The Crimson Cord, Rahab’s Story – A Review

the crimson cordAs an independent reviewer, I am thankful to Graf-Martin Communications and Revell Books for the opportunity to read this very new telling of a very old story.

Rahab’s story is one that causes most of us to be uncomfortable with.  Let’s face it – she’s not a woman that most moms would hold up as a mirror for their girls to aspire to.  Nor are we content that she is only one of a very few women to be named in the lineage of Christ.  Yet, she is an example of courage, of God’s never ending grace and the beautiful great-great grandma of King David.

Jill Eileen Smith has crafted, very skillfully, a new engaging story of Rahab, and how she came to assist the Hebrew’s fulfill God’s plan for Jericho.  A faithful, yet abused wife finds herself sold into slavery to pay off her husband’s debt.  Her purchaser has many other plans for her.  Tastefully dealing with the degradation that happens with sex slavery – we understand Rahab’s complete lack of faith in herself.

She does though, find a way to assure her safety and her that of her family when the Hebrew’s come to claim the land God has promised.  Then we “watch” as God redeems her past life, and brings her to a place of honour in history.  She is a pre-cursor to the story of the kinsman redeemer named Boaz, and gives us a glimpse that all people are loved so much that God wants them to be part of the family.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read – although I must admit I began quite skeptical at what could be done with a bible character we know relatively little about.  Bravo!  I savoured every page.

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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in book reviews


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The Beauty of Grace – A Review

beauty of grace coverI love books that will serve a greater purpose.  To teach a lesson, to tell a lasting story, to provide a story for just the right time, you know – a Greater purpose.

This book, from “today’s most popular writers” (although I must admit I’d never heard of a great many of them) filled that purpose.  Stories from their every day world, yet filled with God moments that stick with the reader are offered here for each of us to savour.  I think this would be a lovely little book to give as a supplementary devotional.

Right from the first story set in a thrift shop, with it’s subject being a man in a suit and holding a mirror – I was enchanted.  It’s timing was wonderful, as I am currently leading a Bible study that helps the students see the wonder of God.  I will be recommending this title to each and every one of my ladies.

The book has also expanded my reading list – especially on the (in)courage daily blog, where most of these ladies contribute.  It may be a simply constructed marketing tool for faithful followers, but it has done it’s job, and I will find ways to read these ladies more often.

If you are looking to be encouraged in your desire to see God’s hand at work all around you, or needing to share that with someone you care for, be sure to pick up a copy of this book.  You’ll be blessed by it.

I am thankful to Graf-Martin Communications, and Revell books for the opportunity to share this unrestricted review with you.

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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


Hope amid the heartbreaking reality – The DropBox Movie

DropboxA new movie is set to release the first week of March, and I was honoured to be able to view an advanced copy, thanks to Graf-Martin Communications, Focus on the Family, and Kindred Image.

Each year, hundreds of babies are abandoned on the streets of Seoul, South Korea.  Some have been discarded immediately upon birth by young, unwed mothers who can’t face the shame their family will heap upon them.  Others have disabilities that the mother feels she just can’t cope with.  It’s a staggering and heart breaking reality.

We meet a church pastor, Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his family to hear about how his deeply caring heart is saving lives.  Because of the shame attached to most of the circumstances around the birth and subsequent abandoning of these babies – he knew that if he could have a way that a child could be safely brought to his home, while keeping the anonymity of the mother, he might just be able to save lives.

A dropbox was installed at their home.  It has an alarm wired, so that when an infant is placed inside it, the whole house is alerted, and his son’s description of what it does to the family is poignant.  Pastor Lee and his wife have two natural children, but they have adopted 15 of the hundreds of children that have come to them, each with their own challenges, and each whom have come through the dropbox.

I am not a documentary fan, nor do I enjoy films with sub-titles – as much of this film has.  However, the story is so compelling, that I was completely drawn in, and soon forgot that I was reading the dialogue.  The commitment to the children that Pastor Lee, his family and the troop of volunteers have is inspiring, and challenging.

Theirs is a story of inspiration and well deserving to be heard and seen.  Pastor Lee and the filmmakers bring a voice to those who have none, and put faces to those that society would have forgotten.  If you are able to get to a theatre March 4th or 5th, take time to see this fine movie.

