Precious in His Sight

Precious In His Sight

If you haven’t read the many Christian novels on the market because you find them too sweet, too plain-vanilla, not real enough to hold your attention, or obviously predictable, then Karen Pashley, the author of Precious in His Sight will certainly surprise you.

There is no sugar-coating this real life story that ping-pongs between South Carolina and New York. The first line of the story jumps right into the middle of a family dealing with some shocking issues. The kind of developments that no one wants to talk about in Christian circles. The kind that have serious consequences.

It’s easy to see Pashley searched the depth of her soul to locate just the right characters to connect with each reader. Men and women whom we assume to be what they appear to be on Sunday mornings. People we look up to; people we look down upon–champions, enemies, and everything in between. It makes us wonder how a non-Christian views our world. How do we make a lasting difference in our neighbor’s life?   

She didn’t know much about his life…He was a religious man–she heard him talking about serving on his church’s building committee. She wasn’t sure what that meant–were they trying to build up their membership? Build morale? Or build an actual building?

The story brings us into busy, hectic lives that are filled with doubts, misconceptions, betrayal and questions, lots of questions. It holds our attention because it is never predictable. It just isn’t what we thought would happen and the author does a suburb job of allowing the reader to think seriously about what in the world would I do in that situation? instead of telling us how to think. That’s the best part of Precious in His Sight. Pashley guides us and gently moves us into finding out how God could possibly use something bad for something good as part of His plan for our own hyperactive lives.

For the first time in my life I feel I am wearing a mask. I could never understand how Christian people could be so good at hiding what was going on in their lives. Now I get it. And I hate myself for it.

The subject matter is ticklish. The characters are deep. The solution is surprising. For a first time novel, Pashley truly deserves to win the James Jones First Novel Fellowship prize or something similar. And then, we can hold our breath until her second novel appears soon!

But for now, pick this book up at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

 

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday

Help Me Be Good Series

The Help Me Be Good Series of children’s books by Joy Berry will teach your five-to-seven year old when certain behaviors are appropriate and when they are not–all done in an animated style that children enjoy and find fun to read.

The normal egocentricity of young children often leads to misbehavior that evokes unwanted responses from others. These unwanted responses can lead to a destructive cycle of negative action and reaction.

The purpose of the HMBG books is to help break the cycle of negative action and reaction. This is accomplished by each book defining a misbehavior; explaining the cause of the misbehavior; discussing the negative effects of the misbehavior; and offering suggestions for replacing the misbehavior with acceptable behavior.

One of the books in the series, “Complaining,” finds Tami trying to negotiate a sleep-over with her complaining friend, Amy. Enter T.J., Tami’s brother who constantly enjoys antagonizing her.

In another one of these books, “Fighting,” T.J. and Tami deal with each other in some hurtful and destructive ways, but quickly learn how to solve problems without fighting.

Tami: “These pens aren’t just yours. Grandma gave them to both of us.”

T.J.: “She’s right. I forgot about that.”

Family pet (thinking): “There are two sides to every story.”

Joy Berry is an experienced teacher and school administrator which prompted her to determine that materials on basic “living skills” were absent.

Joy Berry’s realistic understanding of kids and her pragmatic approach to educating and empowering them began with a childhood vow to one day “…figure out a way to give kids more control over their lives.” Her commitment was spawned by a childhood in which her parents defined successful parenting as getting children to embrace parental standards and goals.

Find these fun books in the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ.

Merry Christmas

The Cozy Corner wishes you love and joy as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. May you and your family be blessed with health, happiness and hope in the coming New Year. We will return with new book reviews the week of January 8th, 2017.

Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Psalm 98:4

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott AZ

 

Wacky Wednesday

laugh

Earlier this year, Solid Rock Library offered some fun ways to look at books and reading. In case you missed it, join us now. 

Christian reading is not all serious and grim. We could ask, where did all the laughter go, people? If you’re in the mood for a little fun right about now, start with a book compiled by Ann Spangler and Shari MacDonald, Look Who’s Laughing! They call it “Rib-Tickling Stories of Fun, Faith, Family and Friendship.” These stories certainly range from delightful right up to hilarious!  

Some of today’s funniest writers and speakers await you inside. Ken Davis has thoughts to share about air bags. Becky Freeman exposes the sensuous woman. Dave Meurer takes a manly look at menopause. Armed with the world’s ultimate vacuum cleaner, Chonda Pierce wages war on the dust mite. Sound familiar?

If you have ever been to a Women of Faith conference, you will know just how much fun this book really is and will recognize some of the writers: Marilyn Meberg, Barbara Johnson, and, of course, Patsy Clairmont. These women always deliver the best in laughter.

But most comics can not out-do children for their blunt, honest and joyful words with these mini-thoughts:

A Sunday school teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church service, “And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?” One bright little girl replied, Because people are sleeping.”

