Archives for March 2014

Raising the Dead

Raising the Dead

Where life and death bump into each other and life wins.

Nain, a village in southwestern Galilee six miles southeast of Nazareth on the northern edge of the Plain of Esdraelon.

Though set on a bleak, rocky slope, the village boasts access to the most fertile farmland in the Valley of Jezreel…

…where rock and soil meet.

Nain lives up to its definition: delightful, pleasantness, green pastures, and lovely by opening out to a vast and beautiful vista across the plain to Carmel, over the Nazareth hills, and out past Mount Tabor to the east and even to the glistening, white peaks of Mount Hermon, a great distance away to the north.

The valley is a sea of living vegetation, awash in the brilliant colors of creation. A balmy breeze flutters waves of emerald grass while wafting the fragrance of blossoming fruit trees and wildflowers across the valley.

But in this idyllic valley, teeming with life, is bereavement. A funeral procession departs the village gate, withdrawing the dead from the center of living.

A young man has died, the only son of a widow. While the balmy breezes blow in the valley, a wintery wind whirls in the heart of this widow, now slumped over in her own valley of grief.

Trailing in the wake of the burial bier is the wailing mother, relatives, friends, and other lamenters from the village, all dressed in their mourning garments.

As the group following death departs the city in sorrow, a group following Life waits to enter in joy. Jesus and His disciples stand aside so as not to bump into the death brigade.

At the gate…where death and life meet.

As tears drench this mother’s face, Jesus’ heart fills with deep compassion and He tenderly says to her, “Do not weep.”

He turns to the bier, as those carrying it stop. Laying His hands on it, He commands, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”

Resurrected from the dead and filled with life, the boy sits up and begins to talk.

Where death and life meet…and life wins!

Both crowds erupt in great rejoicing and praising. And the word of the miracle spreads throughout the region.

We are the dead, living yet dead in sin, until we meet Jesus, the Giver of Life. Because of Christ’s deep compassion, He touches the death bier of our lives, resurrecting us and filling us with His Life.

In Him, here death and life meet…

“I am the one who brings people back to life, and I am life itself. Those who believe in Me will live even if they die. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe that?” (John 11:25-26 GW)

…and life wins. Eternally! For “God…gives life to the dead.”
(Rom. 4:17 NKJV)

 

LynnMosher (2)_cr 2Bio: At a time of physical upheaval in 2000, Lynn Mosher felt led of the Lord to take up her pen and write. With this new passion, she has embraced her mission to reach others through Christ-honoring literature, encouraging them in their walk and offering comfort through the written word. Lynn lives with her hubby (since 1966) in their Kentucky nest, emptied of three chicklets, and expanded by three giggly grand-chicklets, and an inherited dog. You can find out more about Lynn by visiting her website, lynnmosher.com

CrossReaders Book Review: Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell

CrossReaders Book Review: Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell

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Title: Wishing on Buttercups

Author: Miralee Ferrell

Rating: Five out of Five Stars

About the Book

Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide?

She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has.

Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her.

Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart.

As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?

Review

“Wishing on Buttercups,” the second installment in Miralee Ferrell’s Love Blossoms in Oregon series, opens in August, 1880, shortly after the action of “Blowing on Dandelions.” Quiet Beth Roberts has finally begun to settle into life at the Jacobs’ boardinghouse with her loving but at times imperious Aunt Wilma, and her dreams of pursuing art as a career seem to be coming to fruition. However, beneath the tranquil surface of her carefully-maintained façade lie ripples of distrust and fear waiting to boil over. Years of stigma and deception have convinced her that if anyone knows her intimately, they will reject her, and she “decided early on that hiding her identity would serve her purposes the best.” She has only vague recollections of her past, and although she has always wanted to discover more, she fears that the truth will prove to be more painful than the burden of not knowing. Any sense of peace that Beth feels is quickly disrupted by inquiries about her past or by the feeling that someone may be trying to move beyond the walls she has built around her heart, and that is especially true where fellow boarder Jeffery Tucker is concerned. She doubts that she will ever be able to cultivate the future that she wishes for as she builds a life for herself in Baker City, Oregon.

This second novel provides a successful transition from its predecessor by exploring the lives of several secondary individuals who were introduced in “Blowing on Dandelions” and expanding the character base while also revisiting former characters. The apparent simplicity of the story belies an undercurrent of complex emotions and situations that demonstrate Ferrell’s uncanny ability to parallel contemporary issues facing women today with those of her characters. Her straightforward, modest writing style immediately draws readers in and speaks to the heart.

