Monday, June 29, 2015

Psalm 119:36-37

Psalm 119:36-37
(36)  Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

The Hebrew word for "covetousness" is (OT:1215) betsa` (beh'-tsah); from OT:1214; plunder; by extension, gain (usually unjust):"

Another verse with this word is Ezekiel 33:31, "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness." Here is an example of a congregation who outwardly did the right acts, but inwardly, God saw their true nature: covetous. A heart that is inclined to God's testimonies will do what they hear. But the heart that is set on covetousness might "hear" but will never do. Where do I fall? As one whose heart is inclined to covetousness? or inclined to God's testimonies?

(37)  Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Turn away - OT:5674 `abar (aw-bar'); a primitive root; to cross over; used very widely of any transition (literal or figurative; transitive, intransitive, intensive, causative); specifically, to cover (in copulation):

Vanity - OT:7723 shav' (shawv); or shav (shav); from the same as OT:7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverbially, in vain):

Quicken - OT:2421 chayah (khaw-yaw'); a primitive root [compare OT:2331, OT:2421]; to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:


Many of the verses in this chapter seem to be a prayer - a request for God's help. It is acknowledging that we are weak, and He is strong. For instance, this verse; if I take it to heart, then I realize that as much as I try, I will be unable to keep my eyes from seeking vanity, unable to truly be revived in God's way - I must seek God's help in this issue.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ponderings...

It is sobering when your own writing convicts you. That happened the other day, when I was writing out a scene in my novella-in-progress:

_______

Taking a deep breath, Marie ventured to ask, "Do you find comfort in prayer?"

Mr. Bowles looked down, his deep brown eyes looking seriously into Marie's. "Yes'm, I reckon I do. Comfort..." he looked away, "Peace...assurance..."

Marie let silence come between them. The thought of prayer scared her. Repelled her. Though in her heart she longed for the peace, she feigned defiance as she looked back at Mr. Bowles. "I find no comfort in prayer."
("Journey to Love," chapter Eight)
______

As I wrote it, the question slapped me: what is prayer to ME? I had to stop writing for a full minute to ponder my answer. I didn't have as good of an answer as I wanted to, because, truthfully, my prayer life has been sporadic. By God's grace, He is helping me in this area of my life, but I am far from where I should be and would appreciate your prayers in this area of my life.

What is prayer to you? (Don't answer publicly--just take a moment to do some heart-searching)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Word Wednesday #60

"And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." Acts 9:6


God gives us step-by-step directions. First, we must seek to know what He would have us do. Then, if He simply tells us "go and wait," we must go  even if we cannot see what lies ahead.



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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Weary Not in Praying

By Karen and Amanda Tero
(This is a poem that I wrote with Mom (though she was the main person who wrote it. I only contributed to the last phrase)

Are you troubled in your heart,
For family or friends,
Who travel through their time on earth,
As if it will not end?
They never quite have time for Christ,
As they work and as they play.
How will they ever turn about?
Oh Christian, you must pray!

Praying without ceasing,
Giving thanks in everything.
Crying out to God on high,
Our Savior and our King.
His love for those we care about,
Is greater than our own.
So we must never cease to bring,
Their names before His throne.

 Weary not in praying,
For that loved one or friend.
Your faithful intercession,
May be blessed in the end.
Be patient for God’s loving work,
To draw to Him that one,
For whom you have been praying;
Then the vic’try will be won.




Monday, June 22, 2015

Psalm 119:34-35

Psalm 119:34-35
(34)  Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

How important it is to follow God and His ways with our whole heart! Here, we are encouraged to observe (hedge about, guard, protect, attend to, etc.) God's law with our whole heart. This is not half-way piddling in God's law, but seeking, studying, and applying it - daily - to our lives.
"Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart." (Psalm 119:2)
"With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments." (Psalm 119:10)
(35)  Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.


