Friday, December 15, 2017
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38, NKJV.
This short paragraph doesn't tell us a lot about this senior citizen. All it says is that she stayed in the temple, prayed a lot, and that she showed up when Jesus was presented at the temple, probably for circumcision.
When Jewish boys were eight days old, they underwent circumcision. It was a religious ceremony. Oddly enough, I have heard and read many health professionals' recommendations for the procedure, and a doctor's book (None of These Diseases) said it was pretty neat that God told the Jews to do it on the eighth day after birth--the day that just happens to be the day when Vitamin K, the clotting vitamin, is the most abundant in a baby's system.
But that's beside the point. Sorry--that was a rabbit I had the urge to chase. 😊
Back to Anna. There aren't many female prophetesses mentioned in the Bible, but Anna was one. She "just happened" to be in the right place at the right time, and she got to see the King of Kings. Eighty-four (estimated age) might not be considered at death's door now, but back in Jesus's time, this was a rare age for anyone. Half that would have been more of a normal lifespan. She had to have been still young when she was widowed. Jewish girls then usually married when they were young teens, and she'd only been married seven years.
I wonder where she lived. I thought she might have actually lived in the temple, but that might have been a stretch. Usually young widows would go back to live at her parent's home, or if the husband's family really liked her, maybe she would have lived there. One of the Jewish rules was that the deceased husband's brothers were supposed to marry the widow and produce a son to carry on the first husband's inheritance, but maybe she had a son already. Whatever, she either lived in or near the temple and spent her waking hours there. I'm thinking she probably prayed for a lot of visitors there.
And then she saw Jesus and His family. Maybe she had been with Simeon, the other prophet who spoke to the holy family. Maybe she heard what Simeon had said to them. Whatever, she knew Who this Baby was. What a blessing, not only for the family, but for Anna. I'll bet she glowed the rest of the day, and I'll bet she told every one willing to listen Who she had seen.
Seems to me that day probably sparkled in a lot of minds that day. It still stirs me, I know. Does it light up your life too?
Lord, Your blessings never end. What a wonder You are! Amen.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Oh, Goodness! When I asked the publisher if I couldreview this one, I wasn't expecting one that would tug at my heart before I even began reading it! This is a Christmas story--but there's a story behind the story. You see, the author (Golden Keyes Parsons) was killed in a car wreck in February, just as this book was in the editing process. Thanks to her family and a caring publisher (Whitefire), the book was still completed and published. As if the book itself didn't inspire a grab for the tissues, the dedication and inspiration of this family and this publisher should finish the box.
Let's go back to about the time of WWII. A mother still grieves over a lost child almost twenty years after the fact. Truly lost, not figuratively. One blizzardy Christmas Eve in the hills by Golden, Colorado, a baby girl goes missing. No clues are ever found, and the trail grew cold. Quenton and Naomi have three other daughters, but they never stop expecting their baby, although by now fully grown, to walk through the door.
Naomi tries, but every Christmas Eve it's the same. Struggling to hide the tears, staggering through reliving that fateful evening, feeling over and over that gut-wrenching fear when they found the empty crib.
Until another pregnant young woman comes into their lives. Gracie's husband is somewhere in Europe fighting that awful Hitler. She and her friends are visiting Naomi and her family when yet another blizzard strikes. And she goes into labor on a night when no medical help will be available.
As if you needed any more incentive to go get this book, all proceeds will go to help Golden's beloved husband with medical expenses. Please. Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher, but the review and evaluation are my own.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. Luke 2:41-42, NKJV.
I have to admit I haven't given much thought to Joseph, Mary's espoused husband and Jesus's stepfather. I've probably paid more attention to the donkey who gave Mary a ride to Bethlehem.
We've been studying Joseph in our weekly Bible study at church, and one thing that's become pretty obvious--God did pay attention to who he chose to be Jesus's earthly father. Joseph was a pretty amazing man.
He was a man who paid attention to the Jewish laws and customs. He took his family to Jerusalem every year for the passover, and he was very much aware of the laws concerning betrothals and marriage.
He also obeyed the laws of the local gendarmes--otherwise he wouldn't have been headed for Bethlehem at such an awkward time.
He was a carpenter. Now, there wasn't a lot of wood to spare in Israel. Most houses were built with rocks or bricks. They didn't have a lot of wood furniture. Most Jews slept on the floor, but the wealthier slept on pallets or wooden beds. Tables were only about eighteen inches high, and diners leaned on their elbows or pillows and ate with the free hand. Chairs, again, were for the wealthier. Doors were made of wood, though. Apparently Joseph knew enough about the fine art of carving and finishing wood to earn a living at it.
He taught the Son of God the trade he'd been taught, probably sharing bits of personal and professional wisdom as they worked.
Most of all, he was a man of compassion. When Mary told him she was pregnant, he didn't want to have her stoned (as was definitely his responsibility). Instead, he tried to think of a way he could divorce her without it resulting in her probable death or at least total ostracism by her friends, family, and community. Joseph knew the baby wasn't his.
