Friday, July 30, 2010

God's Mighty Warrior Series by Shelia Walsh - REVIEWED

I recently had a chance to take a look at a precious picture book series by Shelia Walsh. This has been out a while, but it really is a precious series, so I wanted to share it with you! Some of you might have little warriors in your own life that might benefit from this series!

Will is a young boy whose days are filled with adventure and mystery. Shelia Walsh has created a series of stories centered around Will’s experiences entitled “God’s Mighty Warrior.” As Will discovers the wonder and mystery of his daily life, his parents and grandparents take his play-time discoveries and use them as opportunities to teach spiritual truths.

The first book give the series its title, Will God’s Mighty Warrior, and the story gives Will a chance to learn that there are battles that are waged in the heart as well as in the physical world. He also learns about the armor God has designed especially for these daily battles. The series continues in The Mystery of Magillicuddy’s Gold and The Creepy Caves Mystery with Will’s continual spiritual growth becoming more evident as he is able to recognize his own wrong choices, such as disobedience, and ask forgiveness from God in prayer.

Will’s character displays the curiosity, venturing spirit and longing for independence within the heart of every boy. His character is places in the context of a loving family who is careful to guide this zest for life toward God and the truth found in His Word. Using brief, straightforward sentences, Walsh tells each story with a clarity that will make the spiritual truths within the story easy for children to grasp.

Merideth Johnson has illustrated this series with whimsical pictures that accurately capture Will’s spirit. The facial expressions of each character also serves to add depth and emotion to the story in a way young children can easily relate to. This series would be a sound teaching tool for parents to use in the home or in a children’s church setting.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang - REVIEWED

“I’ve learned that when we’re in trouble, we should let those troubles carry us higher – close to God Himself, who is never unaware of what we face. The wind – or our trouble – isn’t necessarily our foe if we let it take us closer to God. Somehow, like the little bird whose flight itself brings Him glory, He’ll let us bring Him glory too.” (p. 357)

Oh, dear reader! If you could know what was sacrificed for these words to have meaning - to give hope! If only you knew the desperate circumstances in which these words were offered!! Maureen Lang’s soon to be released novel, Whisper on the Wind, is the story that contains this beautiful truth, and it is couched in a story that you will remember long after you read the final page!

Whisper on the Wind carries the reader to Belgium during the First World War, and introduces us to a lady that is the epitome of patriotism and loyalty – Isa Lassone. The opening scene that introduces Isa to the reader also introduce Edward – the man Isa has loved in secret many years. Both have chosen to risk their life to bring information to the people of Belgium – to fight the Germans who have so brutally ransacked their beloved country.

And thus begins a tale of bravery and intrigue that will keep your eyes glued to the story, page after page. Edward and Isa participate in running an underground newspaper, and they agree together that it is worth any cost. What a cost it turns out to be! All along the way readers are introduced to strong, memorable characters such as Genny and Max who add depth, believability and strong emotion to the entire story!

I don’t suppose anyone ever ponders too much about how God loves folks we perceive to be our enemies. Nor the fact that God’s love covers the sins that are committed during war time no matter which side of the battle one chooses to fight. Recognizing this love and forgiveness makes all the difference in how we live out our faith, and Maureen Lang shares this truth in an unforgettable, and emotionally tense historical novel!

I highly recommend Whisper on the Wind, and I am so very thankful that I had the opportunity to share this story with you! Thank you to Tyndale for my advanced reader copy! The release of this story is scheduled for September 1st.

About the Author:

Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of 10, put the pages into a notebook she had covered with soft deerskin (nothing but the best!), then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews. It was so much fun she's been writing ever since.

Eventually Maureen became the recipient of a Golden Heart Award from Romance Writers of America, followed by the publication of three secular romance novels. Life took some turns after that, and she gave up writing for 15 years, until the Lord claimed her to write for Him. Soon she won a Noble Theme Award from American Christian Fiction Writers and has since published several novels, including Pieces of Silver (a 2007 Christy Award finalist), Remember Me, The Oak Leaves, On Sparrow Hill, and My Sister Dilly.

Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, her two sons, and their much-loved dog, Susie. Visit her Web site at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dark in the City of Light by Paul Robertson - REVIEWED

About the book (from the publisher)

What Evil Haunts the Shadows of 1870s Paris?

Baron Ferdinand Harsanyi — After his wife's mysterious death, this Austrian attachĂ© holds control over mines whose coveted ore could turn the tide of war.

Therese Harsanyi — Swept up in new romance and the spectacle of Paris, the Baron's daughter is blind to the dangers stalking her family and the city she loves.

Rudolph Harsanyi — Unsure whom to trust, the Baron's son's grief over his mother's death twists into growing anger and a desire to break free.

As France and Prussia plunge toward war, one family is caught in a web of deceit, political intrigue, and murder that threatens to tear them apart.

My Thoughts:

Bethany House publishers is top notch when it comes to accurate, believable historical fiction. Dark in the City of Light is set in the 1800’s during the Franco-Prussion War. The central characters are Ferdinand Harsanyi and his two children, Therese and Rudolph, and the trials they undergo as this war overtakes their lives. There is a lot of secrecy and duplicity that the reader must try to understand, but all-in-all, it seems to be a very accurate portrayal of what life would have been like for an aristocratic family during that time.

Now, personally, this story did not appeal to me a great deal – but not because the story was uninteresting, but more because the layout and other editorial decisions were so distracting it wasn’t worth the labor involved to try to navigate it. For starters, the chapters are broken up into sort of min-chapters, and the constant division and change of scenery ect…gets very disruptive. The other thing that about drove me to distraction was the dialogue. Now I’m a huge fan of dialogue as a tool to move the action along…but these people uttered every thought that came through their head, and it made me want to scream. A lot of it was just unnecessary and cumbersome, and I think the story suffered because of it.

Dark in the City of Light contains a very interesting story, if you are brave enough and have the time to work your way through it.

P.S. I've read another of Paul's books, According to Their Deeds and in that one, the dialogue was what I liked the most! This is a very talented author, but this particular story needed a few more edits!!

About the Author:

Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and the author of The Heir. He is also a former Christian bookstore owner (for 15 years), who lives with his family in Blacksburg, Virginia

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So Over It by Stephanie Morrill - REVIEWED

About the Book (from the publisher)
How can Skylar stay true to herself without losing the ones she loves most?

