In a separate story line, Rachel is almost 40 and works in the cosmetics department in David Jones. Her days are centred around maintaining her fitness and appearance, as well as pleasing the current man in her life. Yet Rachel feels empty. Nothing is quite as satisfying as she feels it should be. Having rejected God many years before, she is frustrated to find herself constantly coming into contact with Christians, even though they are generous and kind.
In Grace in Strange Disguise, the main truth learnt was that God does not promise a perfect, easy life. In fact, his grace is truly found through the challenges that make us rely on him alone. In this book, the main message is that God does not condemn us and there is nothing that can separate from his love, no matter how many regrets we have about the way we have lived and the choices we have made. Dillon uses the story telling method of telling bible truths again in this book, and there are great examples for believers of how this could be used well in sharing with unbelievers who are interested.
We were graciously given this second book by a family member, and both Mr 16 and Ms 14 were very keen to read it as soon as they saw it, having so enjoyed the first one. In fact, Mr 16 grabbed it and read it the whole way home on the flight. My only thought is that like the first book, this one is very female-centric. There is one positive Christian male character, but overall those who have a strong faith or who return to faith are women. We were all very pleased to read this second book and look forward to the third.
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Friday, April 12, Bridge to Haven. Leaving the little one behind she flees into the early morning light. Pastor Ezekiel Freeman is out in the early dawn, as usual, praying as he walks around the town. He feels led to the river area where he discovers the newborn girl. He and his wife, with their son Joshua, foster little baby Abra for the next five years.
When his wife gets sick and dies, little Abra is given to another nearby family who really want her but Abra never gets over the sense of betrayal and lack of trust. Uncertain she is really wanted, she falls for the charm and looks of a older man, who tempts her away to Hollywood to a life of debauchery. In time she ends up with another man who tries to make her into a new woman, Lena Scott, his new creation and to be the next movie star of the s stage. At the same time, Joshua serves in the Korean army and returns to be a carpenter, always hoping and praying, with the rest of the Haven community, that Abra will be found and return found.
But Abra has sunk so deep into her sins and regrets that she is convinced no one can love or forgive her. Rivers makes it clear in her end notes that her inspiration was Ezekiel 16, and she has used some of the same imagery there, a newborn baby abandoned, who runs away from the love she has been shown to sinful living and idolatry. It was reading the end notes that helped me to appreciate a little more what she had done with the story, and lessened my sense of unease that it was female Abra who turned away from God and the love of her family, and male Joshua who was the faithful, patient, godly one trying to care for her.
It felt very similar to Redeeming Love. Rivers does not shy away from real issues, struggles with sin and the real consequences of life choices. So the story has depth and the characters were mostly believable although possibly all a little extremely good or extremely bad. I think this is one of her better ones, the story certainly had my attention for a full day.
Monday, April 8, Lifted. Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life , Sam Allberry How often do you stop and consider what it really means for us that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? We know probably that it matters, and that it matters a great deal. And among Christian believers it can often feel as though it lacks relevance.
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It is a belief we often affirm but rarely consider. I personally have never doubted the facts of the resurrection, and so have probably taken them for granted. What are the benefits to us that Christ has risen from the dead? Allberry examines four areas: assurance, transformation, hope and mission. Starting with assurance , we see that the resurrection assures us of who Jesus is, in fact he is who he says he is. He is the son of God, he is the Christ, he is the Saviour.
In addition, the resurrection assures us of what Jesus has done: his death has paid for our sin. It is trying to overthrow God. It is an unwelcome intruder in our world, because we all know somehow that we are not meant to face death. Transformation means that we are now alive in Christ and dead to sin, yet we live with the reality of still being sinful.
There is a battle between the old way and the new way, one that we continue to fight throughout our life. Allberry spent some time in this chapter looking at the new resurrection body and what we can look forward to. Through the promises of 1 Corinthians 15 we see we will have imperishable, honourable, glorious, and supernatural bodies. In addition, there is a resurrection hope in Romans 8 promising that even creation has something to anticipate. Finally Allberry turns to mission.
He examines how Jesus is exalted and is therefore Lord. He is also judge of all the world, because he loves and cares for us all, and is given that authority by God the Father. At under pages, this is a concise, eminently readable book that packs a punch. There are helpful illustrations scattered throughout and he has worked hard to make it accessible for all readers.
