Saturday, December 9, 2017
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. Luke 2:41-42, NKJV.
I have to admit I haven't given much thought to Joseph, Mary's espoused husband and Jesus's stepfather. I've probably paid more attention to the donkey who gave Mary a ride to Bethlehem.
We've been studying Joseph in our weekly Bible study at church, and one thing that's become pretty obvious--God did pay attention to who he chose to be Jesus's earthly father. Joseph was a pretty amazing man.
He was a man who paid attention to the Jewish laws and customs. He took his family to Jerusalem every year for the passover, and he was very much aware of the laws concerning betrothals and marriage.
He also obeyed the laws of the local gendarmes--otherwise he wouldn't have been headed for Bethlehem at such an awkward time.
He was a carpenter. Now, there wasn't a lot of wood to spare in Israel. Most houses were built with rocks or bricks. They didn't have a lot of wood furniture. Most Jews slept on the floor, but the wealthier slept on pallets or wooden beds. Tables were only about eighteen inches high, and diners leaned on their elbows or pillows and ate with the free hand. Chairs, again, were for the wealthier. Doors were made of wood, though. Apparently Joseph knew enough about the fine art of carving and finishing wood to earn a living at it.
He taught the Son of God the trade he'd been taught, probably sharing bits of personal and professional wisdom as they worked.
Most of all, he was a man of compassion. When Mary told him she was pregnant, he didn't want to have her stoned (as was definitely his responsibility). Instead, he tried to think of a way he could divorce her without it resulting in her probable death or at least total ostracism by her friends, family, and community. Joseph knew the baby wasn't his.
But! He was also a man who believed in and listened to God! When he found out this was the Son of God, he was in awe. He took Mary into his home, making her his wife. Even if a public celebration wasn't held, a man could take a woman into his home and announce she was his wife--and that made it official. Or maybe they just went ahead with the ceremony--the Bible doesn't really say. It just says "he took to him his wife."
Thank You, God, for the care You took in finding just the right earthly father for Your Son.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
When Celebrate Lit Publishing decided to put together a book of hope for the holidays, they chose some excellent authors. This trio of Christmas novellas is a prize! All three are Christian historical romance, one set in the old west and the other two in World War II.
The first one, Picking a Bride for Paul, is a sweet-and-sour hit. Paul Baker needs a wife. He just can't keep up with his mother's beautiful house and all the ranch work since his mom passed away, so he decides to go with one of those mail-order brides. He needs help selecting one, though, and who best to help but his best friend, Theodora (Teddy) Love. Teddy has worked alongside him for years, helping with the cattle, haying, and so forth. She's not one for housework and cooking. However--this presents quite a dilemma for Teddy, who has been awakened to the fact that she's actually more than a little attracted to her best friend.
The second novella is Typhoon Prompting by Terri Wangard. She's becoming pretty well-known and popular for her WWII books, and this one is a prequel for her full-length novel Wheresoever They May Be. I've become pretty fond of this popular genre, and Terri is one of the reasons--she's one whale of a writer. This one centers around the life of one destroyer seaman, Jerry Collier. He's stationed in the south Pacific onboard the Tabberer. In a Typhoon, no less. Appetites (and sometimes lunches) go south on their tossing ship. Jerry's got a girlfriend, Evelyn, who has a job as a welder. She writes long, upbeat letters, and last time they were in a port for a few days, a whole packet of them arrived. Jerry isn't interested in marriage--sweet girls turned into nags, and noisy, demanding babies start arriving in no time at all.
The third book is A Doctor in the House by Linda Shenton Matchett. This one is also a WWII story, this time set in England. Emma O'Sullivan is a woman doctor sent to set up and manage a hospital for the war wounded in an English Lord's huge home. Archie Heron is less than thrilled to have his house overrun by a bunch of Americans, and even less enthused over Major O'Sullivan and her pushy ways. He knows a few equally pushy big-wigs, though, and he will see to it that she's sent back to where she belongs. But that better happen soon, because she's taking over his dreams and distracting his work.
Three novellas in one Christmas-card lovely cover. Go for it. Amazon.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but the review opinions and evaluations are my own.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Don't you love a good mystery? I have to say I do, and this qualifies! This is actually Book No. 6 in the Maine Justice series, and reading it made me want to go back and read Books 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5!
The last thing Captain Harvey Larson of the Portland, Maine, police department wants is a play-acting murder mystery competition, as if their station (and the one they would compete with) didn't already have enough to do, but Mayor Jill Weymouth insists it would be great PR. However, the police chief, Mike Browning, agrees with her, and so it begins.
