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Book Review: Keeping Christmas

51esbg8u0gL__SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Keeping Christmas

Author: Dan Walsh

Paperback: 224 Pages

Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2015)

Blurb:

Nothing is more beautiful than family For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it’s looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can’t bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure, the ornaments were strange-looking–some were downright ugly–but they were tradition. With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan’s only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . .

Meet the Author:

Dan-full-shot-for-web1Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift and The Restoration Series with Gary Smalley. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for the RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he’s busy researching and writing his next novel.

Connect with him!

 

My Review:

This book by Dan Walsh will put you in the mood for the Christmas season. This book is short enough for anyone’s busy holiday schedule, but jam-packed with emotion, hope, and finally joy. This story will certainly touch everyone but, especially those who understand what it’s like to have an empty nest this season. The need to keep up tradition even without loved ones at home plays a major role in this book. This is a fantastic story all about family and love. I highly recommend you read this book to start off your Christmas.

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Revell bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Christmas Joy Ride

51qFJxKCfzL__SX321_BO1,204,203,200_The Christmas Joy Ride

Author: Melody Carlson

Paperback: 176 Pages

Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2015)

Blurb:

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix–in the dead of winter, no less–the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off with Joy toward Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride–one that could derail the whole venture.

Meet the Author:

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books, including the Dating Games series, the Life at Kingston High series, Double Take, A Simple Song, and My Amish Boyfriend. She has received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon.

Visit her website here!

My Review:

The cover of this book was enough to tease me into loving this book! Melody Carlson never disappoints me with anything she writes. I bet her shopping lists would be interesting to read. She has such a way of writing that just makes you want to crawl into the book. Once you open this book beware that you will not be able to put it down until you finish. The chapters are short so it makes for a pleasant way to spend your free time. This book really makes you think how wonderful the world would be if there was more people like Joy, ready to give instead of receive. All Joy wants to do is share some love and Christmas cheer. Miranda is a perfect companion given her many losses, this trip breathes new hope and joy into her. It is a Holiday MUST read!

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Revell bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

Do You Trust Me?

In Biblical times Nazareth was a small agricultural town settled by a few dozen families. This town is not mentioned in the Old Testament since it is an insignificant village. Nazareth was isolated in biblical times because no trade routes ran through the city and therefore had no economic value. Nazareth was not included in the 45 cities of the Galilee that mentioned by Josephus the historian and its name is not included in the 63 towns of Galilee mentioned in the Talmud. It was not expected to have a prophet, a king, or a priest to ever come out of Nazareth.

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. -John 1:46

The most momentous event of all human history involved some of the people in Nazareth. Nazareth may have been a small town with a small population, but it also had some skilled craftsmen whose shops were found in the marketplace such as a potter, a weaver, a dyer, a blacksmith, and a carpenter. The carpenter was a man named Joseph and he was engaged to a young girl named Mary.

“The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” – Luke 1:28

Mary was not a perfect person!

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” – Luke 1:47-49

Mary was a sinner like all of us, and she admitted her low estate and her need for God’s gracious salvation. Mary responded enthusiastically to His offer of forgiveness.  She lived with a sense of God’s presence in her life.

Mary was still afraid even though she knew God.

Mary was scared and shocked when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.

“Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”- Luke 1:29-33

And just like many of us do, she questioned how this might be possible.

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”- Luke 1:34

And Gabriel explained the supernatural phenomenon that would be accomplished

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God” – Luke 1:35

This was unbelievable, a miracle that had never happened in human history. However, it wasn’t impossible since it could be accomplished by the power of God.

This is where we see Mary’s trust in God.

This was Mary’s time to either resist God’s will, or to become a willing servant through whom God could carry out His plan. This decision was a matter of true trust!

This was a major honor!

But, this decision to trust God was not a simple one. Do you think anybody would really believe that this child was conceived by the Holy Spirit? Don’t you think more people would conclude that Mary was covering up how she was actually with some Roman soldier? The Roman district administrative center was only four miles northwest of Nazareth in Sepphoris, and Roman soldiers were often seen in the streets of Nazareth. Do you think others might think that Mary and Joseph might have gone too far in their relationship with each other? Either way, there was still a chance that Mary would be stoned for the sin that others would believe that she had committed.

And don’t forget a about Joseph.

He would know that he was not responsible for Mary’s condition. Would he still be willing to marry her? And what about the baby? Would he not carry the stigma of illegitimacy with him throughout his entire life? In this moment all of Mary’s dreams for the future flashed before her mind, and she could see every one of them shattered.

These questions boil down to one thing for Mary.

“Can I trust God to work out every problem I encounter if I submit myself to His will?”

Mary had reveled in her warm personal relationship with her Lord, but now He was asking for more. He was asking her to face the greatest question in life for a believer walking in fellowship with him.

“Mary, do you really trust me?”

Mary was a woman who mediates because twice we are told that she kept certain things and pondered them in her heart.

It didn’t take her long to make up her mind.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” -Luke 1:38

Her decision was to submit to God’s will and to trust Him with the consequences. Submission to God’s will almost always involve some risk, but God has promised to work all the details together for good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who  have been called according to his purpose.”-Romans 8:28

God may be asking you the same question He asked Mary: “Do you really trust me?”

Trust is not an easy and automatic response. It needs to be developed, particularly with those who have been deeply hurt. We can help others build a stronger trust in us by our own deepening commitment to the will of God. We must learn to consult the Lord about every decision we make. We need to spend time in prayer to seek His wisdom, search his Word for his principles to guide us, and wait for the assurances of His peace. And if there is an unquestionable desire to do God’s will alone, regardless of our own personal preferences, He will protect us from making grievous mistakes.

We know God asked Mary to trust him and despite all her fears she did.

Listen…

Is God asking you to trust him?

Book review: The Christmas Cat

The Christmas Cat

Author: Melody Carlson

Hardcover: 176 pages

Publisher: Revell (September 9, 2014)

Book Description:

After years abroad, Garrison Brown finds himself at the home of his beloved grandmother who has just passed away. He must sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While he hopes to dispense with the task quickly–especially since he is severely allergic to cats–his grandmother’s instructions don’t allow for speed. She has left some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends.

Can he match the cats with the perfect new owners? And is it possible that he might meet his own match along the way?

Meet the Author:

Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 150 books for readers of all ages, from adult women to teens to children. She and her husband, Chris, make their home in Sisters, Oregon. They have two grown sons and a granddaughter.

Visit her website here!

My Review:

This is a short book under 200 pages, but so worth it. Those who enjoy heartwarming, Christmas fiction and cats will love this book. You’ll love this book even if your not a cat lover! This book is a bit hard to get into, but it get better and once your into it your going to be hooked. The characters in this book are well rounded and loveable. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary fiction. A great Christmas read!

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Revell book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

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