Labels: books - Christian , books - non-fiction. Jonasson has brought the hijinks of Allan Karlsson right up to date and inserted him straight into the current political climate. The novel opens with him and Julius in Bali, living off the proceeds found in the previous book.
However, the money is fast running out and Julius is trying to establish some new business ventures, all as dodgy as those he got up to previously. A flat back object with a half-eaten apple on one side, and on the other a screen that lit up when you touched it … The tablet could show what was going on in the world, and what had already gone on, and it it verged on showing what was about to happen. Depending on where you touched, up came pictures and videos of all imaginable sorts.
And some unimaginable ones. This gives Jonasson a way to comment on how news and reporting works on the internet and the variety of stories and sources that can be found there. Their flare gets the attention of the vessel Honor and Strength , returning to North Korea in possession of some enriched uranium, secreted on board via contacts in Madagascar.
They are picked up by the vessel when the captain realises they have to react or international suspicions will be aroused. Allan manages to convince the captain and later Kim Jong-un that he is a nuclear expert after all he was evolved in the creation of the atomic bomb in the s and promises to help out. Of course, extricating themselves from such a promise with their lives intact requires some creative thought and help from the Swedish UN representative.
Allan and Julius then find themselves in the USA, meeting President Trump and deciding how to manage the problem of the uranium now in their possession. In time, they move back to Europe and Angela Merkel ends up involved as well. The silliness continues throughout, with the calm and light-headed Allan continually sorting out their troubles with little to no effort.
The first book made numerous comments about historical episodes over the last century. In this book, Jonasson is clearly wants to use current world leaders as fodder for amusement. As some world leaders at the moment are easy to satirise and use in this way, he succeeds. Monumental lack of humor and self awareness against monumental lack of humour and self-awareness. All that would be missing was Donald Trump as a mediator. It would also make it easy if you had little respect for the current leaders of some nations.
I found myself wondering at which point libel could come into play, but presumably the clear note at the beginning that this is made up covers such things. Jonasson is certainly using fiction as a method of commenting on world politics, the mess much of it is, and the questionable decisions and character of national leaders. I did enjoy the humour and the spin he put on things, and at the same time was obviously aware of the message he was trying to get though. Monday, April 1, Uprooted. Uprooted is a magic fairytale style story about a woman who is chosen to live alongside the Dragon a wizard.
Every 10 years the Dragon chooses a new woman to live in his castle, and not surprisingly rumours abound about what she is there for. All their lives Agnieszka and Kasia have been deep friends, even knowing that Kasia is likely to be chosen and taken away. They live on the edge of the dark and menacing Wood, which malevolently grows wider each year, taking life and destroying lives with violent force.
When the day of the choosing comes, surprise abounds as gorgeous, talented Kasia is not chosen, but plain, dull, always getting into scrapes, Agnieszka is. The Dragon turns out to be very different from rumour, as he alone seems to be stopping the Wood fully taking over the whole region. His spells and magic have kept things under control for hundreds of years. Now Agnieszka is drawn into his world. The magic is creative and interesting, and the characters have depth and intrigue. The overall plot deals with pride, desire, and the results of previous errors and sin. Both human folly and wisdom are displayed, making it a clever, captivating, insightful story.
There is one mild love scene, and it would be suitable for young adults and up. Very good. Posted by Wendy 3 comments Links to this post. Labels: books - fiction , books - young adult fiction. Friday, March 29, And the Shofar Blew. Paul Hudson is a keen young pastor, excited about preaching the word of God and bringing people to saving faith. Recently graduated from bible college, with his wife Eunice and infant son Timothy, he is called by the small and dying congregation at Centreville Christian Church to replace their beloved ill pastor who has faithfully served for over 40 years.
Paul and Eunice are thrilled and after prayer and consideration take up the post moving across the country. Things are great in the beginning: Paul builds a youth group, takes time to get to know locals and preaches faithfully. Eunice joyfully leads the singing with her extensive music gifts and meets with elderly congregation members. Paul, however, is driven to succeed and to prove himself to his father who runs a mega church, who had no time for Paul when he was younger, and is never pleased with him no matter what he does.