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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


Great Bible character + a favourite author = a joy to read.

esther coverEsther, by Angela Hunt, published by Bethany House.

Esther has always been my favourite Bible personality. What young girl doesn’t live a story of the commoner getting to become queen! And then to have her save an entire nation…Disney could learn a thing or two about heroes.

So, imagine my excitement when Angela Hunt, one of my all time favourite authors published this rebelling of Esther’s story. Told with depth of character and setting, we hear this account from the voices of those most intimately involved.

Providing fresh insights (love the reasoning behind Vashti’s refusal to the queen, and her later plots) to the stories behind the story. Hadassah, as she grows into knowing her place in the palace, and learns to love her husband is shown to us as the captivating girl she must have been. Captivating enough to win the King’s heart.

One of only 2 books of Scripture, (the Song of Solomon is the other), Angela has very clearly woven God’s hand through the entire story, and highlights the truth of the faith that Esther was raised to honour.  It is his faith in the One True God that prevents Mordecai from bowing to Hama, and it is the ritual of fasting that Esther and all of the Jewish people in the kingdom engage in preparation for her request to the king.

This was a book to savour, I intentionally took my time in reading the story, not wanting to leave the palace too soon.

I am grateful to Graf-Martin Communications, via the Nuts About Books and Bethany House for providing this opportunity for me to complete an independent review of this book.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in book reviews


Like a Flower in Bloom – Book Review

I am not a typical Christian fiction reader.  I am not a fan of the Historical romance, but being a voracious reader, and knowing I was heading away on a beach holiday – I was happy to receive this advanced reading copy compliments of Bethany House Publishing.

On its journey of a story, I was engaged with a young woman I greatly identified with.  Miss Withersby is an independent young woman, who is not entirely thrilled with the expectations and limitations placed on her by Society.  She is passionate about all things Ranunculus, and entirely happy and content to be her father’s assistant – drawing and writing his botany books.

Her father though, becomes convinced that all this must end, as it is time she find herself a husband.  She sets off to do just that, but planning to find someone so unsuitable, her father will never agree.  Under the tutelage of a friend, the two begin their scheme, but when it involved 2 very different men who share our ladies’ interest, things get interesting.

When life shows it has a different agenda, and even though she can’t see it, the very man her father hired to release her from her duties at home, becomes a familiar and somewhat comfortable, thorn in her side.

I found the botany references, and our heroine’s passion to detail very familiar and engaging.  I was pleased that this book didn’t follow the typical formula for romance novels, having a twist at the end that I hadn’t anticipated.  A refreshing find, and enjoyable way to spend a holiday afternoon.

This review is an independent opinion, with the book being provided through Graf-Martin Communications by Bethany House Publishing.

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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in book reviews


Merry Christmas to me!

I have been dreading the arrival of the Christmas season for more than 6 months. As we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Jesus – I am also very aware that this is the first Christmas without my mom. Christmas was mom’s very favourite holiday. She loved to bake, decorate every room in the house, entertain and celebrate her Saviour’s birth. It’s a little hollow this year, as we don’t have her excitement about our time together.  Yet, I can’t imagine how excited she is to be at the Birthday party!!

I knew that this year, I needed to have something new be a part of my Season. A way to make new traditions, and find new ways to share in the Holiday, creating memories outside of the traditions that mom was such an integral part of. But, time marches on, and planning looked like it wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to participate in something that would make a difference in more people’s world other than ours, or in the bank accounts of retailers. Little did I know that experience would be handed to me in a very real way.  One of the things that we agreed to, was that we weren’t buying gifts for each other.  It’s actually refreshing to not see a tree overwhelmed with paper and bows laying underneath it.

Six short weeks ago, I started a new job. I’m working for Prison Fellowship Canada as their Executive Administrator. My days are never the same, and it feels wonderful to be able to support those who do the day to day ministry with inmates and their families. Prison Fellowship may be better known to you through their Angel Tree program – either the Christmas or Camping branch of that, and I came on board at the office just as the Christmas program was swinging into high gear.

