The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by: Joanne Bischof

Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain, #1)Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And here he stood, wondering why God had seen fit to bless a man such as him. One who had spent his life looking for a way out or a reason why. Always wondering and questioning why the Lord had picked him to live this silent life. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Breathe. How to put in words such a beautiful prose of redemption, love, faithfulness and community. Everything you ache for is expressed in this love story. It is not a love story between a man and woman but of God’s faithfulness. The goodness of God expressed in faithfulness that is not forced but accepted.

Set after the civil war, Aven an Irish widow, who has set sail from Norway to Virginia. In correspondence with her husband Ben’s aunt Dorthea who has urged Aven to come to Virginia to care for her young nephews. Aven is eager to start over. However, when she arrives, she is surprised that the young nephews are not young boys as Dorthea led her to believe but young men. Aven also discovers that Dorthea has died. Not knowing what to do and where to turn. The eldest of the nephews Jorgan encourages Aven to make her home with Jorgan and his two brothers. That she would be safe and they would support her with whatever she decides to do. To help them care for their orchard and land or find work elsewhere.

Aven is captured by her new family. Each of the characters are characterized by vulnerability and the hardness of life. Thor who is deaf and suffers in silent pain of alcoholism. Haakon the youngest brother who struggles with his own demons.

The two brothers Thor and Haakon fall in love with Aven and the tension becomes thick as the brothers struggle to make their feelings known. Aven has her own struggles as she finds the courage to love again.

There is tension thru out with contrasting characters and the struggles of love and to be heard. Thor being deaf was given great care in how he was expressed, how he was feeling from his fear to what he truly cared about. Contrasted with his brother, who lived in shame of his mother’s death and not living up to expectations. Aven in the middle as she loved one as a brother and the other to what her soul needed. I absolutely loved this and I can’t wait for the next one.

A Special Thank You to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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From Eden to Bethlehem: An Animals Primer by: Danielle Hitchen

From Eden to Bethlehem: An Animals PrimerFrom Eden to Bethlehem: An Animals Primer by Danielle Hitchen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All children love animals and with that love of animals, you can share with your child the love of God. From the snake to the camel, from Eden to Bethlehem, a short scripture reading with the name of the animal included followed by a beautiful illustration. I love sharing these books with my grandchildren as it gives us a special moment together. It also gives opportunity to teach about the love of God. A love that is shared! Highly recommend.

A Special Thank you to Harvest House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Let There Be Light: An Opposites Primer by: Danielle Hitchen

Let There Be Light: An Opposites PrimerLet There Be Light: An Opposites Primer by Danielle Hitchen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic way of teaching your small ones the opposites in creation. Learning about what God has done in contrasting words brings the gospel to the heart of your toddler. I have purchased these books for my grandchildren and will continue to do so as they are a great tool to know who God is and what he has done.

A great book to share with your children.

A Special Thank you to Harvest House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Gift for All People by: Max Lucado

The Gift for All PeopleThe Gift for All People by Max Lucado
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Had Jesus been forced to nail himself to the cross, he would have done it. For it was not the soldiers who killed him, nor the screams of the mob; it was his devotion to us. So call it what you wish: An act of grace. A plan of redemption. A martyr’s sacrifice. But whatever you call it, don’t call it an accident. It was anything but that.

A small devotion of the gifts we have in Christ. The gifts of mercy, grace, salvation and of himself. Each short chapter reminds us how he pursues us even when we don’t recognize him. It also serves as a reminder of the goodness of God that we can be so blind to.

I am very thankful for this book and how it ministers to the weary.

A Special Thank you to WaterBrook & Multnomah and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises (31 Day Devotional’s for Life) by: Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

Doubt: Trusting God's Promises (31-Day Devotionals for Life)Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strength does not come from pride or narcissism. It comes from humility and trust.

A devotional on doubt that leads to the arms of Christ. All of us whether we follow Christ or not have doubts. Believe it or not, doubt can increase your faith as you cling to the promises of Christ. However, when we put ourselves in isolation or let bitterness or self-indulgence settle in, we grow further from Christ. This devotional explains what doubt is and how we can bring our doubt to a stronger faith where we experience the grace of God. In experiencing the grace of God, we can share that grace with others.

I appreciated the fact that faith doesn’t have to say that everything will work out the way I hope for it to but what we can say instead how might God chose to work. Many times I see God working more in my life when it doesn’t work out the way I want it to. When I didn’t get that job, or that opportunity. It makes me now think that the Lord may have someone better than myself or that Lord is teaching me something or something better is coming. Faith is about trust not about what you receive. Grace is what you receive.

Fitzpatrick is transparent in her teaching and always showing others that Jesus is better.