Although “Wishing on Buttercups” is mostly a character-driven book, the plot contains ample twists to keep readers engaged and invested. Likewise, the characters themselves are exceptionally relatable. They are three-dimensional, with flaws and strengths, and the overarching theme of learning to love oneself speaks to men and women alike. As Christian historical fiction, the novel emits a soothing message of reassurance and faith while encouraging self-acceptance and compassion. Even readers who do not necessarily espouse Christian beliefs or care for romance or historical fiction will find inspiration and delight within Ferrell’s mellifluous prose. “Wishing on Buttercups” can possibly be a stand-alone novel, but it is best read after “Blowing on Dandelions” and will be followed by “Dreaming on Daisies,” which will complete the trilogy. The “AfterWords” section appended to the novel itself offers an author’s note explaining how the story came to be, as well as questions for individual or group discussion and a sneak peak at chapter one of “Dreaming on Daisies.”

[easyazon_link asin=”B00H8FIZQ6″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cross0e2-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Check out Wishing on Buttercups: A Novel (Love Blossoms in Oregon Series) on Amazon![/easyazon_link]

This review was submitted by: Sarah Snider

The Horizontal Life

The Horizontal Life

News spread quickly and the man heard it: Jesus is here! He’s back in Capernaum.

Reclining every day of his life, this man lay flat out on his mat, the mat of his past, present, and future.

Paralysis had not only left this man’s body atrophied but also left his soul feeble. Tired of his immobilized, horizontal mat-life, tired of the bedsores, tired of his burdens, tired of focusing on the ceiling and feet…he wanted to see the Healer. In the flesh.

Jesus had healed others on previous trips to Capernaum, so maybe this would be the time He would heal Mat Man.

“Get me to the house!” Mat Man urged his four faithful friends. So, they picked him up with his mat and headed for the house where Jesus was staying.

When they got there, visitors overflowed out the door. The only route left to the four men was up. Once on the roof, they began taking apart the roof to make an opening and then lowered Mat Man down in the presence of Jesus, coming to rest at His feet.

Although I Lynnified the above a little, the rest of the account in Mark 2 says that Jesus forgave the man’s sins, and then, turned to him and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Mark 2:11 NLT)

So, “the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers.” (Mark 2:12a NLT) Healed! Burdens gone. Illness gone. Past gone.

No more feeble, shaky legs. No more depending on others. No more lying down on his past. No more dirty feet to look at. Standing upright, he walked out carrying his mat of horizontal existence, his mat of disease and depression. He was free!

The man went back to living a vertical life. I’m positive he exuded joy. Can’t you just picture it: the man dancing all the way through town, kicking up his heels, and yelling as loud as possible, “I’m healed! I’m healed! Praise the Lord! I’m healed!”

What about me? What about you? Do we live horizontal, immobilized lives…in our hearts? If so, it can sometimes affect our physical condition. But what about the spiritual side?

What causes us to live horizontal mat-lives?

*Unconfessed sin? Fear? Doubt? Worry? Addictions? Grief? Loss? Unforgiveness or bitterness? Negative attitude? Depression? Discouragement? Dwelling on our past?

Does any of that cause you to have a mat-life?

If I’m not diligent to guard my heart, I know just where to lie down on that stinkin’ mat! If I wrap my fingers around any of these things, or others, and cling to them, I roll out the mat of paralysis and park myself on it.

Jeremiah lamented, “Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed. Then I remember something that fills me with hope. The LORD’s kindness never fails! If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.” (Lam. 3:19-23 CEV)

I have learned that I paralyze myself every time I take my focus off the Lord and place it on myself and/or my circumstances. I end up making myself miserable. Isaiah said to God, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Is. 26:3 NLT)

Ah, yes. That Perfect Peace.
When I draw near to the Lord, sitting at the feet of the Healer of all ills, I find the sweetness of His Life poured out into mine…forgiveness and fullness of joy, strength and peace, comfort and rest, faith and hope.

What paralyzes you? Keeps you down, living a horizontal mat-life? Have you gotten comfy living there? If so, He says to you, “I am the Lord who heals you. Get up. Take up your mat of misery and go back to living an upright life.”

Or are you sitting at the feet of the Healer? “Yet there is one ray of hope: His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day.” (Lam. 3:21-23 TLB)

Have you rolled out the mat-life lately? Whose feet are you focused on?

