Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

We Really Are Like Sheep January 30, 2015

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:22 pm
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sheepIn my devotional time this morning I read several verses about the human race being God’s sheep. It struck me that I had experience with sheep when I was in 4-H as a teenager. I never had given much thought to my many adventures with my three sheep I tended to-Blossom, John Eric and J.B.(don’t ask about the names I have my crazy teenage reasons).

 

When we got our sheep every year it was our responsibility to feed it, keep it clean and then walk it. I dreaded all of these chores but walking the sheep most of all. They could be so stubborn.  Many times I would literally be pulling my sheep around the yard. But, by the time the fair rolled around my sheep were usually in good shape and could easily be lead with out a leash. You see to lead a sheep you actually stoop down and hold their chin(do they have a chin?) in your hand. If they decide to be stubborn you give them a little pinch in the butt and they get going again.

 

Another chore that needed to be done before the fair was having the sheep sheared.  That was not a fun task either. I had to help the shearer hold the sheep down while all the old, nasty wool came off. The sheep did not like this, they didn’t want to be held down. But once the task was done they looked much better, cleaner, and I am sure they were much cooler.

 

When you get to the fair you have to show your sheep and they get judged. So you want your sheep to look its best, so you give it is little shower and do you know what we used to get that pure white look?  Wool-lite. The dirt ran down the sides of that sheep and then he or she would be white as snow-for awhile.

 

Then came judgment time. Everyone was hoping their sheep would be the “grand champion” then you could make lots of money when it came auction time. You would guide your sheep out into the ring, pinching as necessary. When the judge came around to feel the muscle quality of your sheep you would put your knee into the sheep’s chest so those muscles would firm up, that was the best way to show off your sheep’s muscle tone, how strong he or she was.

 

As I pondered this process I realized how much our life with Jesus really is like a shepherd and his sheep. Now, I was no shepherd, I definitely would not want to take care of a HERD of sheep, but I knew the responsibility of taking care of one, and that has taught me a big lesson.

 

We start out not wanting anything to do with Jesus, we don’t want to go where he is taking us, even though the journey is good for us, we stubbornly dig in our heels.  Thankfully, He doesn’t give up on us. He knows we have a bunch of yucky, nasty stuff to get rid of and we might kick and scream but He will cut all of that out of our lives (the shearing). When He is done we wonder why did fight so much, we do feel better and look better too.

 

After months of lovingly and patiently coaxing us to walk freely, we finally allow him to stoop down beside and lift up our chins with is nail scared hands and we walk. We still have times that we might get stubborn, but He no longer needs to pull us, we just need a little pinch and we will get moving again.

 

Then comes the real cleaning. This is no temporary cleaning, this is no Wool-lite. No, He washes us with his blood. Our sin runs down our sides and onto the ground.  We can’t believe how good we look, how clean. We sometimes even wonder, will I get all dirty again? Will I become like I use to be? And although we will still sin His blood is stain proof and it just rolls right off of us and we remain spotless. We are amazed.

 

What about that knee in the chest?  How does that fit into the picture?  When we have the Holy spirit in our soul, our chest, we are ready to show the world our best, our best is Jesus. It might be uncomfortable at times, that Holy spirit loving guiding us, pushing us to take risks. But it is also a source of comfort knowing the Spirit is there to guide us and always has our best interest at heart.  When the Judge comes-God, He will see that knee in our chest and know that we are His and we are showing him our best.

 

I had never given any of this much thought, but now it makes so much sense. We really are sheep and Jesus is the Master shepherd. I hope I feel that knee in my chest a little more often.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me..” John 10:14 NLT

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Search for the Shadow Key by Wayne Thomas Batson January 29, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:55 pm
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search for the shadow

Book Description

Book #2 in a trilogy from fantasy author Wayne Thomas Batson explores the concept of dreams and their effects on us.

Fourteen-year-old Archer Keaton discovers he has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is a dreamtreader, one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the evil lurking in the Dream.

The Nightmare Lord has been thrown down, but his throne is no longer empty. Rigby Thames has taken up the evil mantle with Kara Windchil as his queen. Now the only living dreamtreader, Archer Keaton finds himself on the outside of two worlds looking in. Dream Walking Inc. is taking the world by storm, allowing Rigby to build an unstoppable empire. Worse still, Rigby has unleashed the Tendrils, shadow people who can cross over into the waking world. As Archer’s family and friends begin to disappear, unexpected help comes in the form of the Wind Maiden, a mysterious angelic being who seems to know how Archer can rescue his loved ones and defeat the new Nightmare King. But the cost may prove too dear for Archer to pay.

