adam and Eve, but going all the way through each human being who ever has and will live on this earth) created. Faith is believing in Jesus though we have not seen Him in person.

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors, because with each new book she writes, she captures me once again with her storytelling abilities that keep me guessing until the very last page. Here's my latest review of one of her novels, her very newest: A Silken Thread.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.

Oh goodness! This one… this story… about friendships, choices, and integrity… I’m so blown away and happy and delighted. What a great addition to Mrs. Sawyer’s lengthy list of published novels! The trademark thread of hope kept me eager to keep reading every chapter. The complex plot is one of Mrs. Sawyer’s best. I love it when my favorite authors continue to find ways to surprise me time after time. My heart felt all gushy by the end, and I immediately wanted to purchase every possible version of this sweet novel. (Too bad my budget won’t allow that!)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Take a Walk with Me - a short story

Fair warning:
This one's a tear-jerker. Grab some tissues before reading any further!

“Take a walk with me.”

Every day for the past thirty-eight years, Malachi had said the same thing to her at this time of day. Right at sunset with dusk on the other side of the horizon waiting to greet them as they traveled down the old wooden pathway he’d laid in place when they’d built the place up into a special oasis in which to grow their love for each other and the kids they’d eventually had.
Now it was Michelle’s turn to ask him to take a walk with her. Only, she’d be pushing his wheelchair rather than holding his hand as they maneuvered their way through the woods to the vale at the end of the path. It was their special place, and she was attempting to see that even the paralyzing grip of his recent stroke wouldn’t take that away from them.
For all she knew, this might be the last time he’d see the place where they’d spent so much of their married life.