Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Man at the “Beautiful Gate” BY Heidi Dru Kortman

The Man at the “Beautiful Gate”

Acts 3:2-10

 

 

Every morning, a team of my nephews and second cousins carry me to the place where I spend the working hours of each day. My relatives divide the effort between them, because they’ve done it for more than thirty years. I’ve been crippled with weak feet and ankles all my life, and I’m over forty.

The Levites and Sanhedrin allow me to beg at the “Beautiful Gate” on the east side of the Temple. It’s a decent place. Visitors to the Temple usually bring monetary offerings, and most of them willingly do a mitzvah by giving to the poor. I’ve seen Jesus—and the crowd that surrounded him—enter the Temple grounds many times, but although I reached out, he never stopped to heal me. After this last Passover, I haven’t seen him pass any more.

I see Peter and John walk by, and I call, “A beka, a pim, by the grace of the Lord.”  They stop.

Peter approaches my mat in the shadows at the foot of the wall. He regards me for so long that I break my eye contact.

Peter commands, “Look at us,” in his raspy voice and strong Galilean accent. Most of my donors simply toss their coins on my mat.

“Silver or gold I do not have,” he says. “But what I have, I give you.”

I sag against the wall. After all these years of judging the characters of passers by, I’ve been mistaken. I need coins. How else can I buy food at the market? What could he have to give that I need more than money?

Peter’s eyes twinkle as though he knows the world’s greatest surprise, as he leans forward and grips my shoulder. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk.”

He shifts his grip to my right hand and helps me stand. My feet and ankles support me! With a hop of excitement, I take several steps away from my mat. I can enter the Temple courts for the first time, and look people in the face, instead of being looked down upon as my relatives carry my mat. When I can’t contain my excitement any longer, I jump, despite the surrounding crowds. I praise God at the top of my lungs.

I’ve been such a fixture in the temple landscape that everyone knows me. The throng surrounds us and presses so close that I hold on to Peter and John. The crowd’s gawking angers Peter.

“Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk,” he says. “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you know was made strong.”

The Temple guards arrive, and the crowd flees. I stay outside Peter and John’s prison cell, though my relatives urge me to come home. When Peter testifies before the Sanhedrin, I stand with him. I stare into each man’s eyes, and they look away, speechless.

 

 


Heidi Dru Kortman DTM

God's gifts and call are irrevocable.

heididrukortman.com.

 

Heidi Dru Kortman, a CWG Apprentice graduate, ACFW member since 2004, and Word Weaver member has published devotionals in various newsletters, and a collected volume of devotionals. Her poetry, flash fiction, and short stories have appeared in small magazines, and a website. She is applying herself to the task of writing smoothly polished fiction.







Saturday, March 6, 2021

When Twilight Breaks






When Twilight Breaks 

Paperback – hardcover, ebook

February 2, 2021


My thoughts (lvh): WHEN TWILIGHT BREAKS is the newest release  by one of my very favorite historical writers. This book does start slow but then the threat and the tensions grow, the risk intensifies and if I were there I would be fleeing Germany ahead of the war.


I really loved WHEN TWILIGHT BREAKS and will be adding it too my homeschool shelf. If you like historical WWII romance you will love this book.

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.


 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Nothing New By Sherri Stewart

 

“There’s nothing new under the sun,” King Solomon wisely wrote in Ecclesiastes. Yet we’re shocked when unpredicted events occur that rattle our world. Who would have thought a year ago that colorful masks would cover half of our faces? Who could have predicted that the first twenty minutes of the nightly news would feature snaking lines of cars carrying people waiting to get the coveted vaccines? Things happen. We have just been very lucky, and we became complacent.

In A Song for Her Enemies, that same complacency rang true for the people of Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1943. Sure, Nazi soldiers stood on corners, but they didn’t cause any trouble as long as the townsfolks minded their own business and didn’t incite trouble. Indeed, Tamar Kaplan’s father always mentioned that Germany had protected its smaller neighbor during the Great War, so it would do the same for this one. Furthermore, the Nazis certainly wouldn’t be interested in the tiny town of Haarlem.

Wrong. Just as quickly as America’s normal February with its Academy Awards, NCAA basketball tournaments, and plethora of political ads turned to chaos in the next month, putting a new spin on the phrase, “March Madness,” so Tamar Kaplan’s Haarlem turned upside down in a moment.