Steeped in epic fantasy and intrigue, this second book in the Dreamtreaders series teaches kids important Christian values such as being a light in the darkness, resisting temptation, and keeping your faith, even when you feel like you’re standing alone.

About the Author

Wayne Thomas Batson is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Door Within trilogy, The Isle series, and The Berinfell series. As a middle school reading teacher, Wayne writes adventures set in imaginative locales because he believes that we all dream of doing something that matters.

My thoughts:

Wow. I really enjoyed this book. What a great message for our young people. The author has written a book that I believe will capture the imagination and heart of many young readers…even us older ones.

This book had me hooked from the first page with Archer working at keeping the Dream and the real world from colliding. Archer is a typical fifteen-year-old boy, kind of. He deals with liking a girl that doesn’t like him yet he also has this great responsibility as a Dreamtreader that most kids don’t have to deal with.

I enjoyed his interaction with his siblings as well. Kaylie, his little sister captured my heart, what a precocious little girl.

The messages of resisting temptation and learning to discern truth and make wise choices are so important in this book.

If you or your child enjoys fantasy but you would like them to turn more toward a Christian perspective this is a must read.

I did not read the first book in this series but Wayne did a great job of weaving in the previous book so I didn’t feel lost. However, he did make me want to read the first book because this one was so good.

Visit Wayne here.

Grab your copy at your local book store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or Books-A-Million.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.

 

Write to the Point with Deanna Klingel January 28, 2015

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:49 am
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Deanna Klingel Picture for BlogsToday we get write to the point with Deanna Klingel. I interviewed her a while ago. You can read that interview here. Read on to see what she is up to now.

Tell us about your newest book.

My newest book will be out this spring. The Mysterious Life of Jim Limber is for our middle grade readers. It’s 1/3 biography, 1/3 historical fiction, 1/3 choose-your-own-ending. Jim Limber was a real person, a freed black child in Richmond, VA, in 1864. He was being abused by a mammy who looked after the orphans in town. Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, came to his rescue. She took him home, not as a slave, but to live upstairs in the nursery with the Davis children. For the next year every detail of his life is documented in Varina Davis’s journals, diaries, letters to friends and to her husband, sharing the intimate details of her family’s life and Jim Limber as a part of it. He was with them when they fled Richmond; he was with them when they were arrested in Georgia. Then she gave him to a friend, Major Rufus Saxton, a Union officer whom she had known for many years. She told Saxton to protect him and educate him. That’s the first third, the biography of one year of this child’s life in the White House of the Confederacy. Then we move into historical fiction, speculating on how he grew up.  It is presumed that Jim stayed with Saxton who was overseeing the low country organization of the freed and abandoned slaves, and that he would have attended one of the schools in the Port Royal Experiment, before eventually moving north with Saxton. Finally the last third of the book offers three possible endings which the reader may choose, or…write their own ending. I hope many of the young readers will want to write their own ending.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I’m probably editing, rewriting or reading. I also spend a lot of time marketing and traveling.

Where do you get your ideas?

Mostly the ideas are hatched in my head or heart. But this one, Jim Limber, was handed to me. I was at a Civil War reenactment selling my Avery and Gunner books sitting next to a reenactor who was in character of Varina Davis. She was excellent! She was bemoaning how the people don’t trust her, start rumors about her northern connections, and now its about Jim Limber, and people just don’t understand. “You have heard of Jim Limber, haven’t you?” she asked. “No,” I answered. “I don’t believe so.” She told me the story. I couldn’t wait to get home and start researching it and discovered she was telling a true story. I arranged to go to the Museum of the Confederacy to research it further. The Museum was once the White House of the Confederacy, so I was able to see the nursery and all the things Jim Limber would have seen and experienced. It was very exciting. So yes, it was handed to me.

Do you outline or are you a seat-of-the-pants writer?

I’m seat of the pants, but once I get the story established, I sort of outline what I have on a story arc to be sure it’s progressing the way I want and not getting caught up in a lot of side trips. That’s so easy to do.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

Yup. We all have. Waiting With Elmer is the last one. The others have finally made it, some waited many years. Two of those will be out in 2016. I’ve recently finished a couple but I’ve just started the submissions with those.

Are you like any of the characters in your book?

Probably a little like all of them. I tend to put a lot of emotion into my characters, and it’s reasonable to assume that I use emotions that I’m familiar with, so probably that would make us alike in some ways.

Are you working on a new project now?

I’m eager to get started on a new idea. It came to me while walking my dog!

Anything you would like to add?

I really like the traveling I do with my books. I write a little mini blog about that. I post Mondays and Thursdays sharing what I’ve seen, the interesting people I meet and what I learn about selling books. Please join me on the mini blog “Selling Books” found  at www.booksbydeanna.com

I hope you enjoy the Mysterious Life of Jim Limber.