Senior year is over and Skylar Hoyt is ready to forgive and forget. Or at least forget. She wants a fresh start where people don't know about her past or her dysfunctional family. A place where she won't run into her ex-boyfriend every time she leaves the house. When she gets the opportunity to spend the summer in Hawaii with her grandparents, Skylar jumps at the chance to get out of town. But will she truly be able to leave her old life behind? And will she be strong enough to rise above the gossip and live the life God wants?

My thoughts:

So Over It, by Stephanie Morrill was a difficult book for me to read. The author accurately captured the angst and drama of being a teen age girl, but man what a mess! I wonder where on earth the parents of all these teens were when they were partying and ruining each other’s lives and futures. How do so many kids get so messed up together at one time? It’s scary to me as a parent.

Yet, remembering my own childhood, I answer my own questions…apparently no matter how vigilant the parent, teens sometimes manage to find more trouble than they can handle. Such is the case with Skylar and her sister Abbie. Their parents were in a mess in their own relationship, and I guess the trauma was acted out in the girls’ lives. My parent heart breaks for children forced to skip their childhood and bear adult responsibilities earlier than their heart or mind were ever meant to do so. I am glad the girls learned about the forgiveness that Christ offers – even in spite of their glaring mistakes – but oh the price they had to pay! It broke my heart.

There were times I really didn’t like Skylar or Abbie’s behavior, and I most certainly wanted to give their parents lessons in childrearing, (albeit a bit late in the game) but sadly enough Morrill’s story is couched in modern-day reality. How I wish kids could understand that their teen years compose such a BRIEF time in their life and that they should not make decisions based upon “what other people think”. Truly, that is the enemy’s most deadly weapon when it comes to teens. Even though they can find forgiveness and go forward differently, they must live the rest of their lives with the consequences of their foolish teen choices.

I know I’m responding as a parent…so Stephanie Morrill obviously created some very realistic teen characters. There’s a lot to learn about human nature in this story, but as a parent…man, I need to pray, pray, pray!!

About the Author:

Stephanie Morrill is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Teen Lit writers' group. Morrill is the author of Me, Just Different and Out with the In Crowd, and she also serves in youth ministry. She lives in Kansas with her husband and young daughter.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nightshade by Ronie Kendig - Reviewed & GIVE AWAY!

Nightshade is Ronie Kendig’s second novel, and it serves as the kickoff to a series entitled Discarded Heroes. Ronie’s books are designed to make you realize that those who serve our country often pay a high price for their patriotism. While some pay the ultimate price when they lay down their lives, those left to return to their “real” lives after service deal with heartache and difficulty that is almost unimaginable to those of us who have never faced the horrors of war. Max Jacobs story is featured in Nightshade, and as a former Navy SEAL, his attempts to readjust to civilian life are far from heroic.

I have to confess, even though the entire premise of Nightshade is built upon creation of the ultimate Black-Ops group, the opening scene that introduces Max to the opportunity to serve as a member is a bit cloak-and-dagger. It works for the story, but personally I had to reach more toward a James Bond mentality there at the beginning. However, once I learned of Max’s personal troubles, I gained perspective for his struggles, and I was soon drawn into the story. Max’s wife, Sydney, is another major player in this story, and their stories are put in tandem throughout most of the book.

Sydney’s return to her journalistic career proves to be almost as emotionally and physically dangerous as Max’s role in Nightshade’s covert operations. The reader is allowed to experience this struggle from both sides of this relationship, and that provides the believable foundation for the story. The reader bounces back and forth between the two until, ultimately, the stories converge and build to a very climactic ending. I think those that love romantic suspense will be well pleased.

Nightshade is a suspenseful read, but the primary focus rests upon the personal struggles “discarded” heroes face as they attempt to return to civilian life. I think this story explores some realistic struggles that everyone needs to consider when they think and pray for those who choose to serve our country. Their service costs them dearly in many ways. It is, and always has been, the price for freedom.


Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat, married a veteran, and they now have four children and a Golden Retriever. She has a BS in Psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Ronie can be found at .


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ransomed Dreams (Side Roads) by Sally John - reviewed

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Ransomed Dreams (Side Roads)

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Vicky Lynch of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc for sending me a review copy.***


When the going gets tough—or weird or wonderful—the daydreamer gets going on a new story. Sally John has been tweaking life's moments into fiction since she read her first Trixie Belden mystery as a child.

Now an author of more than fifteen novels, Sally writes stories that reflect contemporary life. Her passion is to create a family, turn their world inside out, and then portray how their relationships change with each other and with God. Her goal is to offer hope to readers in their own relational and faith journeys.

Sally grew up in Moline, Illinois, graduated from Illinois State University, married Tim in 1973, and taught in middle schools. She is a mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. A three-time finalist for the Christy Award, she also teaches writing workshops. Her books include the Safe Harbor series (coauthored with Gary Smalley), The Other Way Home series, The Beach House series, and In a Heartbeat series. Many of her stories are set in her favorite places of San Diego, Chicago, and small-town Illinois.

She and her husband currently live in southern California.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414327854
ISBN-13: 978-1414327853


“Tell Him senora. Tell your Lord how much it hurts. He understands. Everyone abandoned Him too.” (p. 305)

Ransomed Dreams is a story that contains a significant truth…God is still with us, He still cares, He still works in our lives even when things turn out far differently than we ever planned. Sheridan Montgomery’s life as an ambassador’s wife was changed abruptly by an assassin’s bullet, and now she is married to a man she barely recognizes or tolerates. Deciding to make a trip home to her father’s bedside uncovers a depravity and a falsehood that turns Sheridan’s already shattered world topsy-turvy yet again. She must chose to cling to her faith or be swept away into an even greater abyss than the one she has lived in since her husband was shot.

Sheridan’s life may contain a bit more intrigue than the average gal, but the truths she must face and make her own are the truths that tie all Christian marriages together. Admittedly, this started out as a pretty dark tale, and I almost gave up a time or two. Yet the ending…Sheridan’s sheer determination to cling to faith in the face of overwhelming circumstances… inspired me! What a tender, precious way to arrive at a place of peace after so much turmoil and pain!

Sally John takes a realistic look into a shattered heart, a shattered marriage, and shattered dreams, and makes the reader understand just how much Christ loves us in the midst of our trials. I’ll end with a paraphrase of Scripture by Sheridan’s sister. (that relationship is another precious part of this book!) May I embrace my own trials with eyes wide open.