It started with the closing of the opera. Just as Margot, the head soprano, was threatening to quit because the dust in the theatre was wreaking havoc with her voice, Nazi soldiers marched in, proclaiming that the opera was considered a ‘group’ and could no longer continue to operate. Tamar, as Margot’s understudy, went from finally getting her chance to sing Violetta that night to a packed house, to being unemployed and unemployable, since she was a Jew.

Like dominoes, one freedom after another was ripped away, and Tamar’s neighborhood became a ghetto. In the same way, in a matter of weeks American children could no longer go to school, get together with their friends, or plays sports. Theaters, malls, churches, arenas, and restaurants closed. People lost jobs and couldn’t pay their bills, and worst of all, lives were lost.

When unpredicted events occur that rock our world, people react differently. Heroes were born as a result of the pandemic, as well as villains. Tamar went from being a na├»ve young woman, with a single ambition of becoming Haarlem’s head soprano to joining the Dutch Resistance and using her voice to bless refugees. Yet her voice became a curse.

In the same way, the pandemic has borne heroes in our own country—people who provide food for the hungry, medical personnel who put their lives on the line every time they go to work, teachers who have to teach online and face-to-face at the same time. I can’t imagine how they keep going. Unpredicted, catastrophic events are part of life, and we’ve just been fortunate that we haven’t had too many rock our world, like 2020. But it’s in the response to such events that we prove our mettle as Tamar Kaplan did in the tiny town of Haarlem in 1943.

 


Sherri Stewart loves a clean novel, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her passion is traveling to the settings of her books, sampling the food, and visiting the sites. She loves the Netherlands, and she’s still learning Dutch, although she doesn’t need to since everyone seems to speak perfect English. A recent widow, Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her lazy dog, Lily, and her son, Joshua, who can fix anything. She shares recipes, tidbits of the book’s locations, and pix in her newsletter. Subscribe at http://eepurl.com/gZ-mv9







A Song for Her Enemies https://amzn.to/2YJBkRn


After Nazi soldiers close the opera and destroy Tamar Kaplan’s dream of becoming a professional singer, she joins the Dutch Resistance, her fair coloring concealing her Jewish heritage. Tamar partners with Dr. Daniel Feldman, and they risk their lives to help escaping refugees. When they are forced to flee themselves, violinist Neelie Visser takes them into hiding.

Tamar’s love for Daniel flowers in hardship, but she struggles with the paradox that a loving God would allow the atrocities around her. When Tamar resists the advances of a Third Reich officer, he exacts his revenge by betraying the secrets hidden behind the walls of Neelie’s house. From a prison hospital to a Nazi celebration to a concentration camp, will the three of them survive to tell the world the secrets behind barbed wire?  

A Song for Her Enemies is the story of a talented young opera singer and the bittersweet love that grows amid the tyranny and fear of World War II. Set against the backdrop of neighbors willing to risk their lives in the German-occupied, war-torn Netherlands, A Song for Her Enemies is an inspiring and beautiful novel celebrating the resilience of the human spirit and the determination of Christians in the face of persecution. It is a novel for everyone seeking to understand the pain of the past and be inspired to embrace hope for the future.

 

 






Saturday, February 27, 2021

Book Spotlight: Worth the Wait (Waltham Academy)



Worth the Wait 

(Waltham Academy #1) 

Paperback – audio

September 24, 2016



 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Welcome to the Soon the Dawn Celebration Tour and #giveaway!



About the Book

Book:  Soon the Dawn

Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Genre: Historical  fiction

Release Date: February 9, 2020


Ella thought becoming a mother to five daughters a month after marriage would be difficult.  Sixteen years later, letting go is even harder.  What should be a joyous time of Amaryllis spreading her wings as she graduates from the College of Industrial Arts… isn’t.

Ella fears that Amaryllis will lose a grip on her faith, her upbringing, and the goals Ella believes she should have.  Will Ella’s mother-in-law’s high society friends puff up the girl until Amaryllis loses sight of what’s important?  If Amaryllis stays away, can Ella trust that the Lord will keep the girl safe? Can she trust Him with her daughter’s well-being period?

Of course, she can!  But will she?

When everything begins to crumble around her, Ella must decide where she will place her trust—in her own capable hands or in the Lord’s sovereign ones.

