Book Review for “Golden Daughter”- YA Christian Fantasy

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The final book of “The Goldstone Wood” series, if you don’t count the two novella’s. I loved this one too. What can I say. My kind of fantasy, allegory. I am going to be sad to see it end. There is a lot more of one of my favorite characters in this one, “Monster” the man who is a cat. I loved these as much as Narnia and almost as much as Lord of the Rings! Five plus stars and a new favorite fantasy author.

The Importance of Commitment

Hebrews 10:24-25 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works,  not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Our human nature sure can be a pain. Even though my new nature in Christ is His nature, that old man sure tries to resurrect itself. I have been thinking about the importance of belonging and faithfully attending a local church. I love mine, hate to miss any service, and so whenever the doors are open, you will find me there. However, for a lot of people that just isn’t so. I don’t understand it frankly, except to chalk it up to that same human nature. We quite often find ourselves in a pickle or face to face with what seems to be a grand predicament, or maybe a whole set of problems all at one time. We find ourselves looking for a “specialist” who can set things straight. Now days we don’t have to even “let our fingers do the walking” through the yellow pages, all we have to do is grab our smart phones and do a quick search.

How many of us will run to a doctor, lawyer, therapist, psychologist, dietitians, financial advisor, or counselor? We expect them to fix or at least help us with our mountain (trouble). I expect that from the world, but why are God’s children going to the world first? Our senior pastor brings this point up quite often. We run here and there and when they can’t fix it, or we end up facing yet another issue days later, then we turn to God. How many time have we heard, or God forbid, said, “The only thing left to do is pray”? No, we should first pray! He is doctor, mentor, counselor, father, advisor, He knows us inside and out, He knows our problems, issues, weaknesses, and He knows exactly what we need, and when we need it.

Once we get stuck in the worlds ways of handling problems, we end up running to all of these appointments, setting our schedules around them. We wouldn’t miss one for any reason short of death! You know how hard it is to reschedule an appointment with a specialist. But, when was the last time you missed church? We will miss a service, a prayer meeting, or bible study for the smallest reasons. Did you stay up too late, the kids weren’t cooperating, the dog ran away, your favorite show is on, or just too tired, well then stay home. God understands… right?

I think that is so backwards. How do these worldly people with some fancy letters behind or in front of their name rate as more important than our brothers and sisters in Christ, or more able than God?

How easy is it to tell a doctor all your embarrassing bodily issues,  to tell a counselor all of your weird dreams or troubles, or talk about your financial mess to a financial advisor? How hard is it to go up and ask for prayer during a service, or to call a friend from church to confess your mess and ask for prayer? It shouldn’t be that way.

I remember a conversation with a family (relative) member about sharing something with my pastors and their reply was, “you told your pastors that!” I answered, “if I can’t tell them, who can I tell.” God places us, hand picks us for each local body. If we seek Him, He will put us with believers that are to now be our FAMILY. Sometimes we may act a little dysfunctional, just like our natural families, but unlike in the natural, we have a supernatural Father! He will help us work things out when we are humble and real with Him, each other, and ourselves.

A local church is where we can share our troubles and our triumphs. We can pray for one another, laying hands on the sick, helping out, and encouraging one another. If “Church” to you is just a building that houses a social group who sometimes asks for your money, or if “Church” is something you do once a week, month, or year as a duty, then you might as well stay home. However, if “Church” is a family that happens to meet in a building, and you go to be with your Father and be in relationship with Him and your brother and sisters, you’ll want to go.

I’ll say it again. I love going to church! Is my church family perfect? Ha! No, but do we love each other? You bet we do. Most of them know me inside and out. They’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ungodly parts of me. I can be real, they know they can too. I am committed to them, and to the growth and upkeep of our family. I pay my tithe, I volunteer, I help out where I can, I offer time, resources, and finances to my church. We hang out together and not just at service.

Everything going good for you? Great! Go to church and give God the glory. Having some issues? Get up, no excuses, and GO to Church! You’ll find help there. “But, my church isn’t like that…” I hear you say.

Find a new one! So what if your parents, or your boss go to “that church”, ask God to place you in a church family. Then listen and obey. You may have to sit through a few services, visit a few churches, talk to a few people, but God will help you find your family.

Reviews Needed for Middle Grade Read

I am offering free mobi (kindle), Pdf (word document), or ebook (nook) versions of my latest book in exchange for honest reviews on goodreads and Amazon. Just message me if you are interested.

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Tinker has rescued the people from their slavery to Mr. Topper and restored Beulah, but all is not well in Tinker Town. Who is the mysterious stranger, who is leaving notes under Mrs. O’Malley’s door, and who is the traitor?

Can Jayde and her friends solve the mystery and what will happen to the traitor?

If you haven’t read book one, I can make the same offer.

Mr Topper Sml

Mr. Topper’s Fabulous Funtown

Funtown is a place of every child’s dreams and Mr. Topper’s world of merry-go-rounds and magic is the place they want to go. But all that glitters is not gold and Funtown is not what it seems. Who is Tinker and what can he do to help? Jayde and her friends must find Tinker and the truth about Mr. Topper to free Funtown.