A Special Thank You to P & R Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Send Down the Rain by: Charles Martin

Send Down the RainSend Down the Rain by Charles Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The woman hadn’t let her guard down in a long time. I’d been there. You can kill my body and you’d be doing me a favor, but kill my soul and there’s no remedy for the pain. And when you’re in that place, and the pain is real bad, and you’ve been leaning into the thing causing it so long that you don’t know how to do anything other than lean, hope and hopelessness blur and you lose sight of who’s trying to hurt you and who’s trying to help. Sometimes you need somebody to stand between you and the sharp thing that hurts. To lean for you.

The 3 R’s- Rescue, Reconciliation, and Redemption always spells out sacrifice. The story of one man and those that are impacted him whether they know it or not.

Joseph has isolated himself in mountain cabin. Running from evil, the pain of a broken heart. He rescues a mother and her two children as they are running from a Mexican drug lord. Here illegally, her only option is to run. It helping them from his mountain home to Florida, that he is compelled to the beach where he finds his childhood sweetheart Allie. Allie has just lost her second husband in a horrific crash. Her first husband was Joseph’s brother Bobby who is now a State Senator. Together they piece the broken parts of their life. Each learning to trust the other. To find the innocence they once had.

Thru the narration, Allie and Joseph had difficult childhoods that they were drawn to each other as friends. When Bobby was drafted to Vietnam, Joseph’s mother had asked him to take his brother to Canada. Joseph left Allie behind with a promise to return. Upon entering the military and protecting his own brother, he did several tours that did him emotionally and physically. Upon coming back, he found his Allie married to his brother and to heal his broken heart he started many ventures. He also started to listen to Suzy on the radio. Suzy spoke to his soul as she too was hurting from the Vietnam war. She had lost a father she never knew.

A crescendo of fate that brought redemption thru sacrifice. Charles Martin is so good in communicating the broken heart. How they find each other and heal from each other. With Joseph, I felt he was a contradiction in his retaliation with his adopted family, however, he somewhat paints a picture of the condition of man and the gospel. Not a full picture but the need of the gospel. Of forgiveness and the value of others. What love really means in sacrifice. In the novels I have read so far, Martin hardly mentions God, salvation but his words hit home with our condition for something more. Which always leads me to wanting to read more of Charles of Martin.

A Special Thank You to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Gospel Comes With a House Key by: Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

The Gospel Comes with a House KeyThe Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sanctification is work, not an act. We grow in sanctification over a lifetime in union with Christ, of denying ourselves, of taking up the cross, of following Christ. We grow in knowledge of God when we read our bible in the way God intends – as an inerrant, inspired, authoritative, unified revelation. Image-bearing the knowledge of God means that we lean into the cross and not ourselves. There is always a battle between cross carrying and doing what feels best to us. Hospitality is a sanctification at work.

Rosairia Butterfield and her family practice radical hospitality. They budget for it, they plan for it, and they are intentional about it. It is a way of practicing and displaying the gospel. I would not call this text a resource, I think it way more than that but a testimony of the power of God and blessing of hospitality. Hospitality is not easy and many times it is messy. Butterfield centers her family practice in the friendship of a neighbor that was later busted for meth lab. Her neighbor kept to himself and way from the Butterfield, however, they developed a friendship in spite of that. They found common ground in a dog. There was no bible pounding but an invitation. There was no condemnation but there was compassion. How many times when we watch the news and we think or say out loud, they deserve to go to jail and to throw away the key. The Butterfield believe everyone should know the gospel – the Good news of Christ.

There were two chapters that impacted me in this much needed study of hospitality. One was on the care of her mother as she was in hospice. Her mother a proud atheist and a strong feminist always thought of Rosaria of being weak. It is those very words that her mother begin to receive Christ. In our weakness, (in death, sin, our depression)we can lean into Christ for his strength. Dying she realized her weakness. It was there all along but death has a way of confronting you with that weakness. This chapter had me in tears. It was tender and honest and I appreciated Rosaria sharing it with her readers. Rosaria also shared about her past. Growing up in her family, her life in LBQT and the impact LBQT has on hospitality. It can put many Christians to shame.

The other chapter was on Judas. There is a Judas hidden among us and could be us. Judas is only found in the church. An environment that is ripe for Judas is consumerism. Judas thought himself to more merciful than God. That Christ had failed him. “He missed the core lesson, a heart broken by Jesus asks the Lord to make him godly, not bless his natural desires. A heart broken by Jesus prays, Lord make me yours, not Lord, give me what I want.”

There are many things that keep us from hospitality. Fear and to keep the status quo. Butterfield expresses the dynamic of family. The gender roles and how they maintain a healthy environment for hospitality. I think it is important that before hospitality can be expressed outside the home, we must be practicing inside the home. Hospitality is a family effort and will not work if the family is not on the same page. Hospitality is a mission that we all can do. If you are in family that would not practice this, you can practice hospitality in other ways. Butterfield does stress a counterfeit hospitality vs a Godly hospitality.

I highly recommend all Christians read this because hospitality is the gospel. We see people as made in the image of God practicing hospitality. We do not think better of ourselves practicing hospitality, and we pursue the heart of God in hospitality. A nearness of God.

A Special Thank You to Crossway Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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