Posted in God's Lessons, My Abba Father, Spiritual beliefs

Numbing the Pain – it won’t do.

 

 

 

["With the songs on <i>Cathedrals<\/i>, Tenth Avenue North encourages us to get off our self-made islands of isolation, to break the chains of shame that have kept us there and to find communion with God and each other. Tenth Avenue North encourages us to realize God's spirit doesn't dwell in buildings, He dwells in us - for we are His cathedrals. <br><br><b>Track Listing:<\/b><br>\r\nNo Man Is An Island\r\n<br>Stars In The Night\r\n<br>Iesu, Dulcis Memoria (feat. Audrey Assad)\r\n<br>Cathedrals\r\n<br>I Need You, I Love You, I Want You\r\n<br>The Spark\r\n<br>Heaven\u2019s Sound\r\n<br>Stay\r\n<br>We Won\u2019t Numb The Pain\/Fire\r\n<br>Closer\r\n<br>All The Earth Is Holy Ground\r\n"] $9.99

(click above image to go listen to the song, and continue reading – below lyrics are some thoughts!)

“We won’t numb the pain” – Tenth Avenue North

We’re taking paths of least resistance
And never feel our soul’s persistence
Turn on the radio
We don’t wanna know
Keep on running in cruise control

We were never meant to live like this
So much has happened and too easy to miss, yeah
Cheap thrills, social media thrills, use sex like a drug and we can’t keep still

Distracted, distracted
Keep ourselves so distracted
We want more

We won’t numb the pain
Hands reaching to the sky
Hearts ready for the fire
Eyes open till we die

We won’t numb the pain
Slow down inside your life
Stand still against the tide
Keep fighting for the silence
We won’t numb the pain

I talk influence and being strategic
But all I’m feeling is narcissistic
Use recognition, but the adrenaline won’t stop long enough to hear this conviction

We were never meant to live like this
Stand up for anything and be dismissed
We don’t want it real, we keep it trivial
Objectified sex it gives a greater feel

We won’t numb the pain
Hands reaching to the sky
Hearts ready for the fire
Eyes open till we die

We won’t numb the pain
Slow down inside your life
Stand still against the tide
Keep fighting for the silence
We won’t numb the pain

We want the cure, not a medication
We’re gonna deal with it now
We want the cure, not a medication
We’re gonna deal with it now

We won’t numb the pain
Hands reaching to the sky
Hearts ready for the fire
Eyes open till we die

We won’t numb the pain
Slow down inside your life
Stand still against the tide
Keep fighting for the silence
We won’t numb the pain

Gonna feel my,
Gonna feel my,
Gonna feel my heart now

Let me get a taste of your sweetness
Give me one glimpse of your lovely light
Lord, be my joy and treasure
My delight

Let me have a sense of your presence
May I trust your mercy all my life
I just wanna be a fire burning in the night

Fire, fire, fire, fire
Fire in my heart, fire in my soul
May the fire of your love burn away control
Satisfy my heart, cause I don’t wanna steal
Or give in to my lust just to feel

Fire, fire, fire, fire

 

Change your heart

 

I like this song a great deal, but it I just realised how close to home it hits as I try to hide from pain. Sure, I face quite a bit of physical pain daily, but that is not what I fear. It’s the emotional and heart-hurting pain that I fear. It’s the letting go and letting God – I don’t want to get hurt. So I numb the pain, even as I sing this song.

What if God doesn’t want me to numb the pain? What if He wants me to experience it, so I can grow from it, heal from it, and seek Him more? I think that is the truth. But it’s scary.

What kind of pain are you afraid of? Admit and reveal it to God. It’s what I’m working on too. Thankfully, we have a God who does not judge or condemn – He helps us and strengthens us. He knows what we’re feeling and what we’re facing before we even understand it ourselves.

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” – John 3:17

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

He is your God. He is my God, and He will help you. He will help me. Because He loves us greatly. He will help us identify this pain we fear, and He will help us face is – help us conquer it, because through Jesus, we are more than conquerors! ”

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

Hallelujah. :)

This post turned out a lot different than I first thought, but I will leave it here. May He fill the rest of this post with His words!

