Book Review for “The Mystery of Hurtleberry House”-Christian Mystery

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This was a great Christian mystery. Not preachy, good clean fun. I will be reading the rest of the series. Reminds me of the mysteries I read as a kid. Easy reading, good writing, and just plain fun. I give it 4 stars, I really liked it. Good for teens and up

A Strong Savior

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I think that over the years the Church has emasculated Jesus. We see picture after picture of Him on the cross, looking anorexic and sickly. Thank God that some have come to their senses. If you spend any time reading your Bible, you will come to know who Jesus really was. First of all he wasn’t frail and too thin. He was a carpenter and probably had the build of someone who uses his muscles for hard work. Jesus is gentle and kind, loving and forgiving, but He also is strong and, when needed, full of righteous anger. Our Messiah opened His arms to every repentant sinner, but He opened His mouth against the stubborn, stiff-necked, self-righteous religious leaders as well.

We know He came to save the world, to bring back those He loved into t right relationship with God, and we know He loves everyone. However we can’t skip over the fact that He chased the moneychangers out of the temple with a whip, (Matthew 21:12-17; Luke 19:45-48).

John 2:12-25 (NLT), “It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Does that sound like a wimpy man to you? Read the whole chapter of Matthew 23 to find His opinion of the Pharisees, you won’t find a kind or gentle word there.

Matthew 23:23-25 (NLT), “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel! What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish and then the outside will become clean, too.”

Then there was the man with the withered hand and the wrong attitudes of those in the temple:

Mark 3:1-5 (NIV), “Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”

He got angry. Not angry because He didn’t get His own way or because He was easily offended. He got angry because they didn’t know who He was. They didn’t see in Him their Messiah and Savior and they tried to keep others from the Truth.

Yes, Jesus is a loving Savior, tenderhearted, and gentle. He is also a righteous warrior defending His people and avenging His Father. He is The Knight in Shining Armor, He is King of King and Lord of Lords, He is the Commander of the Host of Heaven, Don’t ever forget that.

He is the perfect man! Strong enough to protect His own, and gentle enough to comfort every broken heart.
He is a strong Savior.

Revelation 19:11-16 (KJB), “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Book Review for “The Puppet Queen”- Fiction/fairytale (adult)

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The Puppet Queen is a great twist on the well known fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. I really enjoyed this read. It is an adult version, gritty, and full of intrigue. There is no swearing, the only sexual content is implied rape, does contain violence. I can recommend for ages 16 and up. I will be reading more by this author.

Who I Am

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The Holy Spirit is a amazing gift from the Father. He is a faithful teacher and guide. He reveals to us who God is. Knowing God on a personal level is important to our walk as Christians. Another wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit does is that He reveals to us who we are, not the way we see ourselves, not how the world sees us, but how God sees us. He shows us our true image and our true nature.

He can only do this if we are in a relationship with Him.

Think about when you were young, especially Jr. High and High School. This may not mean as much to you guys out there, but to us girls, having a best friend was so important, now days they call them BFF’s (Best Friends Forever). A true friend was someone you could be real with. They knew you were afraid of the dark, wet the bed, or that you had a crush on Jimmy in second period. You knew they hated math, loved pizza, and once snuck into the movies. For us girls, we stayed up and talked for hours, we shared every part of our lives and our hearts. Another thing about a best friend was that they never let us think too highly of ourselves. They held us accountable, were honest to the point of inflicting pain at times. They had the guts to say, “that dress has to go,” or “Jimmy likes cheerleaders, and you aren’t one.”

That is the kind of relationship we need to have with the Holy Spirit. We may have been hurt a time or two by people we were intimate with, maybe they shared some of our secrets, or in some way turned against us. The Holy Spirit will never be that kind of friend. He is trustworthy and faithful. We can tell Him anything! If what we have in our heart is wrong, He will faithfully convict us, or convince us, depending on what is needful.