Trouble is, it begins with a bigger bang than intended. The dead body is, well, dead. Besides which, Harvey also has a pretty serious sexual harassment case in his department to look into. Talk about timely!
Whew. Already it's looking more than a little hairy. Get the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble before anything worse happens.
I was given a free copy of this book by the author. The review and evaluation are my own.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
If this young romance doesn't touch your heart, I think you need to run--oops, no, walk or drive--to the nearest cardiologist, because there is something wrong with your ticker.
Emie is the child of a manipulative and sadistic father and a placating mother in the superstitious Virginia hill country. When her father promises her to the town bully (and son of the local preacher), Charlie, Emie said no. Not that it made any difference. And when that intended brutally rapes her just after her eighth grade graduation, Emie's father blames her for shaming the family. Even when the doctor and sheriff corroborate her story.
Ernest, Emie's brother, and Rudy, one of her schoolmates, support her, and Ernest takes her to a non-related aunt (Auntie Ada) to live. Ada welcomes her with open arms. Ernest brings her a puppy who will grow up to be her protector, he hopes. Ernest and Rudy come by almost daily, and gradually she heals in mind and body.
Danger lurks from Charlie, who is now out of jail, breathing threats because she'd sworn he was the culprit. If she won't change her story ....
Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Come of age with this torn, innocent girl.
I received a free copy of this book from the author, but the opinions and evaluations are my own.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I know, you've heard me say this way too many times already--but I love a good Biblical fiction, and this one is.
Adah makes perfume. She doesn't have a clue how to make a wall--but when Nehemiah shows up in Jerusalem wanting volunteers, she finds herself blurting out that her father's sonless family will be represented among those who will build. She, her twin sister Judith, her blind mother, and her elderly father. None of them know any masonry, but they are determined.
Adah's mother sends her and her sister after a recluse called Talem, a man who lives in a cave and seems to be a tangled and tormented man since his wife was gone. Othniel, a younger son of another man, will help. After some convincing, Talem not only leads their efforts but also brings two brothers to help.
They battle Samaritans and Ammonites who do not believe Artaxerxes has really granted them leave to build. They also fight discouragement,drought, and hunger. What will be the breaking point?
Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I received a free copy of this book from the author, who in no way influenced my review or evaluation.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
This is a futuristic fiction that should raise the hair on the back of your head. Linda Wood Rondeau has created a story about what could actually be the aim of some people in this world: Everybody exactly the same--no ethnicity, no religion, no choices. Children removed from the home at an early age and educated (read "indoctrinated") by the United Earth Government. People euthanized at the pleasure of corrupt politicians. Rampant pornography. Marriage outlawed. Memes created from aborted illegal pregnancies for slave-like service. What's not to hate?
The only hope for freedom seems to come from defectors in the land outside the United Earth perimeters, the outworld.
One man is rising to the highest power on earth, Edwin Rowlands. Disgustingly corrupt in every way on the inside, he exuded charm on the exterior. He's still ruled by his dead father, an equally disreputable despot. His second is an odd choice, Ahmed Fared. Ahmed is adopted brother to a humble outsider, Jacob Goodayle. Jacob is a dreamer, a Christ-follower aiming for a world of freedom and real equality, rising also to a position of power.
Rowlands intends to execute everyone who opposes him, even his intimate, Christine, if she won't follow his dictates. And he'll probably succeed if no one stops him. Assassination? Blackmail? Bribery? What will work?
Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I received a free copy of this book from the author; however, opinions and evaluations expressed are my own.
Monday, November 13, 2017
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8, NKJV.
I smile on the outside, but inside I know--I flunked the course again. Ever felt that way?
Oh, we are so very human.
Not that this is a good excuse.
Nope, it's just a fact. We all mess up on a regular basis. Just when we think we've got some particular bad habit licked, something triggers yet another dive into the depths.
But don't despair--God has this. Grab His hand and rise back up again.
Sometimes I think we're not God's representatives because we are so very good, but because on occasion we fail. Keeps us humble, you see.
Again--DO NOT use this for an excuse. Instead, keep hanging onto Him. He will lift us, fit us for His service, and lead us in the way everlasting. Even psychiatrists will agree that the one who keeps trying will eventually be victorious.
So go ahead--grab that Hand that reaches out to you. Get up one more time. Try again. With Him, we can do it.
Lord, we sure do need that lift from You. Help us, we pray. We can't do it without You. Thank You for caring enough to give us one more second chance. In Jesus's precious name, Amen.