Posted in God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

The Feast of Dedication

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Hello!

I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned this on here (and if I have, well…memory blank! Just keep swimming ;)), but my family and I have come to learn quite a bit about the Biblical Jewish Holidays over the years, and one of those that we celebrate now is called the Feast of Dedication. Some call it Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. The meaning behind it is all the same. It’s been a really neat experience to learn more about the Biblical Holy Days. To celebrate the ones that Jesus Himself celebrated, not just man-made holidays.

And yes, it’s been a change to switch to these holidays, but it’s been so good. I can honestly say that. Each year as we learn a bit more how to better celebrate the Feasts, it becomes more enjoyable. I think my favourite feast is this Winter one – The Feast of Dedication.

A family friend wrote a beautiful devotional about this Feast, and I wanted to share that here, because it really is encouraging, and also informative. Let us all shine brightly for Him this season and always! Enjoy reading this devo :)

 

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“Be The Light” by Anita Nelson

“Tuesday night began an 8 day celebration in remembrance of the dedication of the 2nd temple after the Jews reclaimed it from those who had polluted, defiled, and profaned it for over 4 years. It is a time of rededication.

Each year, the Jews remember their countrymen who died for God’s laws when …they were told they could no longer worship God in the way he had taught them. These few men preserved the Word of God so future generations would receive it.

This was a Holy War made up of few Jews in number, but numbers did not matter to them, because they trusted victory comes from God.

Just thinking….
Without Hanukkah, there would be no birth of Christ, no Savior, no songs like Oh, Holy Night.

Think on this!

John 10:22-23 tells us that Yeshua himself, kept the Feast of Dedication .
It is not a Jewish Christmas as so many of us have once thought. It is the story of God’s children refusing to assimilate into other pagan cultures. Let us learn from them!

Let us be set apart, peculiar people who will die to keep, and guard God’s commands!

Yeshua came to be the LIGHT of the World. And, this occasion is a reminder to all of us to be a light to the world.

He brought truths which made Way for all of men to see the path of righteousness, the Way of being right in God’s eyes. Those who don’t have God’s light are not sure where they are, as they are walking with just a small measure of light…the seed of God planted in them. But, just like all seeds, they need light to grow, they need God’s Truth. They need God’s Truth to guide them in what is right. So, those of us who are walking in the light, are to share our light with others who are walking in darkness. We can point them in the right Way!

Just as a light house sends out a beam of hope to guide big, and small ships to safety, our light does the same… When we share our light within us, we help others from having a ship wreck. The more light you and I have, the easier it is for others to know the Way. Many people in this world do not read God’s Word, so our righteousness is an instrument in showing the Way! This, is what Yeshua did. He came in the flesh to show people how to fulfill Obedience to Torah (God’s instructions) by doing it perfectly. We desire to be perfect as He is! And where we fail, there is forgiveness.

Let each one of us be God’s light in whatever sphere of influence he has placed us. Ask God to shine more of His “light” into you. Then, do not hide what truths you have been given, but rather, give them out to others who are seeking light in the darkness. I urge you all to be God’s light today!

God bless you all, in Yeshua’s name, and in his authority! Now, SHINE!”

 

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Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris ~ Book Review

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“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris

A Nikki Boyd Files novel

Review copy from Revell Publishing Review Program

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki’s sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

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My Thoughts:

 

What a conclusion to this riveting series!
“Vanishing Point” was a unique twist from the first three Nikki Boyd series, and easily captivated my attention from the get-go. Instead of it being from the point of view of Nikki Boyd, the novel starts out some years previous to one of the first abductions in the Angel Abductor’s Case, with the point of view coming from two detectives/agents, Garrett, and Jordan.
Initially I was a bit sad to find it wasn’t Nikki Boyd front and center, but it actually worked really well being this way, and it gave a lot more insight into the case itself, stringing over numerous years until we reached present-day.
The mystery held strong to the very end, and tensions were high. Definitely another action-packed novel!
This series has definitely been a favourite, and while I am really glad to see how it ended, I am a bit sad to find that it’s over. The Nikki Boyd Files certainly brought us on quite the epic journey!
The characters in Vanishing Point were well constructed, just like the first three books. And the creepiness level was definitely there in the serial killer aspect.
It was almost hard watching how the relationship of Garrett and Jordan danced along, but it was very realistic, and don’t worry….it came with a happy conclusion!
The faith thread was also well-executed, beautifully and realistically portrayed.
“Vanishing Point” is a very satisfying finish to a fantastic series, and I am very impressed and pleased with Lisa Harris’ writing ability! Definitely will be eagerly waiting for whatever she has next in store. :)
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Quotes:

 
 
“I’m realizing that sometimes you can’t fix people or relationships. Sometimes all you can fix is yourself. You have to forgive them, love them, and then move on. It’s wha I’m going to have to do.” 
“Over the past decade, Garrett had come to realize more and more that his faith couldn’t rely on what was happening around him, or whether or not he understood how God worked. His faith had to rely on God Himself – who never changed – even when he didn’t understand what God was doing.” 
Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Jesus Always: A Devotional” by Sarah Young

 

“Jesus Always” by Sarah Young

A Devotional

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

With scripture and new personal reflections “Jesus Always” brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.
Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy. 