Dear God,

Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. – Larry

Dear God,

Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. – Love Joyce

Is that you laughing? You can pick up this amusing and comical book in the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

 

Things Left Unspoken

things

Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson is all about secrets. Every house has them, even if we deny this fact or justify it at the time. “Jo Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family manse in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Jo Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. And it’s the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her husband.”

This novel has more than the usual amount of chapters, but that can be very appealing. There are times when we just do not have time to read chapters with 46 pages. The nice thing about this book is being able to pick it up and complete a chapter in between making the beds and picking the kids up from school. A feeling of accomplishment!        

“Beneath the dust and the peeling wallpaper, things are not what they seem, and what Jo Lynn doesn’t know about her family holds just as many surprises. Was her great-grandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will her own marriage survive the renovation?”

The story takes place between 1938 and the present day. The idea is to remodel the old family home before it is sold along with the rest of the town to developers. And with all that activity, secrets are revealed, even at the Upper Creek Primitive Baptist Church..

For the next half hour I told my husband about the house, about the emptying of it, about Valentine Bach and his family, about the crew of day laborers. . . I told him of the barn and everything I found there, of the downstairs bedroom and its treasures. . .I hugged my knees, drawing them tighter to my chest–my heart–and was about to tell him of the delightfully wacky Karol Paisley and M. Michaels and the plans they had for Cottonwood when I heard a glass shatter from somewhere downstairs. Startled, I took in a deep breath and said, “What was that?”

This is a delightful and moving story that will charm your heart. You can check it out at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

Escape the Coming Night

stormy-sunset

Let it never be said books go out of style. The good thing about excellent Biblical writers, such as Dr. David Jeremiah, is their messages never get old. They are timeless. Escape the Coming Night is one of them. The cover description says it all, “An electrifying tour of our world as it races toward its final days.” Always a fascinating subject and complicated, if not correctly explained. It seems every generation since the beginning of time has believed the end is happening now. And apparently for good reason.

Dr.Jeremiah is an expert in taking the prophetic book of Revelation and making it clear and relevant to this generation of believers. He looks inside the last church on Earth, natural disasters, life in the Millennium, and the famous Battle of Armageddon.

The aim of Revelation is not only to present to us the coming King, but also to tell us the purpose of His kingdom. In America we hear the politicians tell us every four years why we should elect them and what their programs will be if they win office. Revelation is the account of Jesus’ campaign for the rulership of the earth. We are clearly told of His relationship to the church, His appointment by the Father to the throne, His crusade against the Satanic forces of evil, and His final victory. There is no need to count votes, for He knows the results.

Every aspect of the final days is covered in four sections and 20 chapters such as “The Lukewarm Church in the Last Days,” “Revival During Hell on Earth,” and the convicting chapter, “The Church under Glass” which will make every Christian stand up and take notice.

Here, Dr. Jeremiah uses the church at Ephesus as an example of one that looked good on the outside, but had serious “heart trouble” quoting Revelation 3:4, Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. A commentator said, “When it is the Lord who has something against the church, it is time to tremble. . .”      

Be sure to pick this one up in the Solid Rock Church Library, Prescott, AZ

  

Reluctant Burglar

a-reluctant

Jill Elizabeth Nelson wrote a series entitled To Catch a Thief. Book One is the Reluctant Burglar which centers on the art theft world described by the FBI as “a looming criminal enterprise.” Thus, the imagination of Nelson got busy and wrote a very surprising fictional tale involving a daughter, her father, and a Special Agent.

Desi had never been claustrophobic, but the walls of the stark white interrogation cubicle closed in more each second. Her lungs expanded and contracted, but oxygen didn’t seem to reach her arms and legs. A creeping numbness had taken over her fingers and toes. . .A noise at the door brought her heart into her throat. Here goes!

Having grown up with a man who was described by the community as full of integrity and honor, Desiree was left with strange feelings about what was really true. It was up to her to make things right. But how without implicating herself in the process? Nelson understandably asks, “Is it ever appropriate to break the law to protect people?”

This book brings up many questions in the readers’ minds. It challenges our thinking on issues of honesty, truth, personal limitations, and faithful friends who convict us. In the end, it’s all about obedience to God.

“There is no easy way out, Steve.” Tony stroked Desi’s hand. “We take our sins with us unless we grab God’s offer of a pardon. I got that through my thick head while I lay in a hospital bed shot up like you.”

Don’t miss the beginning of the series. It will continue with Book Two, Reluctant Runaway.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott, AZ

Sweet Sanctuary

a-sweet-sanctuary

This is the season we all need it. Hope. Kim Vogel Sawyer is famous for her “gentle stories of hope” as in her romance novel, Sweet Sanctuary. An intriguing story about a mom and her son caught up in a very difficult situation–until they connect with a doctor who serves the immigrant neighborhoods of Queens, New York.