It was great catching up with you again, Deanna. I pray God will continue to bless your writing journey.

 

Review and Giveaway: At Home in Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong January 26, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:33 pm
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at home at last chance

About:

What happens when the life you’re running from won’t let go of your heart?

Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden have always had a similar philosophy of life: when the going gets tough, they get going–out of town and away from the problem. Now they are both back in Last Chance, New Mexico, and trying to start over.

Kaitlyn is working to reestablish a relationship with the seven-year-old daughter she left behind six months earlier. Steven is trying to prove to his family that he is not the irresponsible charmer they have always known him to be. As Kaitlyn and Steven find themselves drawn to one another, one big question keeps getting in the way: How will they learn to trust each other when they don’t even trust themselves?

With emotional depth and characters who leap off the page and into your heart, Cathleen Armstrong invites you to return once more to the dusty and delightful town of Last Chance.

My thoughts and giveaway:

What I liked about this book was how you could see God slowly revealing His plan for Kaitlyn and Steven. You could see how things could work out if dreams were pursued, challenges accepted.

Also like Kaitlyn’s story, kind of the prodigal daughter. Cathleen did a great job of writing about how a small town would react and treat someone like Kaitlyn. She’s different, doesn’t fit into the mold of what a typical small town girl should be.

It took me a bit longer to connect with Steven, but I eventually did and liked him and could see the goodness in him.

This was not a fast-paced read, which does go with the small town feel. I didn’t feel much urgency to get back to the book and see what was happening with characters, although I did want to get to the end to see how everything would work out.

I struggled a bit with the fact that when we were in Kaitlyn’s POV she referred to them with their full names, not as Mom and Dad, as most of us would in our heads when thinking about our parents. But that is simply a stylistic thing for me for that did distract me but might not bother others.

Overall, a nice read that will pull on a mom’s heart-strings as Kaitlyn wants to do the right thing, for once. This book can be read as a stand-alone.

Visit Cathleen here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

Leave a comment by February 4th for your chance to win a copy of this book. (U.S. residents only)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Seeped in His Will January 23, 2015

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:27 pm
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cafe-rougeMy prayer this morning was that I would be seeped in God’s will. I stopped on that thought and a visual came to mind. What do you we seep? Teabags.

 

I pictured seeping a teabag in a cup of hot water. What happens to the tea? It starts to mix with the water. But, what happens if you leave the teabag in too long? The tea is too strong, the water gets cold, it’s not good.

 

That is what happens when we impose our will on God’s.

 

If we want to be seeped in His will first we must place ourselves in His hands. He will keep the things in our lives that are His will, it will mix with His. Then we should remove whatever is leftover and throw it away, because what is left isn’t Him, it’s us.

 

Often we ask for His will and then we plop our will in His and we sit there. What happens? His will can’t be done because we are getting in the way, and it tastes bad.

 

If we truly long for His will, even if we don’t know what it is, we must trust Him.

 

We can place ourselves inside His will, even if we don’t know fully what that is and let Him take the things we have that are of His will and mix that with His heart and then we get out of the way. Don’t sit there trying to get what you want, it won’t be good anymore and it won’t ever be His will anymore, it will be ours.

 

One other danger I often see is that we say we want God’s will but we don’t even get in the hot water, we only pay lip service. Getting in the water is uncomfortable, you might have to let go of some things you care for dearly. But God’s plans are so much better than anything we could ever hope to ask for.

 

Pray for God’s will, ask to be seeped in it. Let Him get the perfect mixture and then get out of the way. Sit back and enjoy, it’s sure to be a perfect cup of tea!

 

Try this: Make yourself a cup of tea. Watch the tea mix with the water, as you do pray that God will only take what is pleasing to Him and leave the rest in the bag. As you throw away the teabag picture throwing away your will. Drink the tea and it’s goodness and know that God’s will is good and perfect. Praise Him and thank Him, for He is good.

 
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” Luke 22:42

 

Esther by Angela Hunt January 22, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:31 pm
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esther

About:

When an ambitious tyrant threatens genocide against the Jews, an inexperienced young queen must take a stand for her people.

When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler. After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king’s heart and a queen’s crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king’s permission to exterminate all Jews–young and old, powerful and helpless. Purposely violating an ancient Persian law, she risks her life in order to save her people…and bind her husband’s heart.

My thoughts:

I have always loved Esther’s story, how about you? I did the Beth Moore study a few years ago and doing that gave me a much more in depth look into Esther and the events surrounding her.

So when I picked up this book was captivated from the beginning. I so enjoyed meeting up with Esther again and getting one authors perspective on what she might have been like, what lead up to her being taken to the king in the first place?