LynnMosher (2)_cr 2Bio: At a time of physical upheaval in 2000, Lynn Mosher felt led of the Lord to take up her pen and write. With this new passion, she has embraced her mission to reach others through Christ-honoring literature, encouraging them in their walk and offering comfort through the written word. Lynn lives with her hubby (since 1966) in their Kentucky nest, emptied of three chicklets, and expanded by three giggly grand-chicklets, and an inherited dog. You can find out more about Lynn by visiting her website, lynnmosher.com

Book Blast: The Swaddling Clothes by Amber Schamel

Book Blast: The Swaddling Clothes by Amber Schamel

swaddling clothes

The Swaddling Clothes
By Amber Schamel

About the Book

Through the ages, many stories have been told about Mary, Joseph and the birth of the Messiah. Stories of shepherds and sheep, kings, angels, and stables. But there is one story that has never been told. One story that has remained hidden in the fabric of time. The story of The Swaddling Clothes.

Mentioned not once, but several times in the Scriptural text, what is the significance of these special cloths? And how did they make their way into a stable in Bethlehem? From the author that brought you the Days of Messiah series comes a whole new adventure critics are calling “intriguing…thought provoking… a fresh twist on an age old story.”

“I get tired of Bible stories sometimes, but The Swaddling Clothes brings the story to life.”

“Heartwarming… truly inspired. A story you will want to read again and again. Rich details and a suspenseful plot will keep you reading while giving you a glimpse of God’s wonderful power and His amazing love.”

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK


Amber SchamelAmber Schamel is a multi-published author of Christian Historical Fiction. Her passion for history and culture has led her to travel extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. Amber is actively involved in her church and enjoys volunteer work and music ministry. Raised in a family of twelve children and homeschooled throughout her education, she currently resides in the beautiful state of Colorado where she also serves as bookkeeper and marketing director for their family businesses. Find Amber on her blog, or on all the main social media sites.

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CrossReaders Book Review: Wings by Suzanne D. Williams

CrossReaders Book Review: Wings by Suzanne D. Williams

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Title: Wings

Author: Suzanne D. Williams

Rating: Five stars

About the Book

Called from birth to carry the Light of God into a world filled with Darkness, seventeen-year-old Sara Benedict finds the mission this time has changed. This city, this school, is more about her growth. No longer will she function alone, but she needs Angus Finlay to fulfill the prophecies.

Yet there’s something deeper going on behind the scenes, and the harder she tries, the greater the danger seems. Her work of rescue must continue, but this task just might shut off the Light inside her once and for all.

Review

Wings by Suzanne D. Williams is a paranormal romance with lots of symbolism, supernatural happenings, and a strong Christian allegory. Sara Benedict is a seventeen-year old who has been a carrier of the Light of God since she was born. When God tells her that it is time to move then she and her parents and older brother move where ever God is leading Sara. Sara has always worked alone but she was sent to her present location to meet Angus Finlay for she needs his help in fulfilling prophecies. There is a very real and great danger in the new location but Sara still has a job to do but it may mean her loss of the Light. The book description stated that it is “an allegorical look at the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Suzanne is an excellent writer and she did a great job with this book and even though paranormal is not a favorite genre of mine, I did enjoy the book. The characters were so real that I felt as if I were interacting with them which at times left me feeling confused and wondering just what I did believe. The dialogue includes a lot of scripture references mostly from Sara but the rest of the dialogue is typical of teenagers and their parents. The descriptions of all the action scenes were so well written that I could see exactly what was happening but I must say that in some instances I had trouble believing what was happening. The plot is pretty much straight forward until the second half of the book where there are some twists and turns that even add some suspense. It is evident that Suzanne is well founded in her Christian beliefs and does an exemplary job of portraying them in this book.

Even though I do not love the book as indicated by five stars, I gave the book five stars anyway for I did enjoy it and the author did an excellent job with the writing.

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a strong Christian paranormal romance of teenagers that also includes a great deal of allegory.

Thanks to the author, Suzanne D. Williams, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

[easyazon_link asin=”B00IGFCXAQ” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cross0e2-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Check out Wings (Paranormal Romance) on Amazon![/easyazon_link]

This review was submitted by: Deanna Gottreu – please visit her website at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog

[easyazon_cta add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00IGFCXAQ” cloaking=”default” height=”28″ key=”small-light” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”120″]Check out Wings (Paranormal Romance) on Amazon![/easyazon_cta]