“Yippee-ki-yay! More trials! Am I glad or what? Ain’t no way I’d ever learn to live by faith without them big challenges, so bring ‘em on; I say bring ‘em on, Lord! (p. 365)


Topala, Mexico

Eighteen months later

Like everything about the small village tucked into the foothills of the Sierra Madres in central Mexico, sunrise was a leisurely event.

Sheridan waited for it, tea mug in hand, shawl over her cotton nightgown, bare feet chilled against the tile floor of the second-story balcony. Alone, she listened in the dark to the squawk of roosters and clung to their promise that the world would once again know light.

“Oh, good grief,” she murmured to herself with a groan. “That is so maudlin. Truly and hopelessly maudlin. You might try something more chipper. Something like . . . Something like . . .” Her foggy brain offered nothing.

She scrunched her nose in defeat. The morning had shuffled in on the heels of a sleepless night. Chipper was not going to happen, no matter how hard she tried to talk herself into it.

If she could turn the calendar back eighteen months, she would not be talking to herself. No. Eliot would be right next to her, responding, most likely pointing out a dozen chipper thoughts in that funny way of his.

Nostalgia and regret hit her, a powerful one-two punch that still took her breath away. She clenched her teeth, waiting for it to pass, mentally spewing forth a verbal attack at the counselor who had promised her that time healed all wounds, that month by month they would see improvement.

What drivel that was! Eighteen months—or to be more precise, seventeen months, three weeks, and two days; but who was counting? All that time had passed and only one thing was healed: Eliot’s gunshot wound. His other wounds, the invisible ones, still oozed like toxins from a waste dump site. He was not the same man she had married.

Sheridan took a deep breath and let the bitter argument go. Nostalgia and regret settled back down into whatever corner of her heart they’d found to hide out in. Their impact, though, lingered.

Would time ever erase her longing for the Eliot she had married? The animated one, the one others adored, the one who was engaged in every detail of life, whether simple or complex, with every person who crossed his path. The one from B.C.E., Before the Caracas Episode. Now, in their A.C.E. days, he might as well be a deaf-mute for all the interest he showed in the world around him.

Sleep-deprived, she totally blamed him. She didn’t mean to. It wasn’t like he had much of a choice. The bullet that shattered his nerves shattered their life. Everything about it was over. Health, career, home, friends. All gone. Kaput. Some days she barely recognized herself and Eliot. Where were the Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery she once knew? These routines, hometown, health, acquaintances, and even personalities seemed lifted from the pages of some stranger’s biography.

“Oh, honestly. Get over it already, Sher.” She forced a swallow of tea and focused on the scene before her.

A lone sunbeam pierced between two mountain peaks and sliced into the distant mists. Another followed. And another and another until finally pure light broke free. Valleys and canyons burst into sight. Loud birdsong erupted. Then, as if God had uncurled His fist, long fingers of sunlight shot forth and touched the wrought-iron railing where she stood.

It was achingly gorgeous.

Sheridan flicked at a tear seeping from the corner of her eye. “You should have stayed in bed, you foolish, stubborn woman.”

Sunrises were the worst because they represented the best of what had been.

Most days she could ignore that thought. Evidently not today. She and Eliot were morning people. Had been morning people. Their daily ritual of tea and conversation at an east-facing view, awaiting dawn, was seldom missed. With crazy-full schedules, they needed such a time to relate on the deepest levels. Some days their hearts positively danced and sang in union. Naturally, through the years the tune changed now and then, the tempo sped up and slowed down, but the music never stopped. It never stopped. They always talked. They always connected.

Until that day in Caracas.

Now she watched sunrises by herself.

“You really should’ve stayed in bed.”

But it was so beautiful. And it went on and on like a slow waltz. At the bottom of her street now, purple haze still shrouded the town square. The sky brightened in slow motion above it, the fiery ball itself still hiding behind a peak.

Something moved in the semidarkness below. A person. Early risers were not uncommon, but she was startled. Something felt off about this one.

Or was that just her hypervigilance? Compliments of the incident in Caracas, it kicked into gear at times without warning, filling her with anxiety and suspicion.

Now she could see that it was a man. He passed the bandstand, his strides too deliberate for a villager, too American. He headed straight for the steep incline that led up to her house. In city terms, the distance was perhaps a block. In Topala terms, it was simply up beyond the sculptor’s shop.

The sun overtook the peaks and the man came into view.

“No way.” Her heartbeat slowed, but not quite to normal.

Even with his face concealed by a ball cap, his body clothed in a generic khaki jacket and blue jeans, a city block separating them, she recognized him. She recognized him simply because the air vibrated with him.

Luke Traynor owned whatever space he occupied.

Sheridan set the mug on the table beside her, tightened the shawl around her shoulders, and massaged her left arm. She felt no surprise at his unannounced arrival nor at the early hour. It was as if she had always expected him to show up sooner or later.

But as he climbed the narrow street, an uneasiness rose within her. Her muscles tensed. Why was he here? He had promised not to come. Sixteen months ago he promised. Not that she was keeping track. . . .

The sound of a soft whistle drew her attention back toward the square. Javier, the young sculptor, stood on the porch steps outside his shop. Behind him, the handicraft shop owner emerged from his door.

Javier raised his chin in question.

Sheridan gave a half nod. They needn’t be concerned. The stranger was, so to speak, a known quantity. Not that she felt the least bit glad to see Luke. Eliot would most likely be severely distressed at his arrival.

Wishing Luke were an apparition did not make it so. He continued his steady pace, arms swinging gently, head down as if he studied the cobblestones, making his way to her house.

Since that day in Caracas—the day her husband died in every sense except physically, the day this man saved her life—Sheridan had understood intuitively that Luke would always be a part of her life. And there he was, out of the blue, ascending her street in the middle of nowhere on a spring day as if he visited all the time.

She suddenly remembered the date. “Good grief.”

It was Annunciation Day, a day of remembrance, of celebration for when the angel Gabriel visited Mary and announced her future. How apropos. Luke appeared without warning. He would not have come unless he had something to tell her, some message that would irreversibly change her future.

Was this his joke or God’s?

Luke neared and looked up, straight at her.

She saw not the man whose presence had always triggered apprehension in her, but rather the guardian angel who had saved her life.

Sheridan turned and made her way inside, down the stairs, and through the house.

* * *

Sheridan opened the front door and stopped.

