Discipline from the Father’s Hand

From the heart of the Father
Through the work of the Son
A call to the church to be holy and sanctified

Commanded by the Savior
Authority given to the church
Discipline one caught up in sin

The honor and glory of the Lord to be upheld
Protect the flock and keep her pure
A healthy reverence and fear of sin

Do not neglect
Nor turn a blind eye
To the one going astray

Serious measures must be taken
With the aim to restore
A repentant sinner to the Lord

Proper sense of shame
A tool in the hands of the Lord
To bring one to repentance

The one who knows
Go in private to the brother gone astray
Confront, admonish with the aim to reprove

With ongoing rebellion
Bring two or three witnesses
Rebuke and correct

When faced with open defiance
Hand them over
Remove them from your midst

Be warned dear church
First examine yourself according to the Word
Ensure your heart and mind are right before the Lord

Be filled with genuine love for the sinner
With gentleness and humility
Desire to forgive

From the heart of the Father – Love
Through the work of the Son – Forgiveness
A broken and contrite heart He will not despise

By Susan Wachtel
August 12, 2018

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Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton – A Simple Treasure

One of my favorite things is finding new authors whose books I love.  I found a wonderful book and author when I read Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton.  Wow…loved this book!

The storyline is what first caught my eye.  A couple, Betsy and Ty, own a dairy farm in Alabama and they are always busy with the day to day operations of the farm.  In recent years they’ve struggled with infertility and it’s taken it’s toll on Betsy and Ty’s relationship.  Entering into the equation is Jenna when she suddenly springs a surprise on her sister, watching her two young children, while she heads off to Florida to work on photography as part of a mentorship program.  It’s something she’s longed to get back into for years.  The threat of a hurricane may not be the only storm brewing on the horizon.

Hurricane Season was simple, yet deep.  It was beautiful but dealt with the difficult and hard things of life.  It showed the beautiful and extraordinary things about ordinary lives.  I loved the characters, their relationships and looking back at what’s shaped them.  I loved the beauty of the farm and the retreat in Florida, captured so beautifully by the author.  The characters were decent good people who I would want to know.  There were some profound thoughts and observations shared throughout the book that made me think about my own life.

I loved reading Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton and I look forward to reading her future books.  I want to go back and read her first book, The Hideaway.  I would describe Lauren as a safe writer.  What I mean by that is that she takes the time to develop a story and lets the readers get to know the characters.  She doesn’t manipulate the storyline and characters don’t make stupid thoughtless decisions, just to advance the story or grab the reader’s attention.  Lauren knows how to make the ordinary both interesting and beautiful.

It’s with pleasure I highly recommend Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton.  I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookLook for the opportunity to read Hurricane Season in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Precious Friend

Precious Friend-2

She’s like a breath of fresh air
Or a ray of sunshine
Lighting up the room

Sharing what she loves
Giving of herself
She delights in, inspires and encourages others

Gifted by God
Recreating the beauty around her with paint
Capturing a moment in time with her camera

The Lord and His Word are never far from her thoughts
She’s sees His hand in creation
All around her analogies of what God and faith are like

Never an unkind word comes from her mouth
Gratitude and thanksgiving flow from her heart
A gentle, peaceful spirit and ever so kind

So grateful I am, for my precious friend

 
Susan Wachtel
July 27, 2018

 

 

The Church in Babylon Study Guide by Erwin W Lutzer – A Timely Reminder and Call to Be Prepared

In a world that seems to be fast spinning out of control, we unfortunately see some churches and people who believe they are Christians that seem to have no moorings to which they are anchored.  We live in perilous times, especially for churches that do not hold fast and firm to the foundational truths taught in Scripture.

Pastor Erwin Lutzer has written a new book and study guide, The Church in Babylon.  Its message is timely and will hopefully spark a study in God’s Word that will encourage believes to know what God says and choose to live in light of truth found in Scripture.

Topics include Finding God in Enemy Territory, Keeping the Faith in a Hostile Work Environment, Courage to Confront a Deadly Enemy, Calling out the Lies of the Culture, and Prayerless Pulpits, Satisfied Saints and Spiritual Blindness.

The Church in Babylon is thought provoking.  The study guide includes some good questions for people to examine their knowledge of Scripture and compare it secular culture’s views.  I appreciate that Pastor Lutzer is uncompromising to the truth that God gave us in the Bible and that he reinforces his arguments with Scripture.  More and more the church will face pressure and disapproval from a culture that is guided by feelings, not facts.  Pastor Lutzer doesn’t shy away from controversial topics that are affecting our culture and making their way into our churches.

Until I started reading the book, I didn’t realize it was just the study guide for The Church in Babylon.  Even as study guide, it was very good.  I’m sure I would like the book even more.

I recommend Erwin Lutzer’s new book and study guide, The Church in Babylon.  I would like to thank Moody Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read The Church in Babylon Study Guide in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

The Church in Babylon by Erwin Lutzer will be published August 7, 2018.

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley – Do you like a good whodunnit?