Lydia lay wide awake on her side on the lumpy mattress, her fists beneath her chin. She’d never been so tired, yet she couldn’t close her eyes. Pictures flashed through her mind–of those three older-than-their-years children in the backseat of Micah’s coupe; of Nicky, safe and warm in his bed at home while Nic Pankin prowled the city, trying to find him; of the children Micah had mentioned who survived hidden in cellars away from the sun. . .

A mother who does everything she can to protect her son is always a cause any mother will understand. The protective instinct of a parent is inherent and does not dissolve. And this story takes on that very strong emotion. Questions arise here: when does our small, personal world become too small? When we struggle through trials, does God lead us into a greater purpose? Sweet Sanctuary tackles all of these questions and comes up with answers in an amazing way.

Lydia laughed. She returned to her seat and picked up her fork. Conversation moved to other topics, but she only half listened. Her mind was miles away. In New York. In a little apartment where a dark-haired man and a blonde-haired little girl made plans to travel across the distance. You’ll soon know. Lydia let her eyes slide closed. Whatever the Lord willed for her, she was ready.

Whether you like romance or not, this is a thrilling story that will grab your attention. Pick it up today in the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday

If you enjoy mysteries, thrillers, or romantic suspense and have never read novels by Linda Hall, you won’t be disappointed to add this award-winning author to your favorite collections. She is the author of at least 19 captivating novels including Steal Away.   

Hall asks, “When have you felt you wanted to ‘steal away,’ to leave your present life and run away?”

What took Ellen away from her famous husband yearly, to the cold, windy coast of Maine? Piecing together the life of an unhappy minister’s wife, private investigator Teri Blake-Addison trails the wreckage to a remote Canadian island. When murder rocks the community, she realizes the puzzle may not be as simple as it has seemed. This book is about choices. Ellen made a wrong choice and lived a lie for more than twenty years.

The story is fast-moving, the dialogue down to earth, much like speaking with one of your friends.  However, this novel will be hard to put down, so never mind the dishes–just save a block of time for all the fascinating events that take place. Someone even called it a “mystery within a mystery.”   

Like the police and that private investigator, Brent had his own information about the accident. He’d kept things. A few news clippings and photos. He’d even saved some cards. Other things too. Plus, he had those scrapbooks. Wouldn’t that PI love to get her hands on those!

Even though Steal Away was written a few years ago, there is a sequel out called Chat Room, so we know that Hall has many more stories to keep us interested in the Teri Blake-Addision Mystery Series!

Pick up the first book at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library soon, Prescott AZ!

 

 

Throwback Thursday

aprodigal

Remember those days of your youth when you just wanted to scream at someone, “Leave me alone!” and sometimes they did?

Shock seems to be a natural phenomenon–unusual and often difficult to understand. Jesus spent 22 verses trying to explain it to us in the Gospel of Luke and we still don’t entirely understand it.  

The prodigal son continues to this day to be a favorite subject in art, on stage, in popular music, books, plenty of movies and even a T.V. series!

We can find both fiction and nonfiction book accounts of this subject. Each gives us a different viewpoint to consider. The Prodigal is the fourth book in a series by Beverly Lewis drawing us into a beautiful fictional story in the quiet Amish communities of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.  

If you think, however, this smacks of too much taffy sweetness, Abe, the youngest son, would say, “Aint so!” It’s the story of family relationships each with its own level of anxiety, insecurity and worry: illegitimate birth, deceit, lies, and, of course, runaways. Maybe not such a happy ending after all.   

Looking down a wholly [no pun intended] different path now, consider what a mother might feel about her prodigal son. Oh! The anguish of it.

If you’ve ever had a prodigal, the nonfiction book by Ruth Bell Graham, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, will change your entire perspective whether you are a mother or a father.

It will move you to, perhaps, ask God, “How have I been praying for my prodigal?” “What am I not doing?” Graham shocks us by using five true stories of the most famous prodigals in history: people whom you have never imagined could possibly be a prodigal!

One of the most well-known figures in history, St. Augustine, addresses God and says, “…I strayed further from You, and You left me alone….” The words could give us goosebumps! How did his mother handle all those years? You might be surprised.

In the Amish tale, it’s hard to take sides. “It seemed to her [Leah] there was much to be joyful about in life, but obviously Lorraine didn’t see it that way, at least not since her younger son had forsaken his family.”

Have you ever asked what the consequences and solutions are for a prodigal and each member of his family, if any? Both of these books encourage us to soak ourselves in prayer, continually.    

Ruth Bell Graham does an excellent job of showing the hurt, disappointment, confusion and fear on both sides of the prodigal son story. She also shares with us many of her personal journal pages and touching poems that can move a person to sobbing tears such as “For All Who Knew the Shelter of the Fold” which I personally am going to frame!

Both books can be found in our church library. But between the two books, if we could only choose one to take to a deserted island, it would be the Ruth Bell Graham book as a lesson in love.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott AZ