Luke Traynor stood less than six feet away, at the low gate in the stone wall where her front terrace met the steep hill.

She returned his steady gaze, knowing full well her own expression did not mirror the one before her. While dread, relief, and excessive gratitude rearranged every muscle on her face, his remained perfectly composed. The sharp nose, thin lips, and deep-set eyes could have been made of the same cobblestone he stood on.

He flashed a rakish grin. “I was in the neighborhood.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

He cocked his head, somber again. Always the gentleman, he waited for her to make the first move.

Sheridan clutched her shawl more closely and resigned herself to riding out the emotional disarray rumbling through her. She both loathed and loved this man. Of course he knew that, so it didn’t matter how she reacted to him except that she’d like herself better if she were polite.

With a quiet sigh, she walked to him, planted a kiss on his scruffy, unshaven cheek, and eased into his embrace. Nestled against the rough collar of his jacket, she smelled the familiar scent of him, an indescribable mix of earth, sun-drenched air, and confidence that bordered on lunacy. She felt the hardness of his body, always unexpected given his average height and build.

“Sheridan. How are you?”

“Fine.” She backed away, crossing her arms.

“And Eliot?” he said. “How is he?”


Luke blinked, a slow movement of lids indicating he could take the truth.

She wanted to shriek obscenities at him. The disconcerting thing about angels, though, was that it was impossible to keep up any sort of pretense. Like an angel, Luke had stayed close beside her for long weeks after the shooting. He had gone with her to the edge of hell, holding on to her until she came back. He knew her better than she knew herself. Glossing over answers was a waste of time with him.

She tried another phrase. “We’re doing about as well as could be expected.”

He nodded.

“Eliot is still asleep.”

“It’s early. Perhaps I can greet him later.”

The resistance drained from her. Yes, Gabriel had come to deliver a message, and he would not leave until he’d done so.

She had no inkling how to shield Eliot and herself from this unexpected source of distress but gave a lame attempt. “I don’t suppose you’re passing through town and simply must be on your way right now, this very minute?”


She inhaled, her shoulders lifting with the effort, and blew the breath out with force. “Coffee?”

“Love some.”

Excerpted from Ransomed Dreams by Sally John. Copyright 2010 by Sally John. Used with permission from Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews - GIVE AWAY!

ABOUT THE BOOK: (from the publisher)

A unique blend of historical fact and engaging fiction showing the power of forgiveness. While digging up a withering wax myrtle tree beside his waterfront home on the Gulf coast, author Andy Andrews unearths a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artifacts and begins an intriguing investigation that unlocks an unspoken past that took place in his backyard . . . literally.

In 1942, as the country gears up for a full-scale commitment to WWII, German subs are dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to sink U.S. vessels carrying goods and fuel. While taking a late-night walk, Helen Mason—widowed by war—discovers the near-lifeless body of a German sailor. Enraged at the site of Josef Landermann's uniform, Helen is prepared to leave him to die when an unusual phrase, faintly uttered, changes her mind.

Set in a period simmering with anger and suspicion The Heart Mender offers the very real chronicle of a small town preparing itself for the worst the world has to offer. As cargo from torpedoed ships begins to wash up on the beach, Josef and Helen must reconcile their pasts to create a future.

Blending his unique style of historical accuracy with unparalleled storytelling, New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews offers a tale of war, faith, and forgiveness illuminating the one principle that frees the human spirit.

Previously released as Island of Saints. Now includes a Reader's Guide and a Where are They Now? section.

My Thoughts:

When I read a novel by Andy Andrews I always feel like fact and fantasy merge….and I am left wondering, indeed compelled, to sort out the difference! Never more so than with the release of his latest novel, The Heart Mender! I am a resident of Alabama, so I was particularly interested in the role the Gulf Coast played in the story. I was fascinated! The entire plot has so many twists and turns, unexpected tender moments, startling truths and all of it left me the richer for having experienced this novel.

For in truth, you do experience and Andy Andrews novel. By the end of the story your curiosity is peaked, your heart is pricked, and you want to examine your own heart a bit more closely to see if in fact forgiveness has transformed it to look a bit more like Christ. The story of Helen and Josef will be one you won’t soon forget, and you will most certainly want to share with friends. Forgiveness truly is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given, and it is the most priceless gift we can ever share!

The story does contain a couple of instances where the author takes the Lord’s name in vain, and there are a few colorful expletives along the way as well. The words did fit the characters, but as talented an author as Andy Andrews is, I think he could write just as effectively without them…especially taking the Lord’s name in vain. I mention this not because it takes away from the story, but because I personally didn’t think it added to the story either.

If you like fiction that makes you consider life more deeply, pick up any of Andy Andrew’s novels! But The Heart Mender…it’s a classic. Enjoy!

About the Author:

Andy Andrews, hailed by a New York Times writer as someone who has quietly become "one of the most influential people in America,” is a best-selling novelist and in-demand corporate speaker for the world’s largest organizations. The Traveler’s Gift, a featured book selection of ABC’s Good Morning America, has been translated into nearly twenty languages and was on the New York Times bestseller list for seventeen weeks.

Andy has spoken at the request of four different United States presidents and toured military bases around the world, being called upon by the Department of Defense to speak to the troops. Arguably, there is no single person on the planet better at weaving subtle yet life-changing lessons into riveting tales of adventure and intrigue—both on paper and on stage.

For more information, visit:


Courting Morrow Little - REVIEW and GIVE AWAY

“Counting your steps on only makes the journey longer.” (p. 237)

Morrow Little has a long journey indeed from the time she boards the keelboat in Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania until she once again makes herself at home on the Red River with her father. Longer still is the journey she must take through pain and sorrow, fear and uncertainty to find healing, forgiveness and the truest definition of the word home. Once again, Laura Frantz has swept me away to another time and place, and I have known what it was like to survive on the frontier in the late 1700’s.

Courting Morrow Little is a title that is mildly deceptive. While Morrow is indeed courted – a process that nearly carried me to the brink of insanity with longing and urgency – there is so much more that takes place that is far more meaningful and significant. Laura Frantz truly knows how to weave a tale that keeps you holding your breath chapter after chapter. It’s bad enough to wade through the soldiers at the fort along the Red River, but Morrow’s choices grow ever more painful as she realizes that the one man who has truly stolen her heart is the one person who she blames for stealing all that was once precious and dear to her.