John 16:1-11 (NIV), “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

That is part of His responsibility, to convict of sin, and convince us of righteousness. If we believe we can’t be healed, the Holy Spirit will convince us otherwise. If we are ignoring the word, or backing away from God, He convicts us, always in love. He guides us into the truth, He doesn’t want us to live in error, deceit, or in a way that isn’t beneficial for us.

John 16:13 (NIV), “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

John 14:26 (NASB), “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

Just like that earthly friend, the Holy Spirit knows our weaknesses. He knows we tend to have anger issues, or that we “escape” into movies or books, He knows we are getting too friendly with that co-worker, or are in places we shouldn’t be. The Holy Spirit see’s the intents of our hearts, before we ever act on anything. So, He is there to help us through, to say “no” to all temptations. He lines us back up with God’s purpose and His plan for our life, if we will let Him.

Romans 8:26 (NIV), “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

He knows our minds better than we do, better than any human friend ever could, and He uses that information to help us, guide us, and even intercedes for us according to the will of God. He reveals to us the purposes and plans that God has for us. God has a wonderful plan mapped out for each one of us, and it is the Holy Spirit that reveals that map piece by piece. His Spirit has been given to us so that we can fulfill those plans.

I Corinthians 2:9-12 (NIV), “but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

Every person born in this world ends up with an image of themselves. For the most part those images are painted from our experiences in this fallen world, from what others have said to us or about us, and from the lies that Satan has whispered in our ears. The Pharisee’s image of themselves was self importance, self indulgent, and self righteous. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears had a totally different self image, before meeting Christ. Over the years we have heard words like, “fat,” “stupid,” “lazy,” “ugly,” “skinny,” “poor,” “stuck up,” “whore,” and a bunch of other words that I won’t mention in Church. These words shape us. There are even people who have eating disorders who look into the mirror and see a fat person when in reality they are walking skeletons. Our images of ourselves are distorted, at best.

So God sends us His Spirit to rectify that. He tells us we are sons of God, if we are listening and following Him.

Romans 8:14-15 (NIV), “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

As He reveals who God is, He is revealing who we are. If God is love, then we are loved, and accepted in the beloved. If God is generous, and He is our Father, then we are not orphans and He will provide for us. We know that God is Healer, so we know that we walk in divine health. Satan can whisper all he wants that we are no good, too old, too fat, too weak, too whatever…we just need to tell him to shut up and hear that other voice, the One who says, “you are beautiful, you are loved, you are special, you can do anything, you are mine. We may at times feel unloved or unlovable, but the Holy Spirit is there telling us the truth. He puts a spotlight on the lies of the devil. He also shines that light on the areas were we need strength, deliverance, and change. He wants His fruit evident in our lives.

Galatians 5:22 (NIV), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

The Holy Spirit is God. He wants us to be free from out past, free from any wrong thought patterns, and free to be who God has called us to be. In order to be free, we have to know who we are! We aren’t our sins. He didn’t create us to sin, He created us in His likeness, for good not for evil. We are being transformed into the image of Christ.

II Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV), “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

People find their identity in many things besides God. The problem with that is that circumstances change. The woman who finds her identity in her children doesn’t know who she is when they go off to college, or worse yet becomes an obsessive, overbearing, busy body in the lives of her grown children. The athlete who finds his identity in the sport that he plays loses that identity when he is no longer able to perform, the business man who finds his identity in his career is lost after retirement, and the woman who finds her identity in her husband is devastated when death or divorce comes knocking.

However, God never changes. How He feels about us, how He created us, never changes. His plans and His purposes are forever. The only thing that can change our identity in Him is a lack of relationship, a lack of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. Truthfully that doesn’t even change who we are supposed to be, we just “act the part” we have allowed the world to give us. Like some bad sit com. They tell us who they think we are and we foolishly play the part.

In my opinion, that is why so many of our young people think that they are gay. The world says that if you are a boy and you like to cook, shop, the color pink, have creative genes, and hate sports, you must be a homosexual. Or, if you are a girl and you likes playing in the dirt with trucks, love football, like working with your hands, and hate wearing dresses, you must be a lesbian. How foolish is that? Our likes and dislikes, (especially at the age of 5 or 6), do not dictate who we are! God made each one of us, He formed us in the womb, saying that a person is born contrary to God’s plan and purposes for our lives is in effect saying that He messed up or made a mistake. His original plans for men and women are still the same. A man who is loving and gentle is still a man. A woman who is strong and capable is still a woman.