 

What Do You Have?

II Kings 4:1-2 (NIV), The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

This poor woman. In those days, in that culture, a widow with small sons had no one to provide for her. With sons not old enough to work, and her husband gone, she is facing the horrible fate of having her sons taken to be used as slaves to pay an old debt. We all come across situations that seem out of our hands. Her husband is gone. Hard enough to handle, and now she may lose her children. As a mother and a grandmother, I don’t even want to imagine what that might feel like, but I can assume she feels deserted, and frantic. Who can help? Then she remembers the man of God.

When she relates her circumstances to Elisha, his response is two sided. First he asks, “What can I do to help,” then he asks “What do you have?” Both are very important questions. He is asking this widow to think about a solution, not just the problem, and he is asking her to think about what she does have, instead of what she doesn’t. God can just override everything and instantaneously give us what we ask for. He is able. However, He knows as well as we do what happens to those who are just handed everything they want. It makes them weak, and spoiled, and they begin to feel entitled. They don’t grow in relationship with the person who seems to be like a vending machine, they only make demands and expect instant results. Nobody wants kids like that, not even God.

We appreciate things more if we work for them, or if it has cost us something. We treasure gifts, don’t get me wrong, a thankful heart that is grateful for every gift is a good thing. However, when a child works hard and saves every penny of his paper route money to buy that new bike…well who can blame him when he is proud of his new purchase. Even King David understood that there should be a cost. He was instructed to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Araunah not only agrees to allow David to do that, he tries to give him the oxen for the offering. Here is what David replied:

II Samuel 24:24 “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.”

Let me try to explain it this way. Pretend that a missionary comes to your church and speaks quite convincingly about the need for help in the Congo. You feel two things simultaneously, one you want to help, two you are quaking in fear lest God calls you to the Congo. So what do we do, we quickly drop a twenty or more in the offering to ease both of those feelings. You say, “I have helped, I don’t need to go, someone else can use that fifty dollars to help.” Usually we are very quick to give to missions. Then the very next week your pastor speaks of the need to replace the furnace at the church you attend, your house, and what do we do? We slip a five into the offering and say, “let so and so give the big bucks, they have a better job, sister such and such doesn’t have diapers to buy, let her give it, I wonder if we can get a grant from Uncle Sam to pay for it?” On the surface it looks like giving to mission is easier, but if you look deeper, it’s the same spirit. We don’t want it to cost too much. Selling everything and moving to a foreign country is costly! So we cave and give money. Less costly. Paying for a new furnace is costly, so we cave and make excuses why we don’t give.

God is so smart! Elisha asks the widow, “What do you have in your house?” She had oil. God gave her so much oil that she borrowed jars and jugs and still ran out of containers. She then sold it for enough to get out of debt! That is just like the little boy who shared a small lunch…with thousands. There was a multitude, a huge multitude, that were tired and hungry and Jesus told his disciples to feed them. They started adding up the monetary cost to feed so many, and of course they came up short. Jesus wasn’t even thinking of money. So, He asks, “What do we have?” Enter the little guy whose mom packed him a few fish and some small loaves. What happened? Well, of course, they were all fed, and they gathered up baskets (12) of leftovers!

Salvation is free, but that doesn’t mean that there will never be another sacrifice on our part. “Obedience is better than sacrifice,” you say. Yes, it sure is. Are you obeying?

Romans 12:1 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.”

Paul “urges” us, in other translations he “begs” and “beseeches” us to present ourselves as living sacrifices. That sounds costly doesn’t it? Before you get all worked up, stop and ask yourself, “What do I have?” What has God given me that will be multiplied to do His will and work miracles?

Do you have a little food, a little oil, some time, some money, a little talent? Give it to God. He’ll multiply it and use it to bless others. Don’t think about what you don’t have. When you are asked to give, don’t just plunk whatever is lying on the bottom of your purse in the basket. Stop, pray and listen. Then be obedient. It may cost you more than you wanted it to, but remember the leftovers? Remember the widow who had more than enough? Yep, that’s what God can do with it. Next time you are running errands and you see someone in need, stop, pray, and listen. What is God asking you to do? Take the time, sacrifice, let it cost you and let God work a miracle.

What do you have that God can use? We all have something, because He made sure you were prepared.

That should get you excited!

 

 

Book Review for “Slip”- YA Dystopian Fiction

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What the book is about:
As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

My Review:
Another great one from David Estes! I thought the “Dweller” series was great, this one is even better. So though I can’t give more than five stars (that’s my star value for Dweller) this one was so much better even. Great characters. This author is great at fleshing out his characters. You feel like you’ve known them your whole life. He also has a canny way of getting into the head of teens. There is a great mix of humor, action, suspense, and some romance. The romantic side is clean and sweet, yet full of teenage passion as well. No swearing, no sexual content (other than a retelling of an attempted rape, not explicit. There is some fighting. I can recommend this book for teens and up. Great story about hope, loyalty to friends and family, and how sometimes the lines between good and evil are blurry. Already reading book two.
As a post script, I appreciate that Mr. Estes puts his book on Kindle unlimited!