Dear reader, if you want to know what it feels like, what is smells like, what it sounds like to live on the Kentuke frontier in the late 1700’s now you no longer have to wonder. Laura Frantz carries you through war-ravaged villages, Indian raids, vicious attacks by vengeful American soldiers, heartache, separation, and tragedy with such realistic details that you will dream of your time on the frontier. Some characters you will grow to love like Loramie and his family, Trapper Joe and his wife Good Robe, and Red Shirt….oh, Red Shirt! And other characters will make your skin crawl! (a certain Virginian soldier comes to mind!)

As the icy winds of winter brush your face and the smell of roasting meat makes your mouth water, you will experience Morrow’s emotional and profoundly satisfying journey into womanhood. You will not be spared sorrow or heartache, but when she finally reaches home – you will know without a doubt what that means.

I cannot recommend this book – nay, this experience enough. Courting Morrow Little is a tale you won’t soon forget! Laura Frantz….I salute you!

I've got an extra copy of this great book! So leave a comment to be entered for this drawing and I'll pick a winner next week!

You can also read my interview with Laura about this great book HERE! (sorry, the "party" has already ended)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Faith Dare by Debbie Alsdorf - REVIEWED

About the Book: (From the publisher)

What would happen if you lived out your faith every day, in every situation?

Jesus came to give us abundant life. So why are so many of us living with worn-out faith, struggling just to get by? What if there was something more? What if we could be set free from worry, fear, and the constant cycle of searching for significance?

The Faith Dare is a 30-day challenge for women who want to develop a new habit of focusing on God's ways and daily awareness of his presence. It is for women who are tired of ho-hum living and want to break the pattern of self-reliance and people pleasing by putting their trust in God alone and living to please him. This personalized study guide, including daily readings, affirmations, and challenges, help you live in the power of God's Word.

Whether you do this with a group of girlfriends or by yourself, the next 30 days can change your life. If you're ready to discover what it looks like to live out real faith every day, open this book and take the challenge.

I dare you.

My Thoughts:
This is a cool devotional book! Debbie Alsdorf has devided this into three important parts. This thirty-day journey starts with the believer's relationship with God and how to focus of the truth of His Word above everything the world has to offer. The next leg of the journey focuses on total surrender of yourself to God. Finally, in surrender to God's will, readers can begin to focus on relationship with others and personal ministry.

All along the way, Alsdorf is explaining key truths of God's word and teaching readers how to make practical application of God's word to their daily life. She talks a lot about changing our focus from ourselves and our circumstances to trusting God and finding points of praise and thankfullness in every situation. I want to share one brief passage that is a great example of the truth Alsdorf shares in her book. Using Phillipians 4 as the day's truth passage she says: Refuse to worry about circumstances or need. Pray instead, giving your current need or relational struggle to God. Receive his peace. Look for good and dwell there. Continually look for the good in every person you know. Practice finding the good in people and dwell on the good parts. Love in contentment and strength. Look to God to supply oll your needs according to his supply. (p. 218)

This would be a fantastic group study, and I think I will wind up using this with the ladies in the rehab facility where I volunteer. It's a neat book!

About the Author:

Debbie Alsdorf is the author of Deeper and A Different Kind of Wild. She is founder of the popular Design4Living Conferences and speaks with Hearts at Home. She is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is director of women's ministries at Cornerstone Fellowship, where her Bible study is attended by hundreds of women every week. Alsdorf lives in California

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Launch PARTY for Steven James THE BISHOP!!

Steven James Launch Party!


Stars in the Night by Cara Putman - REVIEWED

ABOUT THE BOOK: (from the publisher)

Hollywood 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer’s sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her but instead must identify her body. Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister. Could the killer be the man with whom she’s falling in love?

My Thoughts:

I was a third of the way into the book before they discovered the body. As a historical/suspense/romance, this moves a tad slow to say the least. The bad guys were kind of easy to pick out, and the red herring suspect was also easy to identify. In short, this did not hold my interest as either a romance or a historical/suspenseful novel. For lack of a better description, this story felt "clunky" to me. Predictable. Not very realistic. For the main character to be a lawyer, she was much too mild and too easily swayed. I just never connected with Audra or anyone else in the story.

I've read other novels published by this publisher that I have enjoyed a great deal. This was not one of them. Sorry. Take a look for yourself and make up your own mind.

About the Author:

Stars in the Night is Cara Putman’s ninth novel and tenth book. An attorney and sometimes lecturer at a Big Ten university, Cara lives in Indiana with her husband and three children.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blind Hope - REVIEW and GIVE AWAY!

“Funny how all the previous relationships in my life have not been able to teach me what real love is – until I met and really got to know this dog.” (p. 59)

Laurie Sacher became the owner of a mistreated, blind, malnourished dog by accident…or so she thought. However, it quickly became evident that Mia – the dog – was no accident, but a God-appointment in Laurie’s life to draw her into an intimate relationship with her Savior. Because of the spiritual insight and strong life-lessons Laurie learned when she rescued this dog, she became a mighty tool in God’s hand to minister to others, who like herself, needed to be rescued from themselves and delivered into an intimate and loving relationship with their Heavenly Father.

I particularly love what I call the “title passage”: “Mia taught me that blind hope doesn’t grope around in the darkness trying to find the way. Blind hope doesn’t depend on what it can feel. Blind hope depends on what it knows! Authentic hope depends on what is true. Hope that is real doesn’t come from what we can see – it comes from our heart, from the inside out. It comes from Christ alone.” (p. 170) You will experience the truth of these words for yourself as you read the story of Laurie and her dog, Mia. God is always busy, in the most unexpected ways, transforming our lives into the image of His Son! Throughout this story, you will experience many “a-ha!” moments right along with Laurie. Your heart and your life will be touched by their story, and you will be comforted by knowing that God never leaves you alone! Sometimes He shows up with a four-footed, furry friend!


Kim Meeder is the cofounder and director of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, an organization that rescues abused and dying horses and pairs them with children in need. Kim’s first book, Hope Rising, propelled the ranch to win the national Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award and launched her extensive public/motivational speaking schedule at schools, churches, and governmental conferences across the United States. She and her husband, Troy, have been married for twenty-five years and live in Central Oregon. The size of their family fluctuates each year with the number of horses and kids that they rescue.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Daddy Delight by Karia Bunting - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Moody Publisher)

In Daddy's Delight, Karia Bunting reminds women that they are God's workmanship, His masterpiece, His "poema". That God has intricately woven together every fiber of their being and created each one special and unique. That God, having completed His work of art, gave her to mankind as a gift.