This deluxe comfort print edition includes easy-to-read large type and the full scriptures printed out.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

I love these “Jesus…” devotionals. They’re so beautiful, and full of Biblical truth, spoken from Jesus. I can be kind of picky when it comes to daily devotional books, but these have been a blessing to me, each day feeling like it came right from Yahweh just for me. The Lord definitely uses them in my life, and I find great encouragement in them.
“Jesus Always” has a beautiful cover, leather-like binding, and lovely script. This book is larger in size than my other devos, and is easy to read.
I definitely recommend “Jesus Always”, as well as the other devotionals compiled by Sarah Young. They’re full of truths and comfort.
Posted in Book reviews, Christmas

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

 

One Enchanted Noël: A Novella (Enchanted Christmas Collection Book 3) by [Tagg, Melissa]

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

Book Three in the “Enchanted Christmas” Collection

Review ecopy from the author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Secrets, Sparks and Second Chances…a Heartwarming Holiday Romance

Seb Pierce isn’t exactly a cowboy, but after fifteen years on a ranch in Texas, he might as well be. And he’d do just about anything to keep the rancher who took him in so many years ago from losing his land…including returning to the wealthy roots he’s long since abandoned. Seb agrees to work for his stern grandfather for one year in return for an early draw on his inheritance. But he never expected the agreement to land him in a quirky small town in Iowa at Christmas-time, renovating a dilapidated theater…and running into a woman he never thought he’d see again. She might not remember him, but he remembers her.
After too many years away from her hometown—and too many failures to count—Leigh Renwycke is finally back in Maple Valley and living the stable life she used to wish for. If only she could shake the old restlessness that used to get her into trouble. When Seb Pierce waltzes into her world and begs for her help planning the theater’s holiday reopening, it could be the solution to her discontent. If she pulls it off, it might be enough to jumpstart a new career…and to prove once and for all that the new-and-improved Leigh is here to stay. 
But between old secrets and new sparks, restoring a town treasure in time for Christmas may not be as easy as it seems…especially once Leigh learns the truth about Seb. 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Surprise! Another darling novella from the amazing Melissa Tagg! I don’t think it’s possible for her to write an un-darling story. (Also I’m pleased with myself for using ‘darling’ twice already, because…well, read the story to find out. ^.^)
As usual, the characters were so life-like, so real. And each one so unique. As this is the third novella (and final novella to the Enchanted Christmas Collection), we finally got the chance to read Leigh’s story! We’ve witnessed parts of her life and struggles through the first two novellas, but finally here, we get to see her life as a whole, see her get her own Happily Ever After. That doesn’t always come easy though. But that only adds the depth and reality of the story.
The hero, Seb, was quite nice. ^.^ He had his own bit of struggles, too, and they both had to find peace through it all.
The whole feeling of the novella was charming. The snow, the movie theater, the festivals that Maple Valley comes up with! I love it.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet and charming Winter Novella, pick this one up! You won’t regret reading a Melissa Tagg story. :)
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

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“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

Review copy through Bethany House

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

The Adventure of a Lifetime for Two Indomitable Socialite Sisters 

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm. 

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was my first Lynn Austin book, and I can gladly say that I enjoyed her writing. It was thorough, and pleasant.
It was delightful to follow the sisters, Rebecca and Flora, on their great many adventures, and their center goal always being the Lord. I also loved their saying, “The Lord knows our end”, because that’s true. He’s got us in the palm of His hand, and our days are ordered by Him.
Both sisters were very unique, and different from each other, yet shared such a strong bond. I did actually like having different parts of the story told from the various array of characters, starting with Rebecca, continuing on with Flora, then Soren, and then Kate, and ending with Rebecca again. It all tied together nicely.
This wasn’t an “on the edge of your seat” read – this was more so a “take it slow” read. It wasn’t packed with action, but neither was it boring. As I said, I enjoyed their journeys, and just their lives.
I really enjoyed the character, Soren. His story was good, and real, and sad. I’m so glad he got his own ‘happy ending’ in a way. That was sweet.
It certainly was a long book, but I didn’t find that tiresome as I might in other cases. I also didn’t see much that could’ve been left out. It was a sound story, and their finds on their adventures were exciting! Even more fun was reading the author’s note and finding that it was based on a true story – very neat.
If you like historical fiction, I definitely recommend this one.

Quotes:

“Egyption thinking would say that we must have angered Him. That He’s punishing us. But our faith asks us to trust Him and to believe that He has a plan for our good, even in the midst of disaster.”
“I need to leave my life in God’s hands and be content. I admit I haven’t found contentment yet, but I’m trying. Meanwhile, I need to keep doing His work without expecting to be rewarded with all of my wishes in return.”
“We need to show her grace, Soren.  Jesus said ‘Freely ye have received, freely give’. We must pray for her, too – not that she’ll change into what we want her to be, but that she’ll become all that God intends her to be.”
Posted in Books

November 2017 Wrap-Up

This is really late, and I have no pretty graphic to adorn this post. For which I apologize.