Don’t let the world tell you who you are. Don’t let your weak flesh either. The ultimate authority on who we are, who we are created to be must be God. He made us, He designed us, He is the Master Potter and we are but the clay. Settling for anything less than God’s perfect plan for us will only lead to heartache and brokenness.

God is the one who wrote our part. It will never be contrary to His will, His way, and His word. His plan is already written for us. The part that God has imagined for us is the part of the main character; we have the lead in the story of our lives. We are the Hero, we save the day!

That is our destiny.

Carry Or Be Carried

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Isaiah 46:1-9 (NIV), “Bel has bowed down, Nebo stoops over; their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome, A load for the weary beast. They stooped over, they have bowed down together; they could not rescue the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity. “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you. “To whom would you liken Me and make Me equal and compare Me, that we would be alike? “Those who lavish gold from the purse and weigh silver on the scale hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; they bow down, indeed they worship it. “They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; they set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress. “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressor. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,”

God is explaining to His people the difference between Him and the god’s of others. They were made into images of animals and had to carried into battle. They were heavy and burdensome. After being captured, they were even a heavy load for the beasts of burden to carry into captivity, with the people. Our God, the one true God, however reminds them that He has carried them since they were in the womb! He goes on to promise that He will continue until into their old age. He doesn’t change. He carries us. He delivers us. It would behoove us to remember what He said, “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,”

So choose today, do you want to carry your god, or be carried by God?
It’s a choice.

Whatever we allow to take God’s place is an idol, a heavy burden that will weigh us down. Eventually it will lead us into captivity.

Idols take, in the days of Isaiah; people were even sacrificing their own children. Idols demand everything you have, never giving back. God gives, He is generous and loving.

Sounds like a simple choice, really.

I choose God.

Book Review for “Tears of a Heart”-Fantasy Fiction

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I was given a copy of “Tears of a Heart” by the author, Chase Blackwood, in exchange for an honest review. This is the first of a series that will be a great epic fantasy. Not a quick or short read, but involved with many characters and places. The characters are not shallow, but very “fleshed out.” The story line is endearing and you can’t help rooting for the main character. He is a teen who faced insurmountable obstacles in his young life, but manages to make friends and form bonds along the way. The writing style is similar to that of Tolkien. My only complaint is that the other books are not out in print yet, so I will have to be patient. No swearing and no sexual content. I give it 5 stars. Can recommend to teens and up. As of the time of this review the book is being offered for free Kindle version on Amazon.

God’s Character Never Changes

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Hebrews 13:8 (NIV), “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Malachi 3:6 (KJB), “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

I love learning the names of God; they tell us who He is. He revealed most of them while His chosen ones wandered in the wilderness. There are great books out there that tell us His names and what they mean. Reading through Isaiah this week and one of the names that God calls Himself is “Redeemer.” I love that name. He has redeemed us from the curse after all!

In Isaiah 47 God is telling His people, thru the Prophet, how He is going to punish their rebellion and adultery and in the midst of it all, He calls Himself Redeemer. They had disobeyed His commands, ran away, and did the opposite of His will, sold themselves over to idol worshipping, and pretty much snubbed their stuck up noses at God, yet none of their (bad) behavior can change who God is! He remains Redeemer.

Let’s move on to chapter 48 (NIV):
“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.”

I don’t know about you, but to me that is such good news. No matter how much a screw up, how many times I fall, forget Him, put my needs first, this list goes on…if I return to Him, repent, He has to forgive, He has to love, He has to show mercy, He has to redeem me from my sin, because that is WHO HE IS! I can’t change Him, don’t want to in fact. I like Him just the way He is thank you very much!

So look up some names of God, read your Bible and think about who it says He is, then remember, He will never, ever change, ever!

I happen to think that is pretty amazing.