  

 

 

Marilyn’s thoughts: The continuation of Ella’s life, who is recently married to Andrew, brings Gertrude Gross from The Indian Territory’s Office of Charities to their door with five young children. Ella and Andrew did not refuse to say no to adopt the girls. Their lives had seen ups and down, happiness and sorrow, faith and wavering faith but they kept moving forward. When grief hits again and harsh words are spoken, will Ella be able to continue her life accepting God’s will and move forward?

 

Soon the Dawn is a beautiful historical fiction filled with history in Indian Territory of Oklahoma. The weaving of faith and God’s goodness is woven where joy does come in the morning after brokenness and forgiveness is given. I look forward to the continuation of A Valley of Promise series by Davis.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit with no obligation to write a positive review. I have shared my own opinion. 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author


Linda’s debut novel, Amazon best-selling The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book One in the Women of Rock Creek series, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel in 2014 and subsequently, ACFW’s Carol award for debut novel 2016. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, is set in 1910 and is the prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, which is set in 1914, Amazon best-selling The Mending of Lillian CathleenBook Two. The third novella, A Christmas Tale for Little Women, releases in 2020 and is set in 1912. It is a prequel to Book 3 in The Women of Rock Creek series, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, which is set in 1918.

Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

 

More from Linda

When the Backstory Is Tragic

 

Family lore abounds in my family tree, much of it tragic. There’s the Boyd Irish crystal heiress who forsook her heritage for love in 1747 colonial America. The Billingsley American patriot hanged in his front yard by Tories in 1776. The Brooks great-grandfather who lost his three brothers in the Civil War and its aftermath. And the De Graffenried Swiss baron who brought a group from Switzerland to establish New Bern, North Carolina in 1711 and was captured by Indians.

 

Among the most tragic stories is how my grandmother, Ella Pyle Banks, buried 5 daughters and 2 husbands. Mama Ella and Papa Tribble’s story has waited years to be told. Part of it is the inspiration for my latest novella release, Soon the Dawn.

 

Ella Jane Pyle met William Tribble Banks in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. They married in Elmore City in 1904 and welcomed seven girls over the next 18 years. Papa Tribble, a kind and sensitive one-armed man, farmed. And Mama Ella, known for her salt-of-the-earth character and neighborliness, was the one folks called on to tend their sick and prepare their loved ones’ bodies for burial. She possessed a will of iron, but her voice was whisper soft. I love the story about how Papa tried to kiss her while they were courting, and she responded with a slap. “No kiss from me until you’ve proposed.”

 

When I decided to write for publication, I knew I would create stories based on my family’s experiences. There are transatlantic stowaways, rejection by Quaker brethren, murder of a groom at his wedding reception, prisoners of war, deaths by lightning, fortunes won and lost, and more disease and death than I can imagine. With such drama hanging on the various branches, how could I not include these stories?

 

What’s an author to do with such tragedy?

 

Tragedy and loss are integral parts of life on fallen Earth, but triumph invariably attends each loss. Wellness follows disease. Light peeks through the darkness. Blessings attend tragedies. And life follows death. It’s the space between the two that intrigues me as a storyteller.

 

My task, then, in creating a story inspired by Papa Tribble and Mama Ella’s experiences was to find the colorful strands among the black, the shining light amid the darkness, and the blessings tucked into the folds of the woe.

Soon the Dawn contains dark and light strands and many colors between. But it’s the stitching—Jesus—who binds the strands together. He turns an ordinary morning into a hint of the “Sweet By & By.” As the delicate aroma of the Rose of Sharon, He scents the sultry stillness before a summer storm. And He wraps the bitterness of grief and failure in the richness of His incomparable grace.

I offer Soon the Dawn to Jesus as a tale that reaches beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary because of His grace.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 23

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 23

Texas Book-aholic, February 24

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 25 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Rebecca Tews, February 25

Inklings and notions, February 26

Betti Mace, February 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 27

For Him and My Family, February 28

Connie’s History Classroom, March 1

Bizwings Blog, March 1

deb’s Book Review, March 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 3 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 4

She Lives To Read, March 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 7

CarpeDiem, March 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a handmade 8×12 wooden cross suitable for shelf or hanging with winner’s personalized engraving on back!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1086b/soon-the-dawn-celebration-tour-giveaway












Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Part 1 of an Interview with George Robertson, Author of Soul Anatomy

How do you worship when you’re depressed? Where do you find words to express inexpressible joy? What do you pray when you need hope? In Soul Anatomy: Finding Peace, Hope, and Joy in the Psalms, George Robertson offers a biblical guide for working through emotional turmoil in a gospel-centered way.
 
