Thoughtful| Fear of Man

Okay. So I’m tempted to think that a demon is trying to prevent me from posting this. Because…I accidentally deleted the entire post the first time I was writing it. So this is attempt two. This is so frustrating. I am so bummed that this happened. {BTW, the demon thing was a total joke. 

Continue reading “Thoughtful| Fear of Man”

Give Thanks Unto the LORD

Hey guys!

 

I announced over at Lucillian Photography that I’m taking a break to go on vacation. Well, that’s true over here too! But I am going to get in two new posts before I leave. This post is a thanksgiving post 😀 and the other one will be reviewing my latest Bethany House book.

Continue reading “Give Thanks Unto the LORD”

BHBR| How to Listen so People Will Talk

Note: I am so sorry for making this post so late, Bethany House! I am doing my best to catch back up!

Continue reading “BHBR| How to Listen so People Will Talk”

Thoughtful| Teshuva, the Return

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We, as finite creatures- tend to drift. To float away weakly after the pleasures of the world. We exchange the wonderful blessings of Christ Jesus, for the fleeting pleasures of sin. It’s a rip-off, but we don’t mind. It doesn’t matter to us. But it should.

Many of you have probably heard the C.S Lewis quote about the children being more content with mud pies than with the vacation at the beach. That’s us. We’ll take the mud pies, disguised to look like candy- and devour them.

But there’s good news.

We’re not given over to our sin as unbelievers are. The Lord will never forsake His own. He pursues us, He loves us freely. And above all- He convicts us. Have you ever felt that terrible poke right before doing what you know is wrong? Most of the time, people refer to that as your conscience. But did you know that the Holy Spirit, while being a comforter- is also a convicter? God doesn’t wink at sin, and He has indwelt us in the person of the Spirit. He is merciful and gracious.

I feel that the things that I have been doing are drowning out the love that I ought to have for God. I cry out, asking why God isn’t answering. Why isn’t He there? Well, He is. Sometimes God doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. Sometimes we alienate ourselves from Him. We neglect reading His Word and praying. And then we wonder why we don’t ‘feel’ Him there.

The Psalm most applicable that I can think of to repentance (turning away to return) is Psalm 32. It tells us what happens when we do not confess, and I gives us encouragement to return.

Blessed Are the Forgiven

A Maskil of David.

” Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

~Psalm 32

Sadly, sometimes it’s so easily said, and not easily done at all. I know when I’m in a ‘spiritual rut’ or find myself backsliding back into sin- sometimes the last thing I want is to return. Even though He loves me freely. Even though my current path will only lead to destruction. I still am content to wallow in the mud.

Sometimes we must wallow in the mud for a while to be brought to utter humility. We see our need of Him more clearly when He ‘hides His face’ from us for a while. But then, like the prodigal son—we return. He brings us back like lost sheep into His fold. We feast once again on green pastures. He restores our cast-down souls. He gives us drink from the clear, still waters.

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He makes us to lie down in peace.

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WIRW, #3.

Afternoon!

Today I welcome you to What I Read Wednesday, the THIRD attempt. And what book(s) is/are the subject of my review? The first is A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Click here to check out her blog. The second is The Valley of Vision, which is a nice compilation of puritan prayers. If what you envision when you hear that is this:

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A ‘Puritan’ frowning at merriment.

Then please banish such thoughts from your mind. The puritans may have a reputation…(whether true or not is often disregarded)…but they certainly knew how to pray! So let’s get started…

 

 

A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold

By Anne Elisabeth Stengl

My Rating- 5 stars

(I think I know why I almost always say 5 stars. It’s because I normally only post books I liked! 🙂 )

 

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Genre: Fantasy fiction

Okay, so besides the gorgeous cover (I am expiring over this cover…almost:) ) what is there the say? Well first the excerpt:

For six hundred years I have dwelt in this prison. Trapped. Helpless. Unliving and undying. For six hundred years I have watched as cursebreakers come and go. Brave young women all, gifted with powers beyond mortal understanding. I have watched them die. I have watched them wish to die. Once again the Family of Night invades this country to claim its dues, and this generation’s cursebreaker has her chance to break the endless chain of torment. To save me. To save her sisters. But how can a peasant child scarcely fourteen years of age discover the three-part key and liberate the captives? Will she too be doomed to join the Death Dance binding us all to the Family of Night?

Now for my take on it.

Oh yes…

  1. I loved the onward progression of the main character(s). They seemed to grow as they learned what each of them had to do.

2. It was full of excitement! I did NOT want to put it down–at any point.

3. I liked the humor…and the awkward moments that were sprinkled around the story. The main character may not understand decorum and proper ladylike behavior–but it adds to her personality. Her heart is in the right place–and that’s more important.

4. The mystery aspect of the story. It made me sit on edge–“What is going on?”. I HAD to keep going to find out. A good writer pulls you into the story and makes it YOUR adventure. Or they just pull you in and make you love their characters.

5. Okay, I have a thing where the strangest/funniest character in a story goes on my top 5 list. If you read it…thumbs up for the sylph. That is a hilarious character. I love her.

 

Waaaa….