Evident in this great care God took in fashioning woman is the importance and value of each one. So why do so many women struggle with God's design, wishing they could change just this or that one thing about themselves?

Bunting challenges each reader to accept and embrace the fact that, in whatever season of life, she is God's masterpiece-not her own work of art. When God sees her, He sees His beautiful creation. A creation that yes, has some wrinkles needing to be smoothed out and yet, is one in whom is His delight to love to perfection.

My Thoughts:

“Only the Word of God is truth – it is dependable and trustworthy – and it never changes.” (p.19)

Dr. Karia Bunting’s book, Daddy’s Delight, explores God’s unique design for women through the filter of God’s Word. She does this candidly and with a warmth that will draw you into her book, and after just a few pages you will feel like you have had a wonderful visit with a close friend. Bunting understands and revels in the loving way God builds and maintains relationship with women, and no matter what stage or age you are in life, no matter your circumstance, Daddy’s Delight has a word for you from you Heavenly Father that will encourage and inspire you to embrace your unique role as a woman in God’s creation.

Bunting understands that there are challenges that are unique to women because of their gender. She discusses God’s design for women in the context of being young, married, un-married, new mothers, caring for aging parents…you name it, she addresses it…and all within the straightforward context of God’s Word. I admire the fact that she is so bluntly honest about the fact that women sometimes face unhappy and uncomfortable circumstances at different points in their lives. Yet she encourages everyone to run to the source of strength and guidance - God and His Holy Word. She encourages women to embrace their role as wives and mothers, and challenges them to find friendships and fellowship that will strengthen them emotionally and spiritually. No matter what is going on at any stage or phase of your life, God has both a plan and a purpose that He will equip you and strengthen you to fulfill.

Most of all, Bunting encourages women to realize that God delights in His creation, and that He has created women with a unique and wonderful role to fulfill. She encourages women to embrace their unique design and enjoy their relationship with their Heavenly Father. I want to close with a passage that reflects the intimacy of Bunting’s message: “Every morning, His loving-kindness wakes you up. He whispers, ‘I love you’ and you quickly respond, ‘I love you, too, Daddy.’ The Spirit of God then reminds you, ‘I’m going to take care of you today. Don’t worry about anything.’ You smile and say, ‘Okay, Dad. I won’t.’ Then He says, ‘Now, go get ‘em, girl!’ Before you arise from your bed, God has already equipped you with Grace and mercy. You have a new day and a new chance to be all He has called you to be.” (p. 26-27)

I am happy to recommend Daddy’s Delight to all women, and I appreciate the opportunity I have been given to read this book. My thanks to Moody Publishers for sending me a copy for review.

About the Author:

KARIA BUNTING (Dallas Theological Seminary; Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary; University of Texas) is an expository Bible teacher and the founder of Focused Forward Ministries. She currently serves as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University and teaches a weekly Bible study at her church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Karia and her husband, George, live in Dallas and have three children.

God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved by Beth Redman

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved

David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Beth Redman is an evangelist, songwriter, singer, and author of several books, including Soul Sister and Beautiful. She is also the co-author, along with her husband Matt, of the book Blessed Be Your Name. Recently, Beth and Matt received the Dove Award for the Worship Song of the Year for “Blessed Be Your Name,” which they wrote together. Their combined song-writing skills also produced the popular worship songs “Let My Words Be Few,” “Facedown,” and “You Never Let Go.” The Redmans and their five children live in Atlanta where they serve as part of a team leading Passion City Church with pastors Louie and Shelley Giglio.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403650
ISBN-13: 978-0781403658


Our parents are often broken people wearing big learner’s plates, like drivers in training, when we arrive in their world. We shouldn’t judge them harshly, but sometimes the parents we need to love us the most can hurt us and let us down.

As a mum, I take it very personally and get a little feisty when my daughter, Maisey-Ella, is bullied or mistreated. I consider it outrageous when I know someone has hurt her, and I find it hard not to intervene.

My husband has told me on many occasions, “You can’t give little girls evil looks, Beth!” My daughter is, quite simply, utterly gorgeous inside and out. Of course she is not perfect, but the problem all of us face is that the world is not going to like us, love us, or be on our side all of the time. Some days we will be misunderstood, blamed, and rejected. But in our home, when Maisey-Ella returns from a miserable day at school, two pairs of loving arms wait for her. Arms that without question are available to wipe away any tear, and hearts of love that speak gentle words of acceptance, reassurance, and a promise that no matter what … we love you, beautiful girl, and we are for you.

Every single human being needs the comfort and reassurance that on the days the tears fall—even if the “world” rejects us—the people who really know us (warts and all) will be there for us. Those people are our parents, our family. Sometimes, though, our family isn’t there.

However, God is an ever-present, all-loving, all-forgiving, amazing Father in heaven. He can override imperfect parenting, soothe any broken spirit, and free any bound-up heart.

I want to tell you my story.

I want to share an amazing story of restoration, a story of the hope that we all have and the truth that I pray will fill you with joy, freedom, and power! I’m not pointing the finger at anyone or trying to make anyone look bad. I simply want to shout out that God heals, restores, has plans for you, and utterly adores you! If we can truly breathe in that truth, we become free to live, free to give, and free to love and accept both others and ourselves. Then, as you breathe that truth out into a hurting and broken world that desperately needs this message of God the Father’s heart for us, God is glorified, and lives are changed and transformed by Him.

My mum was a true saint when I was growing up, and my closest friend. She brought me to church and taught me about God. In public my dad seemed the perfect father, but in private he struggled with anger … and we suffered terrible violence. In my very late teens my parents separated. I don’t think we should place our parents’ mistakes or faults under the microscope and blame them for all our problems and baggage. God teaches us to forgive, and He gives us the grace to do so. He enables us to rise above the harshest of circumstances and to begin again. He rewrites generations of brokenness to give us an incredible hope and future with Jesus.

But I want to tell this story because I believe in a God who restores, and through His power I have seen reconciliation and healing occur in the most broken of families. I know it is possible, and I have always prayed for that with my own father. However, it takes more than just a miracle for that to happen—it also requires the openness and humility of all involved. Since my parents divorced, my dad and I have had sporadic contact. Throughout that time I found it impossible and even destructive to have a normal father-daughter relationship, so I have walked carefully and lived my adult life without him.