Each chapter examines an individual Psalm for deeper study of the themes of peace, joy, rest, anxiety, depression, justice, God’s presence, and others. Robertson guides readers in how to listen for Jesus’s voice while walking through the hardest things of life and points them to Jesus’s humanity and divinity as they pray the Psalms along with him. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this an effective resource for both individual use and small group discussion.

Part 1 of an Interview with George Robertson,

Author of Soul Anatomy

Q: Tells us a little bit about your book, Soul Anatomy and where the inspiration for the title came from.
 
Soul Anatomy comes from my calling and a conviction. It comes from my calling as a pastor. Over the past 30 years of ministry, I have walked with people through a multitude of life circumstances that tap into the deepest recesses of the soul. While there is no one way to approach every person, every person does need to see that scripture is relevant to their situation because it leads them to Jesus, the ultimate supply for all our needs. John Calvin called the psalter “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” He meant that the Psalms enable us to understand our own souls in the midst of life’s circumstances and to bring our souls to God for his grace.
 
The book also comes from a conviction to lead God’s people to respond to God in all of the ways the psalmist does. Soul Anatomy primarily addresses five of those ways:

  1. The Psalms invite us to understand ourselves—in all our ups and downs—in the light of God’s true reality
  2. The Psalms increase our boldness in prayer
  3. The Psalms give voice to our deepest griefs and show us a way to rightly process our suffering
  4. As poetic expressions of the faith, they ground us in life-changing theology
  5. They grow us in community; they show the church how to live together and how to care for one another.

Q: You have written and preached sermons on each and every one of the 150 psalms, so you most certainly have an affinity for this particular book of the Bible. Why is Psalms your favorite book to preach?
 
That’s right—I have preached through the Psalms twice and hope to be able to do it again! One of the reasons I love to preach through the Psalms comes from something I experienced the first time I did it. After almost every sermon, someone would come up to me and say, “That’s my psalm!” They meant God had used that Psalm to remind them who he was in some particular season in their life, and they had internalized that psalm in such a way that it was immensely personal to them.
 
Another experience from the first time I preached through the Psalms was an internal conflict. Preaching through portions of scripture that are packed with emotional experience and language meant I had to learn how to become transparent with my people about my own struggles with anxiety and depression. At first, I thought those experiences were shameful, but the Holy Spirit eventually taught me how to share those experiences in such a way that I was simply pointing people to the place where I had found the supply for my own need.
 
Q: How did you pick only twenty-five to delve into in Soul Anatomy? What are some of the ones that you chose?
 
It was certainly a challenge to choose just twenty-five. Spurgeon calls it a “Treasury” for a reason. I tried to select Psalms based on two factors. First, I selected psalms that have been of special meaning to me in my own times of distress. Second, I selected psalms that cover the whole gamut of emotional experiences.
 
For instance, Psalm 1 shows us the path to living a truly happy and blessed life. In other words, it shows us wisdom. Psalm 22 shows us how to lament in the hope of Jesus’ victory. Psalm 51 shows us how to repent when we’ve sinned against God and other people. Psalm 73 shows us what it looks like to have our perspective realigned when we become disillusioned. Psalms 129, 137, and 140 show us how to process our anger in a righteous way. And Psalm 139 humbles us as it shows us the depth of God’s love for us.
 
Q: Why should we pray the prayers in Psalms as our own? What are some examples of prayers we should be praying?
 
One important reason we should do this is because it shows us how to legitimize painful life experiences and rely on God to sustain us through them. We can tend to form an unhealthy division between our feelings and our faith. We can dismiss feelings in ourselves and others by appealing to the truth. While it is right to apply the truth of scripture to all of life, the Psalms show us that we are not called to be unemotional creatures. We can both express our feelings, because we have a God who has moved heaven and earth to show his love for us, and also move forward in faith.
There is a line in Psalm 42:5 where the psalmist says,
 
                  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
                                    and why are you in turmoil within me?
                  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
                                    my salvation.
 
In his sermon on this text, Martyn Lloyd-Jones said Christians have to learn to “talk to themselves,” to “take their souls in hand” and exhort them to hope in their Savior. That’s dealing realistically with ourselves. It is fully to acknowledge our emotional struggle while vocalizing our only help is in Christ as it has been for all generations.
 