  1. The author had better have a sequel in mind–because she left a lot of loose ends!

2. I didn’t like the ending. Mostly because I could feel the incompleteness of the story. Yeah, one adventure was ended–or was it? I so wanted to know what would happen.

3. But then again…I suppose she might be prepping the readers for a sequel? (Please A.E.S, pleeeeeease??? 🙂 )

 

 

The Valley of Vision

A Compilation of Puritan Prayers

Published by Banner of Truth Trust

My Rating- 5 stars

vov

 

Hints & Tips…

*This book can be bought in either paperback or leather. I have the leather copy– and couldn’t be any happier with it. It is cabra bonded leather.

*  The book is a little expensive, but well worth it!

*Also, this isn’t (for me) the kind of book that I read once through then put back on the shelf. They go wonderful for everything. Several of the prayers are in a specific category. For instance, there are ones to read before the Lord’s Supper, or before the worship service starts. I find it helpful to read the different ones both in my private worship (quiet time, devotions, etc.) and in whatever specific contexts that certain of the prayers are titled after.

 

My Other Thoughts…

  • I  love this book! It does contain thees and thous…I like to translate them back into our current modern way of talking. The reason: because I find that instead of saying “Thou knowest my heart, mine every thought is…(etc)” it’s more personal (for me) to say: “You know my heart, that my every  thought is…”. I don’t know why. The thees and thous kinda’ just trip me up. I like them in books–just not when I’m trying to pray a prayer to God.
  • The prayers are each of them rich in gospel comfort and in convicting the heart of sin. Each prayer is about the same length–not too long. They’re more the ‘short and sweet’ deal. I like long prayers as well…but I seriously don’t know how lengthening these prayers could make them any better!
  • I recommend reading these prayers out loud–or at least partially out loud. Every now and then the language gets old timey (ahem, *gorgeous*). Some words I have to look up later. When you get to those parts read them over once or twice. Sometimes a bell rings in my mind and I can figure out what is meant by the context.

 

*Anyway…I love both of these books and would heartily encourage you to get your copies.

~Emmaline

WIRW| Second Attempt

Welcome to What I Read Wednesday!

The chosen book(s) to be reviewed are as follows: Second Son by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt & The Glory of Christ by John Owen. I am super excited to share these reviews today. So let’s get started!

 

Second Son

By Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

The Minstrel’s Song Book # 2

My Rating- 5 stars

ss

 

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

I’ll just start with the synopsis included generally where this book is listed.

In an attempt to manipulate the future, a family and a nation are forced to decide between two brothers. Guided by a prophecy spoken hundreds of years before, the King and Queen of Llycaelon have set their course. Their goal: to fulfill the prophecy and save their nation from a dire fate.

Rhoyan has always understood and accepted his own role as second born and perpetual prince. He looks forward to the day when he will be a warrior in his older brother’s guard. When Rhoyan is sent on a quest filled with unimaginable danger, nobody anticipates the greater repercussions.

As Rhoyan journeys far across the seas on his appointed trial, he will battle creatures of legend, suffer shipwreck, endure captivity, and lay claim to a fallen star. When tragedy strikes, Rhoyan must struggle to return home believing his quest has failed. However,  the home he left no longer awaits him and the true test of his strength and character has only just begun.

Long before Aom-igh needed a champion, Llycaelon had a Second Son.

 

*This book was free on Kindle on Amazon.com. I was excited to get it…and very pleased with what I read.

*This book is exactly what I personally like in a fantasy fiction book. Nice blend of magic, mystical creatures, sibling love/rivalry, and family.

*It’s also a clean read! YAY!!!! (When I say clean, I mean clean. No language, explicit content, suggestions of explicit content, or anything in that realm.) There IS magic. I like magic, but I know there are people out there who aren’t going for that. But seriously, it’s fantasy fiction.)

My Praise:

  • The book was exciting and suspenseful, making me want to know what happens to Rhoyen and Ky.
  • The author does a great job switching from Rhoyen to Ky (although it is written primarily form Rhoyen’s perspective) and giving you their feelings.
  • At many moments, I felt for both Rhoyen and Ky, although I got mad at both of them at various times as well. If the author is able to make you LIVE with the characters (or better yet, BE the characters!)–they are probably a good writer.
  • I got themes that could be hinting at Biblical thinking. For example: they have someone who is the deity in the story. But there are no references to other gods…and so I naturally concluded given the information…that they only have one God. The fact that the author is a Christian could have something to do with it 🙂 !

My Critique/Complaints:

(this particular story has more complaining from a heartbroken reader than any real critique.) 🙂 😦
  •  At first there was a lot of brotherly love…then my heart broke as you watched the distance come between the brothers’ relationship. WAAAAAA!!!!!
  • I was slightly upset at Rhoyen for the rare moments when he let his temper show. Although, I guess it’s good that he was actually a real person with real faults.
  • OKAY. I’ll just admit it! When I love a book it’s hard for me to critique it. I’m having trouble finding anything wrong with this book. I liked it too much. 

 

Yes, buy this book. I think it’s still free (on Kindle) and up for grabs right now on Amazon– but you’d have to check. Just to conclude:

Great book, characters, engaging plot, suspenseful buildup, 5 STARS.