 

 

Huh, funny. I didn't mean to click on this but then read it and found it's good timing. :)

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, Reviews, Spiritual beliefs

“Not by Sight” by Kate Breslin

(click image above to go directly to Amazon to see this book)

“Not by Sight” by Kate Breslin

WWI Fiction

Review copy source: Author and publishers

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover.

Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country’s cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she’ll set off when she hands a feather to Jack.

And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them–or the faith they’ll need to maintain hope.

My Thoughts:

I really, really loved Kate Breslin’s first book, “For Such a Time” – it was so excellent – so I was excited by this new release of hers and absolutely delighted when I was chosen to be part of her influencer team – it’s been immensely enjoyable!!

The book cover is gorgeous – it really is an eye-grabber (hehe, that sounds slightly on the creepy side; how about ‘attention-grabber’?) and I love all the colours blending together. It represents the novel beautifully.

While “For Such a Time” will remain my favourite between Mrs. Breslin’s two books, I must say I did enjoy “Not By Sight”. The tale was gripping, and the characters delightfully flawed, each with their own secrets, as one character, Lucy, said in the book. It’s true – we all have some kind of pain in our lives. But God can take our brokenness and create a master piece!

It took me a little while to really relate with main character Grace Mabry. Especially since it started out by her handing out the white feathers of cowardness…but as the book got going, and we got to really know her more, I did begin to really enjoy her character. And Jack’s I liked nearly right away. :) I think the romance between the two was really sweet, and I loved the banter between them. I think the romance was nicely done in this book, though one concern I had about it was the fact that between the two of them, especially for Grace, there wasn’t a problem or even wariness that Jack himself was not a strong believer in Christ. And I think that should be very important to believers – we are not to be unequally yoked together, so it is very important that we don’t simply give into the lust of the flesh and cast aside the care of faith. This is not to say the characters were completely casting aside their faith – Grace showed some faith and did genuinely desire for Jack to be saved too, but it wasn’t in the deciding factor of their relationship, which saddened me. I don’t want girls out there to think that matter isn’t important. :)

On the topic of a faith strand, there was one present, which was nice. For me, personally, I would have liked it to be stronger and imperatively evident. I didn’t necessarily see that. Sometimes it seems like it was added as a side thought, but there were deeper aspects to it, and the characters grew through out the book which is always excellent!

My favourite part was definitely the relationship between Grace and Jack! I loved it and enjoyed it. Kind of like a ‘beauty and the beast’ story, which is always lovely!!

Mrs. Breslin writes exceptionally well, and the history she entwines throughout the story is marvelous! Very real, and helpfully depicted.

My sincere thanks, Mrs. Breslin, and Bethany House for providing me with a complimentary copy of this splendid book.

Posted in 1940's, Booklook Review

Booklook Book Review: “Remember the Lilies” by Liz Tolsma

http://www.amazon.com/Remember-Lilies-Liz-Tolsma/dp/1401689140/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1425433771&sr=1-1

 

“Remember the Lilies” By Liz Tolsma

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

How will two very different people find love—and survive the impossible circumstances of war?

In 1941 Rand Sterling was a wealthy, womanizing club owner and an American of note among ex-pats and locals alike. Now two years later, Rand is just another civilian prisoner of war—one whose planned escape from the Santo Tomas Internment Camp could put him and others in grave danger.

Irene Reynolds grew up as a missionary kid in the Philippine jungle. Now she works for the paranoid Japanese authorities, delivering censored messages to the other American prisoners in Santo Tomas.

When Irene’s negligence leads to Rand’s failed escape attempt, Rand is sent to the torture chambers of Fort Santiago—and Irene suffers under the weight of her guilt. Yet when she crosses paths with Rand again after his unexpected return to the camp, something more than mere survival draws the unlikely pair together.

As life in Manila becomes more and more desperate, and another threatening letter finds its way from Irene’s hands to Rand’s, the reluctant couple struggles to find a way to stay alive . . . and to keep their growing feelings for each other from compromising the safety of everyone around them.

My Thoughts:

Historical Fiction is one of my favourites, because I enjoy history, but I don’t always enjoy reading history books as so often they drone on and nothing really sinks in – but for me, historical fiction tells a great story, all the while weaving history into the plot. It is so beautiful, and often how I learn the best.