In time, Paul starts chafing against the older elders he has inherited and their grumbles about the way he is changing things. These are faithful godly men, somewhat set in their ways, but also prayerful and wise. Paul feels constantly questioned and challenged, they feel unheard and ignored. In time, the desire for a large church and a larger building mean that Paul has to cut things people no longer want to hear. The gospel becomes watered down. Big donors are chased regardless of their belief. New elders are appointed without ensuring they are truly men of faith. Meanwhile, Eunice is faithfully standing by her husband, but increasingly concerned about his change of direction and behaviour.
Once he had time for his family, but now they always come last. He counsels everyone in his congregation with love and patience except his wife and son, with whom he is abrupt and harsh. Some of the most encouraging characters are the elder Samuel and his wife Abby. Married about 60 years they encourage each other to godly living and prayer, and also have fun together. Samuel prays constantly for Paul over the whole 15 years, first with eager joy and expectation, then with disappointment and later pleading with God to change him and bring him to repentance.
This example of long term prayer in the face of changing circumstances, but a reliance on a sovereign God is very edifying. Paul stops listening to her opinion, and changes her involvement at church.
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She is aware of the damage he is causing to their son. Both challenging and encouraging at the same time. Labels: books - Christian , books - fiction , ministry , ministry wife. Monday, March 25, Parenting First Aid. Labels: books - Christian , books - parenting , New Growth Press , parenting. Friday, March 22, Mansfield Park. As per usual, its better than the movie adaptation, with a lot more detail and depth to characters.
Young Miss Fanny Price is one of nine children born to her poor parents at Portsmouth. The mother has two sisters who married much better, one is now Lady of Mansfield Park Lady Bertram and the other is wife of the local rector Mrs Norris. It strikes these two families that perhaps they should do something to support their dear sister, so an offer is made to take on one of her children and bring them up at Mansfield. Poor Miss Price, at age 10, is chosen, and uprooted from the only family she has known and transported to Mansfield.
Being a shy, sensitive creature, she struggles with terrible homesickness, and the family are a little indifferent to her struggles. Sir Thomas seems severe, Lady Bertram kind but vague and disinterested, Aunt Norris is mean, eldest son Tom indifferent, and sisters Maria and Julia are proud and dismissive. Fast forward seven years and siblings Mr and Miss Crawford come to the area. They are fun, modern and keen to ingratiate themselves into the household at Mansfield.
As the uncle is away in Antigua on business, the youngsters are pretty much left to their own devices and a fair amount of mischief is achieved. Fanny looks on with increasing agitation as Edmund develops clear feelings for Miss Crawford, while Mr Crawford plays with the hearts of the girls. It is not always clear exactly what is going on with the Crawfords, sometimes they seem to be using the family as sport, other times their friendship and affections seem genuine. Fanny is the only one never taken in by it all again different in the movie version I saw.
Austen makes some very insightful observations about people and circumstances in this book, which I enjoyed, about topics such as parenting, clergy and society, many of which are still valid today. An enjoyable read. Monday, March 18, Tying Their Shoes. Where do you turn to consider the issues and questions that face a new parent? Husband and I have the privilege of having some couples around for a chat before their first child arrives, usually those we have also helped prepare for marriage.
We cover various topics, including your identity as mum and dad, your relationship with God, your relationship with each other and some practical things to consider. For while there are numerous books covering every aspect and stage of parenting, there are less written about preparing for parenthood. Not pregnancy and birth many exist on that topic as well!
Rob and Stephanie Green authors of Tying the Knot have sought to redress that and have published a scripturally saturated guide for impending parents. They cover a mix of theological concepts, principles and practical application in a relatively short book that will give expecting couples insight, wisdom, things to ponder and decisions to make going forward. I say couples intentionally, and even more specifically, I mean committed Christian couples. While they mention it can be applied to single parents, and there is an explanation of the gospel at the back, I would only recommend this to Christian couples.
I totally agree that we want to aim high with the application of biblical principles in life and parenting, however I suspect some may feel burdened at the expectation of spiritual maturity suggested. The exercises particularly assume a level of regular prayer and biblical literacy that some may not be comfortable with. I am not suggesting that is a problem by any means; if anything it models a goal to aim for.