The whodunnit storyline of Justice Betrayed by author Patricia Bradley is what caught my attention.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I didn’t know what to expect.  I’m not an Elvis fan and I’ve never been to Memphis, but I love a good mystery, filled with intrigue and the challenge of solving a cold case.

Detective Rachel Sloan is asked in by Vic Vegas, an Elvis tribute artist, to help solve a murder mystery from seventeen years ago that may somehow be related to her own mother’s murder.  At first, Rachel’s not too sure about this, after all it’s a cold case and she’s working in the homicide division.  But after Vic turns up dead she wonders if there may be something more to the case he wanted her to investigate.

It took a few chapters before I got interested in the story.  The story started out kind of slow and there were a lot of characters introduced early on and it was hard to keep track of them.  But I’m glad that I kept on reading because before long the story picked up pace and I was hooked.

I liked the characters, especially the relationship between Rachel and Boone, and enjoyed the mysteries and trying to figure out whodunnit.  Patricia did a good job giving the reader a feel for what Memphis may be like and the fascination with Elvis that continues to this day.

I appreciated that Justice Betrayed doesn’t contain profanity and immoral sexual situations.  There wasn’t a lot of the Christian faith in this book, a Scripture verse and Rachel acknowledging that she had stopped turning to God because her prayers for justice seemed to be unanswered.  I would have liked to seen more of the Christian faith woven into some of the characters and storyline.

If you like a good mystery, that will keep you guessing to the end, read Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley.  I look forward to reading her other books.

I would like to thank Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Falling for You by Becky Wade – Romance with a little mystery mixed in

I first discovered Becky Wade’s writing in her book True to You, which I loved.  That’s why I was excited to see Becky’s second book in the Bradford Sisters Romance, Falling for You.

What I found in Falling for You was a return to the town of Merryweather, a place I’d like to visit, with characters I liked from Becky’s earlier book, True to You.  In this book Willow, the oldest Bradford sister, takes center stage with her ex-beau Corbin.  The rest of the Bradford family and friends, including Nora and Britt, are back but mostly in the background of this story.

I enjoyed the backdrop of the story, as 12-year-old Charlotte enlists of Willow and Corbin to help solve a 40-year-old family mystery of Josephine who went missing back on 1977 and was never heard from again.  Would Willow and Corbin be able to set aside their differences to help Charlotte find out what happened to her great aunt?  Would they be able to reconcile after a painful and ugly breakup?  Had either of them changed over the last four years?

At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to Willow a famous supermodel and Corbin a former pro-football player.  Their careers and lifestyle were much bigger than life or ordinary people.  I found that their emotional pain and coming to terms with their poor choices were something I could relate to.

Becky included the Christian faith, somewhat.  I think it could have been more strongly woven in to the characters and storyline.  Something I would have appreciated is to have Willow, as a Christian, recognize her past choice to have sex outside of marriage as sin instead of saying it was a mistake.  While a mistake may have consequences, calling something sin acknowledges it as wrong before God.

I liked the mystery part of Falling for You best, as well as the reconciliations between characters, forgiveness and seeing how the characters had grown and changed.  Overall, I give this book at 3.5 rating.  While I liked the storyline, I didn’t connect to the characters as much as I did in True to You.

If you like a romance with some mystery mixed in you may enjoy Falling for You by Becky Wade.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to read Falling for You by Becky Wade in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Pelican Point – A Hope Harbor Novel by Irene Hannon – Encouraging and Hope-Filled

When I find an author whose writing I like, I want to read everything that they’ve written and Irene Hannon is one of those authors.  That’s why I was excited at the opportunity to read her newest book Pelican Point, A Hope Harbor Novel.

One of the things I like best about Irene’s writing are the characters who seem like kind and caring people.  Ben is at a transition in his life.  He’s was an orthopedic surgeon with the military but is getting back to the civilian life.  His grandfather Skip’s death changed his plans and he has to stay in Pelican Point for a few weeks to deal with Skip’s financial affairs, which included the purchase of a lighthouse that is in a state of disrepair.  His unexpected meeting with Marci, who seem quite irrational, didn’t go so well despite his good intentions.  After that incident, he just wants to wrap things up and get on to the new life he’s planned.

Not only are the main characters interesting and likable people, so are the secondary characters who help flesh out the town.  I especially like Charley (and his tacos) and was encouraged to see Greg and Rachel grow and change in the face of challenging circumstances.  The characters seem very real.  The beautiful scenery in Pelican Point is described in such a way that the reader can imagine what the place looks like.

Irene writes in a way that gives you hope.  The Christian faith is a part of some of her character’s lives.  At times the dialogue is thought provoking and insightful and I highlight it because I want to read it again.

I really liked the storyline and characters and wish this town actually existed because I would love to go there.  Instead, I get to enjoy it through the imagination and excellent writing of Irene Hannon.  If you want to read a story that will encourage your faith, be sure to read Pelican Point.  Reading Irene’s Hope Harbor series is like going home to a comfortable welcoming place.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Revell Publishing for the opportunity to read Pelican Point by Irene Hannon.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.