Psalm 142:3 reminds us, "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me." God is watching over the path we're trodding and He is offering us the path of His commandments. But until we delight in His commandments, we will not desire to walk in that path.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Word Wednesday #59

"Though He were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;" Hebrews 5:8

If Jesus learned obedience through suffering, how much more should we go through the class of suffering, that we might learn obedience!


Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!
 
 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Psalm 119:33

Psalm 119:33
(33) Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

How many times are "way" and "ways" mentioned in Psalm 119?
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." (vs. 1)
"They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways." (vs. 3)
"O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!" (vs. 5)
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." (vs. 9)
"I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches." (vs. 14)
"I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways." (vs. 15)
"I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes." (vs. 26)
"Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works." (vs. 27)
"Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously." (vs. 29)
"I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me." (vs. 30)
"I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart." (vs. 32)
"Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end." (vs. 33)
"Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way." (vs. 37)
"I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies." (vs. 59)
"I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word." (vs. 101)
"Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way." (vs. 104)
"Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way." (vs. 128)
"I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee." (vs. 168)

Do we think that the way we walk is important to God after reading sixteen verses -- all in one chapter -- about our way?


God's ways are there for us to learn. Are we learning and keeping them?

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

It has been TOO long since I've been able to sit down and design something! I jumped at the excuse to do so when I was helping a friend (or piano-student-turned-photo-editing-student) learn Photoshop Elements and Lightroom. 


Beau had taken a picture during vacation and mentioned that he thought Psalm 23:4 would go well with it. So we I decided now was as good as any to show him how to do some text editing on Elements. So, in essence, it was a joint-effort graphics-design.

Here is the original:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Amazing Grace - blog tour!

I am thrilled and honored to be a part of Faith Blum's blog tour for her book release of Amazing Grace - with both an interview and book review! I hope you have some spare minutes, because we had fun making this blog post a long read! :) First, let's learn a little about Faith.


1) When did you begin writing?
 I think I’ve pretty much been writing since I started school, but I think I got more serious about it around age ten. And I’ve been writing stories every since. Some are really good and some are really bad.

2) What inspired your Hymns of the West series?
 A picture and a contest. A homeschooling magazine we got had a short story contest. I was too old for it and there was no way I could keep the story down to 1500 words, but I decided to write it anyway. When it was done, it had a lot of problems and I set it aside to work on someday. Then another contest, sponsored by the Women of Faith conference, came around for a novel and I decided to polish up my book.

I didn’t win the contest, but I was a semi-finalist and that spurred me on to independently publish my book. Originally, I didn’t intend it to be a series, but then a beta-reader asked me what the next book was about and his simple question got the wheels in my brain turning. The idea that spurred my book into a series is actually going to be book #5 and I keep coming up with more ideas so I have no idea how long the series will be.

3) How do the hymns play a role in your series (if this isn't a spoiler)?
 The hymns kind of provide the theme for each of my books. In A Mighty Fortress, one of the themes is trusting in God to lead us and guide us. Making Him our refuge. Be Thou My Vision is about having God give us a vision for our lives and asking Him for wisdom for that vision. Amazing Grace is about…you guessed it, God’s grace. It also has a theme of God’s redemption.

4) What have you found to be the most useful resource for researching the Western time period?
 The internet and other fiction and non-fiction books. If I need to just check a fairly well-known fact, I’ll do a quick search on the internet. Some things I have gotten from reading Louis L’Amour or Janette Oke, and go by my memories from them.

5) What is your goal/vision in writing?
 To encourage and challenge Christians in their walk with God and to hopefully reach a few non-Christians with the gospel as well.

6) Do you find yourself using struggles, victories, and spiritual lessons that you have personally experienced to help teach lessons in your books?
 Definitely! With this last book, it seemed like God was beating me over the head with the lesson of His grace.

7) What would you say to encourage a young Christian writer?
 Don’t rely on your feelings. Jeremiah 17:9-10 says: “‘The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? ‘I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.’”

You won’t feel like a Christian all the time. If you have truly repented of your sins, you are born again and you are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Trust God, He is always faithful.