During my pregnancy with our third child, I began to have some worrying symptoms, and after the baby’s birth, doctors began to test me for suspected liver disease. The specialist I was seeing told me that, before my liver biopsy, he needed to know as much about my medical background as possible. He asked me to contact all my living relatives and find out if anyone in the family had ever had liver problems. I contacted each family member and very nervously sent an email to my dad. He wrote back immediately, and still to this day I cannot believe his parting words.

He wrote that, yes, there was liver disease in the family, and also cancer, and he hoped I had both.

“Beth,” he wrote, “you deserve to suffer, because suffering would make someone as egotistical and vile as you a better person.”


He also threw in some awful comments about Matt and our children that need not be repeated. The email ended with him telling me I was cut out of his will and he had instructed his solicitor never to disclose his death or where he would be buried. While I was waiting for news of my liver condition, my earthly father had just cursed me and condemned my life.

God made us to love and to be loved. My earthly dad knew me, rejected me, and also detested me. Could anything be more painful?

I could hardly breathe. I phoned Matt and read him the email. I called my mum and my best friend, Anna. Inside I was crying out, Someone tell me I am loved! Please take away the pain of this horrific rejection—the words had gone so deep it felt as though my inmost parts were bleeding. I was desperate for a deeper love, validation, and acceptance. No human words could soothe me.

I put down the phone and gasped for air.

I cried out to my God … my true, amazing Father, my heavenly, forever Father, the One who knows all my failures and shortcomings and yet has never ever rejected me. He wrote my name on the palms of His hands and He stretched out His arms, and as He was viciously nailed to a cross, He separated me from my sin forever and loved me enough to die unjustly. He walked a journey of horrific agony—pleading, being taunted—and He carried my cross, my death, my past, and my sin. His love was enough as He cried out, “It is finished!” So now death and pain, brokenness and rejection, where are your sting? Everything I ever need in life is now accessible and available to me through His death.

Our God is a God who saves and who accepts and who can heal us completely. His love outweighed the words of a wounded man whose own life was so broken that he knew only how to crush others. I faced up to the pain of the situation, but at the same time knew a beautiful and powerful revelation that spoke louder than all of those other words: Though my father may forsake me, my God will never reject me. Though my earthly dad may try to erase me from his life, I shall never be forgotten. In that moment I knew a deep and permanent truth covering over the whole of my life: that God knows my name.

My Father in heaven adores me, has plans to prosper me and supernatural arms to hold me. He is with me by His Spirit every time a situation threatens to overwhelm and whenever I want to hide away and give in to the insecure, evil thoughts that come knocking. My God would never reject or forget me. He did not forget me in my time of need. From heaven He called out to me reminding me that I am His! Because He made me, He knows me, and He loves me! I am His forever. God spoke to me powerfully from His Word:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and

have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See,

I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

(Isa. 49:15–16)

You are known by name by the Living God, the loving heavenly Father. He made you, He redeemed you, He hears you, and never ever will He forget you. Hallelujah!

In this book I want to share with you some of the powerful ways that God helped me overrule such a massive rejection with His glorious eternal truth. I hope this can help you in your own life and enable you to help others.

Isaiah 43:1–4 says this:

But now, this is what the LORD says—

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.…

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you.”

In this passage, there are several truths for us to grasp, which I want to break down and look at one by one in this chapter.

God Knows Your Name

“I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isa. 43:1)

A name is given and considered. A name imparts meaning, value, identity, and significance. Your name was chosen specifically, and especially, for you. A name gives both humanity and dignity to a person. The Enemy would have you live a nameless existence—feeling anonymous, illegitimate, unknown, unimportant, inglorious, and unfit to be named. Nineteenth-century London was a time of such material, emotional, and spiritual poverty that “children were so utterly uncared for that some were even without names, and were known to each other by nicknames.”

In direct contrast, God says that He has a name for us. Where we feel worthless and insignificant He bestows worth and significance upon us when He calls us by name and chooses us for His glory.

Anyone expecting a child has flipped through baby-name books, looking at the meanings and origins of names and thinking about how they sound. I’ve found names I loved and then been dismayed to find out they meant something like harlot, wench, or crooked nose!

Someone recently told me of a child who had been named Jezebel Harlot! That’s a pretty negative connotation to speak over a child every time she is called. Ideally, a name needs to suit the person carrying it. When my husband suggested that we name our third child “Rocco Redman,” I thought he had gone a bit mad! Normally my husband’s track record in making decisions is spot on. There really is no point arguing with Mr. Matthew Redman because over the years I have found he is nearly always right. However, on this occasion, I wasn’t so sure.

I wanted our third child to be called Benjamin, but Matt got the older children on board—and in the end I came to peace with the fact that if he was anything like his dad and his brother and sister, he would easily live up to something as strong and bold as Rocco! The name means “rest,” and so far he has turned out to be the most relaxed, peaceful, deep-sleeping, and gentle-spirited boy… and he has the confidence and joy required to be Rocco Redman. In new environments, his name still causes a little reaction, but it is so perfect for him, and I love that every time I write or call him by his full name, Rocco Benjamin Courage, I am affirming and speaking rest, sonship, bravery, and boldness over him.

In the same way, your Father God named you as precious, chosen, and beloved. You may not be named Rocco, but when God calls you, He speaks over you His truth, freedom, and life. Your part is to make a good choice—to continually believe and live under those things He named you and never to seek to hide behind another name. Many of us each day live under other labels that the Enemy has given us from past or present experiences—unwanted, failure, doubter, ugly, unlovely, needy, drama queen, mistake, disgrace, shamed, forgotten, and many more lies.

Those thoughts and feelings cannot possibly originate from God—for He is the giver of good and perfect gifts, and the God of all comfort. Those negative impressions of yourself and the words my own dad wrote in his email to me originate from the Enemy—who we know to be a dirty liar.

Perhaps you think your problems and insecurities are too great to overcome. By the kindness and mercy of God in my own life, I can assure you that this is not the case. I was abused physically, put down verbally, and rejected. I suffered humiliation many times and sadly began to act out how I felt about myself. In public I felt wretchedly insecure. I couldn’t go out with friends without feeling self-conscious and unimportant. I hated myself inside and out.