November was a full month. I honestly am not sure I can remember much about the first half, other than that I believe it was good…

Towards the middle of the month, though, things got hard when we found out that the son of my Mum’s best friend had passed away, shortly before Thanksgiving. My Dad had been up north helping my grandparents, but he came home as we all were shocked from the news, and grieving.  I won’t talk much further on it, but it really has affected us all, as we grieve through this on various levels. The funeral was exceedingly hard for everyone, and prayers for their family would be so appreciated.

 

Life has also been busy, and I’m feeling a little drained, so this post probably won’t be much, or long, but I guess I’m happy it’s not a month late. :)

 

 

I read a fair amount of books towards the beginning of the month, but it slowed down at the end, and I’m trying to get caught up now. These are the books I read:

 

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter  Dying for Love by Cara Putman  October by J. Grace Pennington  Where We Belong by Lynn Austin  The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright  Growing Up with Aloha by Kirby Larson  One Enchanted Eve by Melissa Tagg  One Enchanted Noël by Melissa Tagg

 

Most you can click on to go read my review of it, though I haven’t yet posted my reviews for “Where We Belong” and “One Enchanted Noel”, but those will be coming soon, God-willing.

Books I recieved:

 

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Most of these are Review Books, but a couple were gifts, or giveaway wins, and two were swapped books. So I don’t think I actually spent any money on books last month, besides during the Indie Christian Books Sale, but those books haven’t come yet, so I’ll count that in December’s wrap up. :)

 

I hope you all had a good month, a good Thanksgiving, and will have a good December!

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The House on Foster Hill” by Jaime Jo Wright

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“The House on Foster Hill” by Jaime Jo Wright

Mystery/suspense

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. 

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This book was creepy! Haha, I had to start my review off in that way. Truly, it wasn’t what I was expecting – it was better. I was admittedly a bit wary before starting this, that there would be a lot of the ‘supernatural’ element, and the story would maybe make me uncomfortable. But it wasn’t, it didn’t. It was so intricate the mystery of it all. And the duel-timeline story so elaborate and interwoven – the whole novel shows immense skill from the author. I couldn’t even imagine getting all of it straight in the writing process! But in the reading, it made sense, and didn’t leave you with any confusion.
But oh yes were there creepy parts. Very, very creepy. ^.^ I tried to avoid reading it before bed, whenever possible, but it is a book that begs not to be put down, so reading before sleep did happen anyway…
I am not usually a fan of split timeline novels – the jumping back and forth is hard for me, and in general, I still avoid it. But it worked with “The House on Foster Hill”. I only jumped ahead once or twice just to be reassured that the next chapter of the current characters ended alright. :)  I knew I couldn’t read one story straight through and return to do the same with the other – that just wouldn’t have flowed as well, I don’t think. Not with THOFH. As I said, the stories, though years apart, were interwoven and built upon the other, linking and relating them.
Now, the question I know many might ask is (well, maybe not, but I’ll still answer…)  : Joel or Grant for preferred hero? (To give you reference if you have not read this book yet, Joel is from the 1906 story, and Grant from the present day story). For me, Joel won out, hands down. Loved and respected him. His relationship with Ivy was no picnic. But I really enjoyed it and rooted for them all along.
That being said, I did still like Grant just fine. And Kaine too (leading present day heroine). Her story had my heart pounding just as much as Ivy’s.
THOFH is a deep book, with twists and turns you weren’t expecting. To finally read the conclusion at the end – you just have to sit there and think on it for a bit.
The message of hope was so beautifully displayed as well. If you’ve read any of my book reviews in the past, you’ll probably have gathered that I am one for a very, very strong Faith strand, so I would say that I would’ve liked it to have been just a little stronger in this book, but the faith strand was still a lot more included than I first wondered about, and more than most books have too. Really, the quiet pieces of the importance of life and eternity, and dealing with death were poignant reminders to me.  One of the quotes I marked said this: “You’re looking at things backward. As if this life and all it has to offer is all there is. It sounds as if this Gabriella could teach us all a thing or two about seeing beyond this world and setting our eyes on Jesus instead.”
Having just been reminded of this lesson by the Lord recently through the death of a friend, the quote affirmed what He showed me. Life here on earth is a blessing, yes, and He has given us His breath to live. But eternity is SO much more glorious, and we all have that hope of Heaven.
So yes, I enjoyed this book, creepy parts and all. And I will be interested to read the author’s next book as well. :)
I would recommend this for ages 18+ due to the intense and frightening/eerie content, and dealing with the reality of human trafficking.
I only had time to make one graphic thus far, but I will also highlight some favourite quotes below:
-He gives us glimpses now, but His plan for us is so much greater than what we see. That's the pitfall of humanity. We look atour present circumsances, our trials, even our joys, and believe that this is all there i (1).png
“An accidental one [death], but accidents never diminished trauma”
 
“The easy stuff doesn’t take care of the root issue.”
“She wanted that hope. To cling to God as Gabriella had. To hold Him so close that this world became an interlude before life truly began.”
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(This image not made by me)
I received a copy of this book from the publishers/author as apart of the launch team; I was not required to write a review. All thoughts are my own.