8) Have there been any Scripture verses that God has really used to encourage you in your writing/publishing journey?
 First Corinthians 10:31: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

9) Who do you find encourages you most in your writing journey?
 My family, one of my sisters in particular, and my friend, Andrew. They at least try to act interested when I talk about my writing and sales.

10) When not writing, what are three of your top favorite things to do?
 Play piano, play games with my family, and read.

A few extra questions (that you can answer in just one sentence if you'd like)
~Which author has inspired you the most in your writing?
Louis L’Amour. He’s not Christian, but he writes clean Westerns.

~What are some of your favorite books to read?
How many do you want? ;) The Holy Bible, Never by J. Grace Pennington, Ride the River by Louis L’Amour, The Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Resistance by Jaye L. Knight, The King’s Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight, This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti, and anything about Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That’s just a few, of course.

~What is one of your favorite Bible verses?
That is hard! I think James 1:5-8 (I know, it’s more than one, so sue me): “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

~What is one of your dreams?
To get married someday and have children of my own.

~What is your salvation testimony?
I prayed with my mom at the age of four and have been growing in my salvation ever since.

~Anything else about you or your writing that you'd like to share?
Not that I can think of. Thanks for having me, Amanda!


~*~*~
Now about the book! :) 
Because if you're like me, finding new reading material is just fun!

Caleb hurried to the post office. He had to get in and out before his sister finished at the general store. “Any mail for the Stuarts?” he asked the postmaster.

The postmaster took a lazy look at him over the top of his eyeglasses and gave a heaving sigh as he turned around to check. “Yep. Somethin’ from Ohio and somethin’ from Montana.”
Tapping his foot, Caleb waited until the large man put the letters lazily in his hand. As he left he wondered why Anna had written someone in Montana and who she knew in Montana. It was really none of his business, but he was still curious. He folded the Ohio letter in half and stashed it in his back pocket. It would get wrinkled, but at least Anna wouldn’t know about it.

As Caleb struggles through some inner battles, he secretly starts a correspondence with a widow and her daughter. Their unabashed faith in God convicts him and increases his inner struggles.

Unable to find a steady job, Maggie places an advertisement to become a mail-order bride. Her daughter, Rachel, is her motivation and encouragement, but if Maggie doesn’t find a job or husband soon, Rachel might not survive through the next year.

Can Caleb learn to trust God despite his past? Can Maggie and Rachel hold onto their faith despite all their trials? What will happen when they meet in person?


My review:
Stories about mail-order brides always intrigue me. Not being very romantic, I'm not really sure why (maybe it's the history or unusual concept); but I was happy to realize that Amazing Grace incorporated the story of a mail-order bride and found the first portion of the story very interesting as it bounced between several correspondents.

As the story progressed, I got to know Caleb, Anna, Iain, Maggie, Rachel, Miles, John, James, and Toby, and enjoyed following their story. There is definitely a strong Christian emphasis in the story (which I appreciate) and a lot about seeking God for His direction in your life.

Though the third book in this series, I was glad that I could just jump in and read it -- from what I understand, reading the former books would have given me a more rounded story, but it was enjoyable as a stand-alone.

A few things I really appreciated:
~I appreciated how Miles would just break out into prayer during tough times.
~I appreciated the realistic conclusion that though we may present man with the Gospel, we cannot force him to accept it. Though I almost didn't want to read it, it is very true that some people, though we witness to them, we may never know in this life whether or not they accepted that Gospel for their own.
~I appreciated that the salvation message was very clearly presented.

A few things that I was hesitant about:
~I will admit that I was very cautious in reading about a Christian woman corresponding with and practically courting an unbeliever. Though it turned out well (and it was very clear that Maggie was not the reason for Caleb's profession of faith), I know that such is not always the case. It is easy for our emotions to run away with us and a Christian girl might hope for the same results as Maggie and Caleb, and before she realizes it, gets swept into an unbiblical marriage. This is pretty much the main point that I cringed in reading the book. I think the author handled the situation well, with the characters bathing the situation in prayer and getting godly counsel, but at the same time, would caution girls not to take Maggie's story as their pattern for courtship/dating.