Then Jesus called my name. And everything changed. I hardly recognize the person I was back then. Our names may conjure up memories, but not always truth. I know that ultimately I am defined not by what others think of me when they hear my name, or what my earthly father says about me. Instead, the authority and compassion of the God who called my name define me. He loves, He shapes, He convicts, and He lavishes us with affirmation.

It’s time we heard His voice the loudest.

God Made Me

This is what the LORD says—

He who created you, O Jacob,

He who formed you, O Israel. (Isa. 43:1)

Part of understanding the depths of God’s knowledge of us lies in grasping the importance of the fact that He made us.

Psalm 139:13–14 puts it beautifully:

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and

wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

The phrase inmost being is literally translated “kidneys.” In Hebrew idiom this meant the innermost center of the emotions and the moral sensitivity of a person’s heart.2 Here we see that God does not just know us as a casual acquaintance or simply acknowledge our existence, marvelous though that would be for the God of heaven to do such a thing. Rather, He knows who we are right down to the final detail. God knows how you work, how you think, what makes you happy, what makes you sad. He knows the last time you cried, and what you cried about. He knows what you would like for your birthday, and He actually cares about it too. The amazing thing is you don’t actually have to tell Him all of this. He just knows, because He made you, He sees you, He hears you, and He loves you. He knows you better than you know yourself.

He knows what you need before a word is even spoken from your mouth or articulated in your heart.

God Speaks Worth Over Me

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” (Isa. 43:4)

The first thing God said when He looked at His creation was, “It is good.” The very fact that God made you means you are wonderful!

The psalmist declares: “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:14). Yet God didn’t just make you, then say, “What a great job,” and leave you on a shelf. No, He pursues a relationship

with you, He gives His life for you, that He may know you daily, deeply, and eternally.

Just before we were married, Matt received an invitation from Buckingham Palace. When Matt read the guest list he was a little intimidated. Top sports personalities, journalists, and film stars— and my fiancĂ©! When he eventually met the Queen, along with Prince Charles, Matt performed a fumbled bow and stood back in shock. That was the Queen!

He couldn’t believe he had been chosen to hold out his hand and meet her majesty face-to-face. Somehow Matt had been deemed worthy of a moment with the Queen and her son, and he felt truly humbled. What a privilege!

Yet the truth is that there is a higher honor—a more amazing invitation that lies open for all of us. God in heaven; the Lord of all creation; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of your pastor and your friends who are missionaries abroad; the God of Corrie ten Boom and Martin Luther; the Author of life; the Beginning and the End—He extends the hand of friendship to you! Just as Matt was invited to stand alongside celebrities and dignitaries before the Queen at Buckingham Palace, so too are we invited to stand before the God of heaven and earth as an equal alongside great heroes of the faith … and not just to meet Him but to know Him! He speaks His love and your worth loudly over you today.

Listen closely: Isaiah 61:3 says that He bestows on us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes,” and Psalm 103:4 says that God “redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”

Anyone wearing a crown holds her head up high. She does not have an identity problem. She has been given honor and dignity.

God speaks worth over you. He declares His love for you. You are precious in His sight. Just like when I speak rest, sonship, and courage over my child, every time God calls your name He speaks worth and

value over you. He knows you intimately because He made you, and He loves you completely.

God Hears Me

“I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isa. 43:3)

It is a fundamental human need to be heard and understood. In fact, if we feel that we are not heard, we feel a vast sense of loneliness and emptiness. If we are not heard, we do not feel understood, and if

we do not feel understood, we will not feel known. The whole point about God knowing our names, and about Him making us, is that He knows us. When we discover that we are known and understood by a friend, it can be profoundly moving. Sometimes a really good friend may understand us better than we understand ourselves.

Tom Marshall, in his book Right Relationships, says that no one can survive for long unless “we feel that somebody understands us, somebody knows what we are feeling and somebody appreciates our real desires and intentions.”3 And yet, however powerful being known and understood by a friend or your partner can be, no one can know you better or understand you more than God Himself.

Psalm 139:1–4 puts it magnificently:

O LORD, you have searched me

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.

Some people might find this depth of understanding quite frightening—and indeed there is always a risk attached to loving and being loved, knowing and being known. God knows us completely and utterly. Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are an open book to God. He sees what we do, and He hears what we say even before we say it, or even when we’re not talking to Him! He knows what you are doing and why you are doing it. More importantly, He knows your dreams, your ambitions, and your longings. But how can we know for ourselves that God really knows us in our inmost being, completely and utterly?

We know that we are known because He hears us.

When we know that God hears us, it transforms us from being fearful, doubting God’s love, mercy, and goodness, into people who can be certain of His love for us. When God spoke to me through that song on my iPod, through the beautiful words of Isaiah 49, I knew that He had heard my cry—and He stepped in very powerfully at that moment, speaking His Word of life over me.

God was faithful to me through His real, tangible words of truth. I had a choice. I knew I did not have to believe my earthly father’s words. My heavenly Father had seen my pain and had answered me in a deeply personal way from His Word.

God Has Not Forgotten Me

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” (Isa. 43:2)

Sometimes we can know the truth of God in our minds, but not let it sink into our hearts. Or perhaps we have experienced a time of spiritual dryness, a time of suffering, or a time of God’s silence. During these times, it can feel like God has forgotten us. This can be frightening and even cause us to question the truth and reality of God.

A friend recently told me that her current situation makes her feel as though she was five years old again and her father has forgotten to pick her up from school. That is a very real and deeply unsettling feeling, and it can shake our faith and our trust in God to the core. My situation is telling me You are not here and You are not coming. Where are You, God? Yet the true extent of God’s care and concern for us is breathtaking:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7)

God is not like your earthly father. Difficult circumstances do not mean He has failed or abandoned you. He has not left you at the school gate. God does not forget the child He made. He has not put you to one side while He is busy with other people. He is not bored with you, and He did not leave you midproject. He adores you. In fact, He promises (and God is incapable of breaking a promise) in

Joshua 1:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He continually watches over you. “He [takes] great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).

God is continually at pains to remind us not to be afraid, because He is with us. If He is with us, how can He forget us?

If you feel forgotten, I want to encourage you to believe the Word of God when He says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Call out to the Lord, and He will answer you. Wait patiently for the Lord, for He will turn to you and hear your cry. God loves you, He hears you, He speaks to you, and He will rescue you. Amen!

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. God Knows My Name by Beth Redman. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.