Yet, often unfortunately, parenting is a time of comparison where people question their ability. Having said that, there is solid wisdom found within these pages, all addressing aspects of pregnancy, birth and the early years of parenting, and much for couples to benefit from if they are keen to do it together. Starting with the idea of identity, they remind impending parents that being a parent does not change your core identity, because first and foremost you are a child of God, redeemed and forgiven.
They encourage couples to prioritise their marriage, to the extent that if they think they need to address certain issues they should stop reading this book and get help first. Women have many choices to make for birth: natural of epidural, MD or midwife, hospital or home, bed or water. There are many different options from which to choose, and no option is more godly than another. Parents are encouraged to think about what the goals of parenting actually are, and they frame it as glorifying God by encouraging children to love and worship God above all else.
I particularly appreciated the chapter on the blessing of parenting, identifying that every child is an image bearer of God, the Lord created each child the way they are, and God gives every child their gifts, abilities and limitations. They consider the blessings of infancy, toddlers and the early school years, and then then some of the blessings and realities of parenting children with physical and mental challenges. A resource like this provides solid input for couples to discuss together. While there are some examples throughout, the real value is found in the principles given, which each couple will then need to figure out how to apply to their own situation.
Recommended reading for those looking forward to impending parenthood. I received an e-copy of this book from New Growth Press in exchange for an honest review. Labels: books - parenting , New Growth Press. Friday, March 15, Nancy Mitford. I decided to try Nancy Mitford after having heard vague references to her for years, most recently in my reread of The Uncommon Reader.
Spanning the late s through to WWII, it charts the lives of the Radlett family told through the narrative voice of their niece, Fanny. Harsh Uncle Matthew presides over Alconleigh with his vague, gentle wife Sadie and their numerous children. Fanny has been raised by her Aunt Emily, but spends holidays with the Radletts.
Her own parents have been not been on the scene, her mother moving from man to man and hence called Bolter by the rest of the family. It also requires some ability to read French, or in my case, to use google translate while reading the iBook much easier! I enjoyed my time in it. Part 1 centres on Polly Hampton, only beloved child of Lord and Lady Montdore, one of the richest families in England.
This book had some details of how Fanny met her husband Alfred, but really the details here are about Polly, who shows no interest in love at all to the despair of her mother. Until, horror of horrors, as soon her aunt is dead and buried, she reveals an enduring love for her uncle Boy Dougdale. This is flippantly dismissed as a bit of a joke throughout the book, but in our current climate adds a definite feeling of distaste and unease that one assumes was not intended by the author.
In Part 2 the Montdores have found the new heir, Cedric, a distant family member, who they feared would be a provincial hick from Canada, but is in fact a stylish, gay man from Paris, who completely turns their lives upside down. The story gets even odder from this point. What was surprising was how quickly each novel finished. They both meandered for hundreds of pages and then ended quickly and abruptly almost as if she got sick of writing them.
There is no doubt that Mitford wrote quite devastating critiques of English aristocracy, and her turn of phrase, all through the narrator Fanny, is light, cheerful, gossipy and interesting. Monday, March 11, The Library Book. It was as if it were captured here, collected here, and in all libraries — and not only my time, my life, but all human time as well. In the library, time is dammed up — not just stopped but saved.
The library is a gathering pool of narratives and of the people who come to find them. It is where we can glimpse immortality; in the library, we can live forever. One of the few places homeless people are welcomed, given access to computers and the Internet, and permitted to dally all day unless they act out is a public library. Libraries have become a de facto community centre for the homeless across the globe. Many librarians have told me they considered this the defining question facing libraries right now So there are many details about how the fire spread, the damage done and the investigations that followed.
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What made you want to look up musing? Please tell us where you read or heard it including the quote, if possible. Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Getting a handle on some usage advice. Some parents can act like animals or machines. You all would not have guessed some of these. Some imitative words are more surprising than others. How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts.
The awkward case of 'his or her'. Test your knowledge of words related to the season of longer days and vacations. Test your vocabulary with our question quiz! Listen to the words and spell through all three levels. Examples of musing in a Sentence Adjective he was clearly in a musing mood, and did not feel like talking just then. Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rhodes opened her blue notebook, a journal of jokes and random musings.
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