Some of my favorite quotes:
"Hold that thought. I have a ring to buy."
(I'll admit, this one had me laughing out loud [which doesn't happen often while I'm reading] and my family had to know what was so funny)

"My caution to you is to not get so caught up in the romance you lose sight of God. God should always come first in any relationship."

"As good as she may be for him, it is never good to go contrary to God's will and in this case, His will is very clear."


 About Faith:
An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, Captaining on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?).
As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.
You can find Faith on her Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter

See where else Amazing Grace has appeared on the web here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Word Wednesday #58

"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted." Revelations 2:2-3


God is not unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love shown to His Name (Hebrews 6:10). The letters to the seven churches repeats, "I know thy works." Jesus sees our every work - both righteous and unrighteous. He is watching us closely. He knows.



Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!
 
 


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Devotional Reads

Faithful men of the past have written works go after them, helping and encouraging all who read. Some of my favorites can be found for free online. If you're ever in need of something to read, check them out!

The Calvary Road by Roy Heisson

The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Monday, June 8, 2015

Psalm 119:29-32

Psalm 119:29-32
(29)  Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
Lying - (8267 sheqer, untruth; by implication, a sham (often adverbial):)

Before we understand the way of truth, the way of lying/error must be purged from us. We cannot walk in the way of lying and be living in God's law. We must step off the way of lying and walk in the way of truth. Thankfully, the Lord is there to help us change from one path to the other.

(29)  Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
(30)  I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

"Remove from me the way of lying . . . I have chosen the way of truth." There are two ways in which we can choose to walk. We are already on the path of lying once born, but God has given us the option to choose the way of truth.

To walk in the way of truth, we must keep God's Word before us. If we refuse to keep God's Word, we will inevitably start to walk in the way of lying once more.

(31)  I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.

Once we're on this path of truth, are we sticking there? "Stuck" is an active term: "1692 dabaq, to impinge, i.e. cling or adhere; figuratively, to catch by pursuit:" Our lives must be inseparable from the Word of God. Even when others accuse us and tempt us, we should not be ashamed to stick to the Word of God - when it is considered unpopular or "old-fashioned" and ignored by others.

Other uses of the Hebrew word "Dabaq:"
"For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves." (Deuteronomy 11:22-23)
"Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him." (Deuteronomy 13:4)
"That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." (Deuteronomy 30:17)
"But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Joshua 22:5)
"But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day." (Joshua 23:8)
"Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:" (Joshua 23:12)
"Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love." (1 Kings 11:2)
"Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom." (2 Kings 3:3)
"My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me." (Psalm 63:8)

It is clear that we will cleave to one way or another: to God's way or the world's way, to God or to gods. But we must realize that this cleaving doesn't happen by default; we choose where we will cleave.

(32)  I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

Continuing on the thought of the way of truth or the way of lying, we are in a race. There are several verses that indicate life as running:
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
"Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." (Galatians 5:7-9)
"Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." (Philippians 2:14-16)
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
"Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." (1 Peter 4:4-5)

In a sense, God "broadened" our heart at salvation. Are we being faithful to now run in His ways?


Saturday, June 6, 2015

And the Winners Are...

Will I ever get used to the exhilaration of seeing who wins giveaways? :) Maybe not. But for now, we are to congratulate...

KIM - for winning the ebook of "Coffee Cake Days"

BRANDY - for winning the bonus giveaway of "Coffee Cake Days," Community coffee, and mug
I've emailed you with a few more details.

Thanks for all of your participation!


Buy on Amazon or my Website.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Innocent | Book Review (blog tour)



Book Description
"I wonder who would shoot a girl so young...?" The question haunted him as he left the river and her grave behind.