“Remember the  Lilies” was just such a book – it shone light on an area in history, during WWII that I wasn’t aware of previously. I hadn’t before read much about the war hitting the Philippines, and all that went along with it, and so it was really interesting to read about it in this book. The history was told authentically, and engaging. It told the truth, and while it is sad and terrible, it is important. Things like that shouldn’t be forgotten.

The characters were all well done, and I enjoyed Irene and Rand’s story. I also really appreciated and enjoyed Anita – her faith was astounding, even in such tough circumstances.

While I would have dearly loved for the book to have delved into the deeper spiritual healing earlier on, I did enjoy how it was at least included towards the end. When the learning and healing began for the characters, that’s when I began to really enjoy it much more.

P.S. The cover is beautiful, isn’t it? I love it. =)

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

 

Posted in God's Lessons, My Abba Father, Spiritual beliefs, Videos

Needing Him – Because He is Good.

Him

What comes to mind when you read those words? I need Him? And by ‘Him’ I mean, Jesus.

I think of the song by Matt Maher – “Oh I need You, Oh I need You. Every hour I need You” etc. and originally it made me think that I need Jesus for every-day living; for help, for strength, etc. Which is true. We do desperately need Him for those things – for everything. Because without Him, we can do literally nothing.

Now, God so graciously taught me something more. Another step. He showed me that I need Him because otherwise I would be going to hell. I’m serious. Without Him saving me, without Him choosing me, I would be dead already. Maybe not physically, but definitely spiritually. I would be walking on the road to hell.

Though it should be common knowledge, it had not sunk into me before now. Yes, I knew it. But I didn’t know it. God has a way of bringing that about, though. And it is wholly by His choice. Without Him, I’d be nothing – without Him I AM nothing, but with Him I have a future. And a hope. And I know it is nothing of what I’ve done. Because I’ve done nothing good. Anything good is because of Him.

There is a song, and I think mayhaps I have posted it here before a long time ago, but it played throughout my head after God gave me the realization that He is saving me – that it is His choice to save me, because He is good. The part of the song that I heard says this, “If there’s anything good, anything that’s good in me – well it must be You!”

And here’s a verse to correlate with this, to affirm His promises:

Deuteronomy 7: 6-9 (emphasis mine)
“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”

I love those verses. I think they are beautiful. Because it shows that the Lord chose us – not because of anything we did or do (‘not because ye were more in number of any people’) but because He loves us! It is His choice completely.

I can’t tell you how much that revelation meant to me – means to me. It was such a relief, knowing it isn’t up to me, yet He still loves me anyway.

God is good. And I need Him.

Posted in God's Lessons, My Abba Father, Spiritual beliefs

Nowhere but Christ

There is nowhere but Christ. And sometimes, we need to be absolutely pelted with that knowledge. We need to be reminded, especially when we are in our lowest, that Christ is everything, and there is nowhere else to go but to Christ.

I speak from experience, truly, I do. I have ran. I have sought relief through different things. But I am being pelted. And drawn back to my Creator. And praise Him for that!
You see, this year especially, I have been in the ‘refining fire’ of God. It’s not overly pleasant either. I’ve mostly kept quiet about it – I’m generally a private person. But it does help to read other’s accounts of things because other people struggle too.
So, I will say, it has been rough. I have been very low. I have struggled – and still am. My days are different than they were a couple years ago.
And I admit that various times already, when I don’t feel God, I try to find something that will ‘satisfy’ such as books, reading, writing, reading blogs, etc. I think that, since I don’t feel God close to me, I have an excuse to seek my own desires. Wrong. He is still my Lord. I am still His servant. And He still hears me. He hears my cries – and don’t you think He’s doing something through this all? A big resounding YES! I know without a doubt that He has His righteous hand on all of this. On everything. I just need to be put back on the right path a few times. Throw off the distractions and be pelted with ‘nothing but Christ’. Nothing but my Lord. Nothing but the knowledge that He is ALL. There is none that can satisfy but Him. None that can comfort me but Him. There is nowhere but Christ. Nowhere but my Lord.

