Legal Property

* * * * * * * * * * * * * This blog is the intellectual property of Anne Baxter Campbell, and any quotation of part or all of it without her approval is illegal. * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review - PEACH BLOSSOM RANCHER by Ada Brownell

This Christian Western Romance is set in Colorado, and it's the second in the Peaches and Dreams series.

The rancher in question is John Parks, and we meet him trying to lead an unruly but beautiful black stallion into a stall in John's barn. The stallion had belonged to John's deceased abusive uncle and had been subject to repeated beatings from the man. Now that the animal was here, John intended to gentle him and use him for a standing stud. He no sooner gets the horse settled when he hears a woman moaning.

Sure enough, a woman in the hayloft is about to give birth. John and his hired man, Abe, take her into the house where Polly (Abe's wife and the ranch cook) sees to the new baby boy's delivery. It turns out Bellea was compromised by a wealthy family's son, and the family sets out to get the baby, but they don't much care about Bellea.

John has his sights set on a young widowed lady lawyer, Victoria, but another pretty girl, Edwina, also has her sights set on John.

The novel is fast-paced, and the story is interesting. You might like it! Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Morning Devo - Failing Friends and Family

My relatives have failed, And my close friends have forgotten me. Job 19:14, NKJV.

There are times when it seems like you're totally alone, and no one is there when you really need them. Why?

There are probably dozens of good reasons (they were offended by something you did or said, they don't know how to help, they don't know what to say, they're not home, they didn't know you needed them, etc.), but sometimes it seems that they've just forgotten you exist. People are fallible.

Job had to have felt that way too. The friends who came to console him instead berated him for failing to see his own failures. Even his wife told him to curse God and die. What he needed was a consoling hug; what he got was criticism and abandonment.

There's one Friend who will never desert you. Jesus will always, always, always be there--even if you deserted Him! Trust Him with your every hurt and need; He won't turn away.

Dear Lord, help me remember You when I'm lonely, scared, or hurting. I lean on You, precious Lord. Please be my crutch, because without You I'm lame, weak, and totally alone. In Jesus's precious name, amen.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday Sermonette - The New Contract

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:27-28, NKJV.

The Lord established a contract (covenant) between his people (the Hebrews) and himself centuries before Jesus arrived on the scene. The sinless God wanted His people to realize the gravity of doing wrong, and He required sacrifices of animals to atone (make up for) anything they did wrong. And no matter how hard a person tried, sins happened. Nobody managed to be perfect. The animals selected for sacrifice had to be perfect--no blemishes, broken horns, scratches, etc. They had to be the best of the flock or herd.

(Before you clap your hand over your mouth at the barbarism, keep in mind this was the same meat the owner would have for dinner--it wasn't entirely burnt up on the altar. The fat, some innards, and the blood were the sacrifice. Although a little of the meat became the priest's dinner, too.)

You can imagine what a busy time the Day of Atonement (one of the Hebrew holy days) was for priests.

Then along comes Jesus, who sheds His own perfect blood as the perfect forever sacrifice, ending the need for any further animal sacrifices at the temple. Mind-blowing for all the priests as well as the ones who followed Jesus.

Next time you have communion at church, remember His death until He comes back. Give Him thanks for the sacrifice He's done for you.

Jesus, You are perfect. Always have been, always will be. I appreciate more than I can say the love You showed to the world. May we forever remember! Amen.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Book Review - FIDDLER'S FLING by Linda Wood Rondeau

A lot of romances, even Christian romances, can get monotonous and/or sappy, right? Well, this one can't be classified as either boring or gooey. No way.

Jolene Murdock is a young woman who is upward bound. She's engaged to political hopeful Robert Ashworth, soon-to-be New York State senator, and she's under the watchful and instructive eye of Robert's mother, the woman who had become her substitute mother.

The problem is that now her father--who hasn't spoken to her since she left to work for Robert's father's law firm in Albany three years previous--is dying of cancer. Before long, she'd be an orphan, since her own mother died when she was a child. Robert's mother and Robert are unhappy that she's chosen to go home to Brookside to see her father, but she must.

What if he still wouldn't speak to Jolene? What if Dwight Etting tried to reestablish that romantic link they'd had in highschool? Worse, what if Dwight found out about...but no, that was a safely buried secret. Only she and Robert's mother know this hidden shame in her past.

Linda Wood Rondeau is a wonderful author, and I know you're going to want this one. Available from Amazon.

I received a copy of this book free from the author in return for an honest review.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Morning Devo - Peace in the Valley

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13, NKJV.

Eventually every valley has an end; and when that happens, peace will begin to hold us like a warm comforter on a cold night. The storms, earthquakes, and fires either cease or are no longer shaking our hearts. We can again hear God's quiet voice that speaks peace to our hearts. The only way is up, and up we ascend until we again stand where we can clearly see forever.

I remember one time standing on the Mogollon (pronounced Mo-gie-on) Ridge in Arizona, gazing south. It was one of those "wow" moments--so beautiful, and it seemed you could see from there to eternity.

Valleys are different. You can only see as far as the nearest buildings or hillside or forest. The view is blocked. Spiritually, sometimes the view is blocked by finances, health, or other distress. It looks like there's no way out, but there is. Listen for that still, small Voice and follow His lead. He knows the way.

Dear Father, here I am again in a valley, but I know You can lead me out and set my feet on higher ground. Thank You, Lord of my valley. In Jesus's Name, amen.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Sermonette - What's Prayer?

"In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV.

In this, popularly called the Lord's Prayer, Jesus gave an example of prayer. His disciples had asked Him to teach them to pray. Very simply, prayer is just talking to the Lord about problems you face, telling Him thanks for the solutions He's already given, and giving Him praise just because He deserves it.

Prayer doesn't need to be long winded, loud, or full of religious phrases--it just needs to be honest and fervent. One or one hundred sentences, he hears.

If you've read Psalms, you can see David and the other psalmists pouring out their complaints, but they ended their prayers with praise and thanksgiving. If you're mad at God, it's okay to tell Him. You might as well--because, you see, He already knew that. You might as well talk to Him about it.

If you're scared, that's okay to talk to Him about too. Or overjoyed about something. Or wanting something. Realize that, just like any good parent, sometimes the answer will be no or not now. The Bible says Jesus was tempted in all the ways that we are (Hebrews 4:14-16). So yes, He understands.

So, Lord, teach us to pray. Help us remember to always be honest with You and with ourselves. Help us remember to talk about the good as well as the bad. Hear us, Father, when we complain and when we praise from the heart. We love You above all, Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review - GRACE BREAKTHROUGH by Bill Giovanetti

If you follow my blog you might have noticed by now that I don't often review nonfiction, but I like what this guy posts on FaceBook, and I liked the topic: Grace. When I bought it, I decided I'd read it like a devotional--just a few pages a day--because (at least for me) it was too much to swallow in one reading.

There were a lot of passages that really got agreement in my heart, maybe these two in particular:

  • In the Bible, no Pharisee ever thought being a Pharisee was a problem. People are blind to their own legalism.
  • Your heart's deepest desires, when you are right with God, become a reliable guide to his will for your life.
Bill Giovanetti is the senior pastor of a Neighborhood Church in northern California, and I think sometimes his ear must be pasted to God's mouth. If you ever questioned what grace is and how it can affect your life, grab this book. It's available from Max Grace (if you want a signed copy), Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.