Harvey West is given a month. One month to prove his innocence. As the evidence points him to the gallows, he fights to find the enemy of the beautiful Elsie Roselind. Someone wanted her gone. Someone destroyed the evidence. Someone had to kill to keep her from coming back...And the someone isn't afraid to kill again---no matter what the cost.

My Review
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

Plot interest and character development: 4 stars
My own personal conviction rating: 2 1/2 stars

The Innocent begins when Harvey West finds a girl killed by the creek. It follows his journey to prove his innocence when all evidence seems to point to him as killer.

There were many likeable characters. My personal favorites were Jimmie and Brock. 

From what little western research I've done, it seems very much in line with how trials and proving innocent went--every man for himself. This is honestly the first "murder mystery" that I've ever read and overall, I think this would be considered a "clean" book with no language and little violence; though there was a bit of romance and kissing.

What I didn't care for:
The very first scene that put me on edge was when Abigail stumbled across Harvey bathing in the stream. Her focus was drawn to his physique.

In the latter half of the book, because of certain circumstances, Harvey and Abigail are by themselves for two weeks in the wilderness, which could lead a girl's mind to the excitement of romantic daydreams. While nothing inappropriate was mentioned, this part of the plot could very easily lead girls' minds to possibilities.

About the author (Willowy Whispers):
I am a sixteen year old girl who loves to write! I have always been homeschooled, and I live in a quiet neighborhood in West Virginia. I am the author of five novels, four of which are published, and numerous short stories, some of which are on this blog. Now, down to the exciting stuff…

I am an incurable romantic—a dreamy sort of girl who sits around all day and dreams about true love…and writes about it. “Not everything revolves around romance,” people are always telling me. But to me, there is a little bit of romance in everything. Willowy Whisper, my pen name, is a fictional character in the Whispering Leaves Saga. She is, in a sense, me. This blog is based off of her because she represents my “fairy-tale” life. I also love writing thriller/suspense stories…murders…and mysteries…and all that. Anyways…

I am an Independent Baptist Christian, a firm believer in Jesus Christ. I was saved when I was five years old, eleven years ago. As a Christian teenager, one of my major goals in life is finding the “right one” and staying pure until I do.

You can view her blog here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Coffee Cake Days [writing] Update and Giveaway Reminder

I have been so blessed this week with the release of "Coffee Cake Days." Thank you, Alicia, Kelsey, Rebekah, Willowy, Faith, and Rebekah for being part of my blog tour! (If you're interested in seeing their reviews, click on their names) Y'all definitely made it special!

In addition to releasing "Coffee Cake Days," the Lord also allowed me to now offer all of my short stories in print (visit my website for more info on each title).

Annnnd...I am also an author on Amazon (Kindle versions)! Visit my author page.

If you've read any of my short stories, I'd really appreciate you taking a few minutes to leave an honest review either on Amazon or Goodreads.

Last but not least, don't forget about the two giveaways going on here at my blog for "Coffee Cake Days." They will end tomorrow night at midnight.

BONUS GIVEAWAY (short story, Community coffee, coffee mug):
http://withajoyfulnoise.blogspot.com/2015/05/coffee-cake-days-bonus-giveaway.html


Giveaway for ebook: 


And if you're interested in a writing update... let's just say that I'm about to hit a full summer of camps, Bible schools, and revivals. If I get some time to write, lovely! But my focus isn't going to be on writing for a few months. :)

~*~*~
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Hymns of the West - novella cover reveal (and giveaway!)

Once again, Faith Blum has come out with new books! This time, several novellas! I am excited to be part of her cover reveal! To learn how these novellas came into being, check out Faith's blog post today. Read on to see the covers and learn about each of the stories. Don't forget to enter to win the novel that started it all!


I Love Thee
Mom and Dad dead STOP Please come STOP Gage
Confirmed bachelor, Cole Baxter, finds himself raising his sister's four young children. After one week of leaving his ranch in the hands of his foreman to take care of the grieving, needy children, he has to admit the task is beyond him and he needs help. But hired help won't suffice: those children need a mother's hand. Cole needs a wife.
Approximately 18,000 words.