I am joyful that He is calling me back – that He Himself is drawing myself to Him. That is what my soul has been craving. Him. None of my workings win out, because I am human and I fail. But He never fails, and it is up to Him right now to pull me back – and He’s doing that! I am joyful. I am thankful. I am praising! Because I am hungry. For Him only. It is like walking in a dry desert and yearning for someone to draw me to an oasis. He is doing that. Drawing me to the oasis that is Himself.

And you know, I’ll have to continually be drawn back to Him. Because I can do nothing, and I’m not going to try. Oh, I’m going to try to keep him always as first in my life – that is a comfort – but I am going to stop doing deadworks. Or try at least. I do struggle with not doing ‘works’ for Him – even though I know that He only wants me first and foremost.

Don’t give up, if you’re struggling. I pray that you will be pelted with knowledge of Him on every side of you. Because that is what we need. I once thought that, when reading constant things of ‘go to Him’, “I know, I know. but that’s not where I’m at right now”, but that is where I need to be. Because there is NOWHERE but Christ!! What glorious knowledge that is!!

I read a post that…well, it was an echo of myself. And in it I felted pelted. So, thank you Mrs. Wood for pelting His grace!
This is that post:

http://annawood.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/the-grace-of-god-sustains/

 

I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. —Ezekiel 34:11

 

Remember, when there is nowhere else to go – Christ. There is nowhere but Christ! Run into His loving arms – let Him draw you.

Posted in Book reviews, Give-aways

Book Review and Giveaway: “The House of Mercy” by Alicia Roque Ruggieri

Hello dear readers!
Today I have a special treat for ye. Recently, author Alicia Roque Ruggieri contacted me asking if I wanted to review her debut novel, “The House of Mercy” and if I’d also be interested in hosting a give-away of her book. I was super pleased (you can ask my family if you don’t believe me!) and agreed directly.
Well, I have just finished reading the book, and…wow! It really is amazing. I loved it. :)
Below you will find my ‘proper’ review of it, followed by a rafflecoptor giveaway where you can enter to win your own paperback copy of “The House of Mercy”! The give-away will run a week, ending on the 26th, and it’s available only to continental U.S. residents.

Title: The House of Mercy
Author: Alicia Roque Ruggieri
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 274
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Description: (Taken from Amazon)

What is crooked cannot be made straight. In his twenty years, Deoradhan has swallowed much of sorrow’s cup and found it bitter. Haunted by his father’s murder at the hands of one he trusted, distanced from the Roman God who betrayed him, burning to obtain his rightful throne in the rugged north, the young exile returns to Logress, where High King Arthur holds together a frail confederacy. Yet Deoradhan finds that crowns are more easily taken away than given. When the high king refuses to meet his demands, will Deoradhan stop at nothing to gain his rightful position? And what of those whose lives are interwoven with his? A story of justice, love, and mercy in post-Roman Arthurian Britain.
Appropriate for young adult/adult readers.

My Review:

This is one of those books where it leaves you almost speechless, really. I am not quite sure how to review it with adequate words. :)
This book held many plot twists I was so not expecting, but in the end they were all so good! The ending was very good. Ah, all of it was good! Hehe, okay, I will try better to focus on an actual review. :)
The characters were lovely. Truly. Each one was described so well that you were able to see them as real-life people. They had their flaws, but that just made them more realistic. I will say that Calum was my favourite character. He…well, he was just marvelous.
I enjoyed that we got to see from quite a few different character’s view-point; that was really interesting and beneficial to the story.
Lady Tarian’s character and story was another one of my favourites – I would love to follow hers, as well as Deirdre’s story further. :)
I of course liked the main character, Bethann, and I also grew to really love Aine. It was powerful for me to read how she found the True love she was so hungry for!
The back-cover description of the book only mentions Deoradhan, but this story is about so much more – and it all weaves together just beautifully.
I absolutely loved seeing the journey each character had to take toward redemption and mercy! That was done so well. And though I was not expecting a couple of the turn-outs, I realize now how perfectly they fit, and gave just a magnificent show of God’s unending mercy and love.

This book was not a tedious read in the least. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was such an enjoyable, light read yet filled with many deep truths. We are never far from God’s love, and always in His forgiving, redeeming mercy that is always unending.