But! He was also a man who believed in and listened to God! When he found out this was the Son of God, he was in awe. He took Mary into his home, making her his wife. Even if a public celebration wasn't held, a man could take a woman into his home and announce she was his wife--and that made it official. Or maybe they just went ahead with the ceremony--the Bible doesn't really say. It just says "he took to him his wife."
Thank You, God, for the care You took in finding just the right earthly father for Your Son.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
When Celebrate Lit Publishing decided to put together a book of hope for the holidays, they chose some excellent authors. This trio of Christmas novellas is a prize! All three are Christian historical romance, one set in the old west and the other two in World War II.
The first one, Picking a Bride for Paul, is a sweet-and-sour hit. Paul Baker needs a wife. He just can't keep up with his mother's beautiful house and all the ranch work since his mom passed away, so he decides to go with one of those mail-order brides. He needs help selecting one, though, and who best to help but his best friend, Theodora (Teddy) Love. Teddy has worked alongside him for years, helping with the cattle, haying, and so forth. She's not one for housework and cooking. However--this presents quite a dilemma for Teddy, who has been awakened to the fact that she's actually more than a little attracted to her best friend.
The second novella is Typhoon Prompting by Terri Wangard. She's becoming pretty well-known and popular for her WWII books, and this one is a prequel for her full-length novel Wheresoever They May Be. I've become pretty fond of this popular genre, and Terri is one of the reasons--she's one whale of a writer. This one centers around the life of one destroyer seaman, Jerry Collier. He's stationed in the south Pacific onboard the Tabberer. In a Typhoon, no less. Appetites (and sometimes lunches) go south on their tossing ship. Jerry's got a girlfriend, Evelyn, who has a job as a welder. She writes long, upbeat letters, and last time they were in a port for a few days, a whole packet of them arrived. Jerry isn't interested in marriage--sweet girls turned into nags, and noisy, demanding babies start arriving in no time at all.
The third book is A Doctor in the House by Linda Shenton Matchett. This one is also a WWII story, this time set in England. Emma O'Sullivan is a woman doctor sent to set up and manage a hospital for the war wounded in an English Lord's huge home. Archie Heron is less than thrilled to have his house overrun by a bunch of Americans, and even less enthused over Major O'Sullivan and her pushy ways. He knows a few equally pushy big-wigs, though, and he will see to it that she's sent back to where she belongs. But that better happen soon, because she's taking over his dreams and distracting his work.
Three novellas in one Christmas-card lovely cover. Go for it. Amazon.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but the review opinions and evaluations are my own.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Don't you love a good mystery? I have to say I do, and this qualifies! This is actually Book No. 6 in the Maine Justice series, and reading it made me want to go back and read Books 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5!
The last thing Captain Harvey Larson of the Portland, Maine, police department wants is a play-acting murder mystery competition, as if their station (and the one they would compete with) didn't already have enough to do, but Mayor Jill Weymouth insists it would be great PR. However, the police chief, Mike Browning, agrees with her, and so it begins.
Trouble is, it begins with a bigger bang than intended. The dead body is, well, dead. Besides which, Harvey also has a pretty serious sexual harassment case in his department to look into. Talk about timely!
Whew. Already it's looking more than a little hairy. Get the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble before anything worse happens.
I was given a free copy of this book by the author. The review and evaluation are my own.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
If this young romance doesn't touch your heart, I think you need to run--oops, no, walk or drive--to the nearest cardiologist, because there is something wrong with your ticker.
Emie is the child of a manipulative and sadistic father and a placating mother in the superstitious Virginia hill country. When her father promises her to the town bully (and son of the local preacher), Charlie, Emie said no. Not that it made any difference. And when that intended brutally rapes her just after her eighth grade graduation, Emie's father blames her for shaming the family. Even when the doctor and sheriff corroborate her story.
Ernest, Emie's brother, and Rudy, one of her schoolmates, support her, and Ernest takes her to a non-related aunt (Auntie Ada) to live. Ada welcomes her with open arms. Ernest brings her a puppy who will grow up to be her protector, he hopes. Ernest and Rudy come by almost daily, and gradually she heals in mind and body.
Danger lurks from Charlie, who is now out of jail, breathing threats because she'd sworn he was the culprit. If she won't change her story ....
Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Come of age with this torn, innocent girl.
I received a free copy of this book from the author, but the opinions and evaluations are my own.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I know, you've heard me say this way too many times already--but I love a good Biblical fiction, and this one is.
Adah makes perfume. She doesn't have a clue how to make a wall--but when Nehemiah shows up in Jerusalem wanting volunteers, she finds herself blurting out that her father's sonless family will be represented among those who will build. She, her twin sister Judith, her blind mother, and her elderly father. None of them know any masonry, but they are determined.
Adah's mother sends her and her sister after a recluse called Talem, a man who lives in a cave and seems to be a tangled and tormented man since his wife was gone. Othniel, a younger son of another man, will help. After some convincing, Talem not only leads their efforts but also brings two brothers to help.
They battle Samaritans and Ammonites who do not believe Artaxerxes has really granted them leave to build. They also fight discouragement,drought, and hunger. What will be the breaking point?
Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I received a free copy of this book from the author, who in no way influenced my review or evaluation.