As part of the list of making this program be it’s best, Head Office sends out gifts to those children in communities where we don’t have individuals or churches to partner with us.  You see, across Canada, from Coast – Coast – Coast, we have inmates request gifts for their children.  Each year, that number is roughly 2500 children, aged 0-18.  Our office sent out just over 100 gifts this year (a dramatically less number than last year thanks to generous people, and exceptional organizers).

After the applications were entered into our database, and the families matched to those who would purchase and send the gifts on the inmate’s behalf, I was asked to contact the homes of the remaining children.  As happy I was to be able to help in the process, little did I know what was in store for me.

The phone calls began, many in very remote parts of our very large province, my phone calls were met with suprise, suspicion, and in most cases humility.  One grandma that I called couldn’t believe that participating in this program wouldn’t cost her anything.  A grandpa was so relieved to have gifts coming for his granddaughters, because he couldn’t get going having buried his wife in September.  One very young mom, with 7 kids from 3 different partners (all requesting to be part of Angel Tree), started to cry when I told her who we were, and what we wanted to be doing.  Just as we were on the phone, I had the joy of hearing her glee as Santa unexpected showed up at her door as well.   How fun!  I love that kind of thing, and I found my Christmas getting better and better.

Then, I had the joy of shopping for those gifts that had been requested or suggested.  It’s been a long time since there have been littles in my family, and not have my own to buy for, I loved it!  Then, just to make it better, I got to wrap them too.  Really, it just was fantastic.

Here’s the gift.  I had no idea that this kind of ministry, was just what my healing heart was in need of.  The joy in the phone calls, the honour of praying for each child as I purchased and wrapped the gifts, and the knowledge that I had just a small part in making the whole process come together was more than anything under the tree could have brought me.

Mom would have loved to hear about all the experiences in those phone calls.  I don’t know if she’s able to keep track of things down here, now that she’s a full time Worshipper in the Throne Room. But, I’m pretty sure if she knows what God has led me into – she’d be thrilled.

This year, I hope I’ve started a new tradition – loving on people, just because my workplace and I love Jesus.  Such a gift!

May you and yours know the joy of selfless sharing just because you love Jesus this year.  As we celebrate that moment when God broke into history, just to show us himself more fully – may you be blessed with the Peace that comes from know just how much He loves you.

baby jesus

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in News and Updates


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Burning Questions from RZIM – a review

I have always enjoyed anything that comes from the Ravi Zacharias Ministries. He and the ministry that bears his name are fine presenters of the evidence for the truth of Christianity, and the Scriptures.

I was excited by the opportunity to review their newest resource. A 6 session, small group study asking the “Burning Questions”. Presented in DVD format, with an accompanying website for resources, it has everything a small group leader would need to walk their group through these issues. The downloadable guide, which is only available after having signed up for the newsletter, breaks the session into “chewable” segments, and has questions to guide reflection throughout the segment.

Hosted by Andy Bannister, Canadian Director of RZIM – he seeks out the expertise of leaders and leading thinkers from 5 of the World’s main religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism and Christianity. The opening session sets the tone for the remainder of the sessions, exploring the issue of God’s existence. He then follows with Science, Evil, Truth, Biblical accuracy and Jesus.

In excellent interview formats, Andy engages well, and respectfully with all of his guests. There is no defensiveness in any of the answers, which is helpful. (on a very personal note, one of his guests, I have personally seen in a setting where his religion was not the majority – and his presentation was offensive to his hosts at best. It was a much better presentation he gave in this setting.)

I watched this with a particular population of seekers in mind, and found myself realizing that most of the material would not be accessible to them. I would recommend this for a deeply thinking, even critically thinking gathering of seekers. Even a setting with those who would desire to share their understanding of the world in a educated, yet pluralistic setting. The Christian and Biblically sound responses to the other religions are excellent. But realistically, beyond a conversation that someone without a university level education (perhaps even not without a graduate level) would have.

I wonder if the extended conversations with those who don’t share a Christian worldview might be confusing for those who are seekers, or even skeptics. I can see this resource being useful in World religions class, or for a group who is interested in Apologetics.

I am grateful to Graf-Martin Communications for providing this copy for my independent review.

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in book reviews


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