The only thing that slightly – and only slightly – tripped me up a bit, was that the author used a lot of longer, descriptive words in places. It wasn’t terrible, just maybe not necessarily needed.

But truly, that aside, I found this a marvelous book, one I would be sure to re-read! And I am very interested in reading more from this author when/if she publishes more! :)

Thank you so tremendously much, Alicia, for this fantastic opportunity!

Now, onward to YOUR chance, readers, to read this book :

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A New Englander by birth, Alicia Roque Ruggieri loves woodland trails, craggy seas, and misty mountains. She grew up expecting to find Narnia through her closet, but, alas, she was always disappointed every time she checked. A fierce devourer of good books, Alicia has written creatively from childhood. Alicia’s educational background lies in Mass Communications and History, and God has blessed her with interesting adventures in small business ownership, theatre direction, restaurant management, and freelance writing.  In writing and living, Alicia desires to honor the Lord Christ, showing His beauty, redemption, and mercy.

ABOUT THE HOUSE OF MERCY:

When a hailstorm ruins her father’s crops, teenaged Bethan goes as a kitchen servant to Oxfield. There, she intends to work off her family’s debt to Lord Drustan before returning to marry the fervent son of a local priest. Yet, in her first days at the old Roman fortress, Bethan meets two men who are very different from the priest’s son, friends who have dark histories… and shrouded futures.

In his twenty years, Deoradhan has swallowed much of sorrow’s cup and found it bitter. Haunted by his father’s murder at the hands of one he trusted, distanced from the Roman God who betrayed him, burning to obtain his rightful throne in the rugged north, the young exile returns to Logress, where High King Arthur holds together a frail confederacy.

There at Oxfield, Deoradhan’s friend Calum seeks absolution for a deed he committed many years ago… a deed that ended in the death of one dearest to him and drove him from his home.

Will Deoradhan stop at nothing to gain his rightful position? Is atonement possible for Calum after so many years? And what of those – including Bethan – whose lives have become interwoven with theirs?

A story of justice, love, and mercy in post-Roman Arthurian Britain.

Rafflecoptor Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Please click on the link above if the rafflecoptor image does not show up on your browser!)

           

Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse, Reviews

Litfuse Book Review: Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma

Title: Daisies are Forever
Author: Liz Tolsma http://www.liztolsma.com.
Related book(s): Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
Source: Litfuse litfusegroup.com
Number of pages: 345
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Description:

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”
Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella’s daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

My Review:

This was the first book that I’ve read of Liz Tolsma’s (though now I am eager to read her book “Snow on the Tulips”!). Let me say, I was not disappointed in the least! This book was just marvelous, truly!
It captured and drew me in right from the start, and I could barely put it now (I rarely did!).
I don’t even know exactly how to say all the goodness of this book. I really, really loved it.
“Daisies are Forever” took you through so many stages, as the characters fled for safety. As I read it, it was almost like being right there with them. It drew me in so much, I could picture each scene so vividly.
The story is beautifully woven, and the characters are flawed and perfection all at once. I loved Gisela and Mitch immediately. And Xavier.
I cannot imagine just how it would’ve been to be in WWII, but this book definitely gives you glimpses into the immense struggles and hardships they faces, as well as the courage and strength they had to have. And the desperation so many had to feel.
If this bok was a picture, it would’ve been painted brilliantly.
I am very impressed and absolutely loved this book.
The ‘redeemed’ moment for Gisela, and Mitch, was well done, and the story leading up to that point was superb.
“Daisies are Forever” has more than a beautiful cover (which it does – I love the cover!), it has a beautiful story within the pages that you are sure to fall in love with and be swept in to.
I would definitely recommend this book to others, especially fans of WWII historical fiction.

Reading WWII fiction is fascinating and you learn there are so many different aspects of it. I loved getting to see it through different angles in this book as well as the book I previously read, “For Such a Time” by Kate Breslin.
They both give such enlightening and well written perspectives of this majorly difficult time in history, each from different view-points!

But yes, I am so glad I had the chance to read and review “Daisies are Forever”, as it has fast become a favourite and one I would re-read!

Note: I received this book for free from the Litfuse group in return for my honest and unbiased review.