 

The Glory of Christ

A Puritan Paperback

By John Owen

My Rating- 5 stars

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*Unless you think it’s sacrilegious to write in a book, I would recommend highlighting your favorite quotes. There are a lot that I think you’ll find worth re-reading.

Owen is a master of reformed theology. But forget that bit of controversial lingo…Owen is a Bible-believing Christian! When people say things about the reformed like: “Oh, so you’re the frozen chosen, huh?” “You’re the people that believe I’m going to hell if I don’t believe what you believe…” and the list goes on and on. Now let me ask you a question: Do you believe the Bible? If you are a Christian, you must answer ‘yes’ to that question. Why? Because the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. And if you don’t believe what God’s Word says, you don’t believe God. Another question: Do you believe the Bible makes mistakes or is contradictory? If you are a Christian, you must answer ‘No’ to that question. Because YOUR FAITH, what you claim to believe is/ must be grounded on the Bible alone. Sola Scripture– Scripture ALONE. If it’s not, your faith crumbles to the ground. You are made a laughingstock to the nations. (Okay, so people already laugh at you for being a Christian, but if your faith is full of holes and inconsistencies– that’s all the worse! We are supposed to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.).

Sorry for that trailing off. In short, (nods to John Calvin AGAIN:) ) Owen believes the Bible, and has been very helpful in expounding Christ’s glory.

Praise:

  • Rich in theme and content.
  • Abridged and made easy to read by R.J.K Law. *Nod to those who are a little scared of reading Owen unabridged and in his old style of writing*. (Including myself!)
  • In the Bible the subject of God’s glory is a huge one! Moses says: “Show me your glory.”. Apparently, even HE wanted to know. The Bible makes it clear that to behold the Son (and His glory) is to behold the Father (and His glory).

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~John 14:6, ESV. (Emphasis my own)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. ~John 14:8-11, ESV. (emphasis my own, my PRECIOUS. 🙂 )

 

  • Favoritest Quote from the book that comes to mind:

“Only a sight of His (Christ’s) glory, and nothing else, will truly satisfy God’s people. The hearts of believers are like a magnetized needle which cannot rest until it is pointing north. So also, a believer, magnetized by the love of Christ, will always be restless until he or she comes to Christ and beholds His glory.”~ the Glory of Christ, By John Owen, Pg. 2.

Yes, it’s a simple quote. But sometimes simple is what we really need to get the point across!

Our church is studying this in what we call our ‘Covenant Discipleship Hour’. We are almost done… and it has been such a blessing! One thing that helps me is to jot down whatever really sticks in my mind– so that I won’t soon forget it.

 

Yes, I would recommend this book. Read it, and be filled with Christ’s glory–and thus the Father’s as well.

 

~Emmaline

Verse for Life

Hello!

This Bible verse is my verse for life. I read over these verses yesterday…and yes they’re familiar. But maybe that’s part of my problem. I take these verses for granted. I don’t take a look at them with eyes that devour. Heheheee…that probably sounds…

W E I R D.

But seriously…I read the verses in a slow, pondering, meditating sort of way. And I benefited greatly.

 

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Another design by Canva.com

So many problems in this world stem from (yes, sin, OF COURSE) identity issues. People are looking to find “Who they truly are” and trying to satisfy themselves with the fleeting pleasures of sin. Their identity isn’t in Christ…so it’s in the world. To put it in a more forceful way: Their identity is in the devil. They’re following him.

But here’s the catch. Many people who call themselves Christians (identifying themselves as Christ-followers) think it’s okay to act like the world. To be pulled in by the world’s mold.

Now here’s the second catch. WE act like we don’t believe God is here! I do, you do, we all do. That’s called Practical Atheism. We sin…acting as if God can’t see us. We won’t get in trouble…because no one SAW us. Problem is, someone always sees us. Someone is there who we can’t fool. And it is to Him that we’ll have to give an account. To wrap it up, I’ll just ask you a question. Are you trusting in Christ alone for salvation? Nothing and no one else can satisfy. You can sear your conscience until you can’t feel anything…but in the end- this life is FLEETING. It fades away. But the next ‘life’ is eternal. In short, (nod to John Calvin 🙂 ) Christ is the answer. He alone can save.

~Emmaline

That Day When…

That day…when you just don’t feel like God cares for you.

Remember HIS faithfulness. Remember: ‘His mercies are new every morning…’.

That day…when you are angry at someone and tempted to think: Why does God accept them?

Remember how Christ is: ‘not ashamed to call us brethren’. Remember that ‘if God would count iniquity, who could stand?’ YOU WOULDN’T BE ANY MORE ACCEPTABLE! Remember: we’re all saved by the same grace, and accepted ONLY because of Christ.

That day…when you desire something more than anything, and can’t get it.

Remember that HE is your all. That when you place all your hope and trust, (and yes…your DREAMS) in His care- He promises to bless you. What better hands could I possibly have to put all my dreams in? NONE.

That day…when you’re worried out of your mind.

“Cast all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

 

~Emmaline