Preorder link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y6PDI9A
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25603566-i-love-thee


Pass Me Not 
Let me at Thy throne of mercy/Find a sweet relief/Kneeling there in deep contrition/Help my unbelief
Timothy is at his wit's end. His twelve year old half-sister has run off five housekeepers in almost a year. Since their parents died, she has grown wilder than ever. What can he do? As he looks for a new housekeeper, his eye catches sight of a mail order bride advertisement. One young lady has a younger sister and sounds like a God-fearing woman. Could this be the answer to his dilemma or will Louise run her off, too?
Approximately 15,300 words


Redeemed
Mail Order bride seeks wealthy Western man. Write Mona Sommers, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Alexander Granger is tired of his father’s lectures and sermons. It’s time for payback. His plan is to pretend to marry a woman and scandalize his father when he finds out they aren’t really married. Will Mona accept his offer? Can Alex get away with his plan?
Approximately 11,600 words.

About the Author
An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, Captaining on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?).
As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.
You can find Faith on her Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter

Other Bloggers in the Cover Reveal
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
Jaye L. Knight
The Antrim Cycle
God's Peculiar Treasure Raechel
Wildflower Acres
Shanna Hatfield
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima
Read, Write, Laugh, Dance
Zerina Blossom
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
Valerie Howard Books
Rebekah Lyn Books
Shannon Pemrick

Giveaway
The giveaway is for a signed paperback of the book that started it all, Amazing Grace. If it hadn’t been for this novel, none of the novellas would be in existence today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, you can enter her Goodreads giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/138976-amazing-grace

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Word Wednesday #57

"Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God." Zephaniah 3:1-2

Obedience - "Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently." Psalm 119:4

Correction - "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Hebrews 12:6

Trusting - "Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:" Isaiah 26:4

Drawing - "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:8


These are not simple suggestions for us to decide whether or not to keep them. They are commandments - and it is our choice whether or not we will obey.


Share a verse that God has given you today or copy the button if you'd like to join in Word Wednesdays with your blog!
 
 


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Undeniable

It is so neat when the Lord clarifies something that you've learned through His Word. As I was recently reading through the Gospels, I began to notice when Jesus spoke:

"...I adjure thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said..." (Matthew 26:63-64)

"...Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest." (Matthew 27:11)

"Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am:" (Mark 14:61-62)

"And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it." (Mark 15:2)

"Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:...Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am." (Luke 22:67-60)

"Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it." (Luke 23:3)

In all of these instances, Jesus answered when directly asked His Deity.

Just a day or two later, during Wednesday night service, our pastor studied this verse with us: "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:13) Putting the two-and-two together was so neat!

So, what has the Lord recently shown you through His Word?





Monday, June 1, 2015

Psalm 119:25-28

(25)  My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

This verse makes me think of Job in his trials. When our soul "cleaves to the dust," where do we turn? "Quicken" gives the idea of living and reviving. Do we turn to God's Word to lift us up? to give us new meaning to our life? As Hebrews 4:12 explains, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." God's Word is alive and it has the power to make us alive and revived again.

(26)  I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

It is not wrong to tell our ways to the Lord. Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." God knows all of our ways anyway, and He is able to direct our steps. If our ways are not in line with His ways, He is able to lead us to be in line - to teach us His statutes.

(27)  Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

This verse seems to correlate with two previous verses: "Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes." (Psalm 119:12), "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Psalm 119:18) God is willing, ready to teach us His ways. But are we ready to receive it? Are we willing to understand the way of His precepts? To the heart that is willing to learn, God is more than willing to teach.

The more we learn God's ways, the more we should be talking of His wondrous works.

(28)  My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

Similar to verse 25 ("My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word."), we must recognize that God's Word is able to strengthen. There will be days when our soul "cleaves to the dust" or "melts for heaviness." As believers, we are not exempt from these days. But do we use these days to strengthen our reliance on Jesus Christ and His Word?
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