Q: Share with us why Psalm 23 is both the most loved but least believed psalm.
 
I would sum it up like this: As Christians, we all live with a kind of “redemptive amnesia.” As often as God provides our needs and as dramatically as he provides them, we are all prone to forget and fall back into fear and anxiety when we face adverse circumstances. Psalm 23 gives us the promise of God’s total protection and provision for us, and we return to it again and again as we forget.
 
Psalm 23 also counters our natural caricature of God as an impersonal, distant, and exacting force. However, in the 23rd God identifies himself as a shepherd (the most despised of professions), who walks with us through every valley, and whose goodness and mercy accompany us forever.
 
Q: What are some of the promises we can find rest in as revealed through the psalms?
 
I will mention two here. Psalm 36:9 says, “In your light do we see light.” The greatest benefit of studying the Psalms is that we come to a greater understanding of who God is. As the creator of the universe, it makes sense that understanding God better would help us to understand life better. One promise we can find rest in is that knowing and relating to God more helps us make sense of life’s sometimes perplexing realities and how we should live in response.
 
Another promise that has perhaps more acute relevance lately is the promise that God cares about the oppressed and is passionate about bringing justice. People often find the imprecatory psalms (that is, psalms in which the writer asks God to bring judgment on the wicked) surprising and even offensive. One thing we learn from them, however, is that God is a just God. We cannot pray those prayers without a serious examination of our own hearts. We also cannot pray those prayers without seeing that God will do justice on earth. For victims of injustice and those distressed at the many instances of injustice they see, that is a promise in which we can find rest.
 
Learn more about George Robertson at www.2pc.org/soul-anatomy/

Soul Anatomy: Finding Peace, Hope, and Joy in the Psalms
by George Robertson
October 5, 2020 / Retail Price: $17.99
Print ISBN 978-1-645070-38-2
Religion/Christian Living/Spiritual Growth

Click here for a preview, including the table of contents, introduction, and first chapter.
About the author
George Robertson, PhD, is the senior pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, and a council member for The Gospel Coalition. He previously served as a lecturer and adjunct professor at Covenant Theological Seminary.
 
Robertson is the author of Soul Anatomy: Finding Peace, Hope, and Joy in the Psalms. He has devoted much attention to the study and application of the Psalms throughout his career, preaching from them over 150 times and contributing the notes for Psalms 1-100 in the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible. The book relays both the depths of his personal experience with depression and anxiety as well as daily pastoral care over the past 25 years.
 
He is married to Jackie, and they have four children.
 
Learn more about George Robertson at www.2pc.org/soul-anatomy/.











 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Driftwood Danger



Driftwood Danger 

Paperback – ebook

December 3, 2020



He’s on one side of the fight to preserve Cape Corral. She’s on the other.

Abigail Ferguson wakes up in a strange place with bruises on her face and her hands bound. Someone is trying to teach her family a painful lesson and using Abigail as a pawn. When she’s able to call for help, only one person comes to mind—law enforcement officer Grant Matthews.

Grant has been crazy about Abigail since they met. But her wealthy family is a long-standing enemy of locals, and dating her would feel like a betrayal to the community he serves. However, when Abigail is abducted and needs his help, nothing will stop him from rescuing and protecting her. 

As Abigail’s captor makes it clear he has more dastardly deeds planned, Grant and Abigail work together to try to find answers. But their growing feelings—and the obstacles between them—might put Abigail in even more danger. Can the two figure out this man’s identity before it’s too late? Or will the clever madman taunting Abigail stop at nothing to achieve what he wants?

Other Books in This Series:

Saltwater Cowboy
Breakwater Protector  
Cape Corral Keeper
Seagrass Secrets

*Each book in this series is a standalone.*





My thoughts (lvh):  DRIFTWOOD DANGER is the 5th book in this series but fans will want to read the first four so they don't miss a single exciting moment.


Abigail and Grant are super sweet and both independent. The who-dun-it will keep you guessing until the end. The romance is sweet and there is a good faith message. I would like to see more about the horses but they  are present.


I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own




 

The Man at the “Beautiful Gate” BY Heidi Dru Kortman

The Man at the “Beautiful Gate” Acts 3:2-10     Every morning, a team of my nephews and second cousins carry me to the place where I...