Not only are we in Esther’s POV (point of view) but we are also in one of the king’s eunuchs POV. We get an inside look into the happenings of the castle, the crazy decisions the king makes and how others reacted to them.

Mostly, we have a reminder how God works all things for good, for the saving of many lives. If there was ever a Genesis 5020 story Esther is certainly one!

If you like Biblical fiction you must add this one to your reading material. Even if you don’t like Biblical fiction but like reading the story of Esther you should give this one a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Visit Angela here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Write to the Point with Marian P. Merritt January 21, 2015

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:03 pm
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marianToday we get write to the point with Marian P. Merritt. Read on to learn more about her.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

Hello everyone! About myself? Hmmm. Well, to start with, I write Women’s Fiction and Romance. My tagline is Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains. As a Louisiana native who is living in Colorado this describes both my stories and me. My books have a Colorado/Louisiana connection.

My husband and I live in a small ranching community in the northwest Colorado mountains. I’ve been seriously writing for ten years and had my first novella published in 2012. So for you new writers out there—don’t give up. Sometimes it takes awhile! I believe God’s timing is perfect.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I’ve always known Jesus as my Savior from as far back as I can remember, but it’s only been the last decade that I’ve truly come to KNOW HIM. It’s a relationship that continues to bring peace, growth, understanding, and trust. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

My book, The Vigil, releases February 20, 2015 from Harbourlight Books. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Cheryl Broussard made two vows: She’d never fall for an abusive man, and she’d never return to her Louisianavigil hometown. But she’s learned all too well the lesson of never-say-never. Now, back in Bijou Bayou after fleeing from an abusive boyfriend, Cheryl finds work as a Hospice nurse. While reading a dying patient’s Korean War love letters, family secrets shatter Cheryl’s beliefs about her family and herself and shed light on the reason she fled her hometown. When the Broussard family secrets are revealed, can Cheryl deal with the truth and accept the blessing of a second chance for relationships with her family, old friends, and with the God she never really knew?

All authors want to leave their readers satisfied. I’m no different. But mostly, I hope that my readers would feel they’ve been given something to ponder after they’ve read the last page.

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

My blog is primarily to help promote other authors. Each Monday is an author interview or a book blurb. Occasionally I’ll add a recipe or some interesting tidbit, but primarily I like to promote other authors. If you’re looking for new authors or new books, sign up for the Monday Author Visit. Here’s the link: www.marianmerritt.blogspot.com

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

Wow, I’ve so many. But the books that changed my path were Francine Rivers’ The Mark of the Lion Series. After reading those books, I began writing Christian Fiction.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

I’m not sure if this is the “typical” Genesis 5020, but I believe it showcases how God can place His people in positions on the enemy’s ground and turn it to good.

Last August my husband, an avid Motorcycle enthusiast, wanted to go to the Bike Rally in Sturgis and wanted me to go with him. I really didn’t want to go based on all I’d heard about what goes on at those rallies. So I prayed a lot about whether or not to attend. When I got clear direction from the Lord, I agreed to go. Most of the things we saw weren’t any different than we’d see at the local mall. There were a few things that were risqué including this one lady. Very tall and I’m assuming beautiful. Her whole body was painted red, she wore a very provocative lingerie type costume that didn’t cover certain critical parts, and she had horns. When I first saw her, two small boys (maybe 6 – 7) were walking with, I guessed, their mother along the street. As they passed by this painted lady, I thought surely the mother would steer them away. Instead she pushed the boys toward her and took a picture of them with this woman! I couldn’t believe what I’d seen. My path crossed with this woman at least four-five times during a two-day span. Each time I saw her she had a lovely smile, but her eyes were vacant. Lifeless. I began to pray for her and those little boys. I still do. So I wonder. Had I followed my initial instinct and shied away from Sturgis, would those people have anyone praying for them?

Beautiful, love it and how true. Maybe your soul purpose for attending was to intervene in the lives of those people. Thanks for sharing that.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

ASK Publishers, my Independent publishing company, was named from this verse.

This year is my seeking year. So I’m really excited to see what God wants me to find!

Where can we find you on the web?

Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Also, I’m looking for readers to be part of my Reader’s Group. I’ll have books giveaways, share things I don’t share on my regular Facebook page, and will request Beta readers (readers who read the book before it goes through the publishing process) from this group. If you’d like to be part of my reader’s group, go to the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/marianpmerritt/

It’s always exciting to get to know readers!

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

For readers who enjoy Facebook parties, The Vigil will be part of a book launch hosted by Women’s Fiction Writers Association. I’d love for you to visit. I’ll be sharing some behind-the-scenes tidbits, discussing the storyline and the setting, and answering questions about the book. I’m also giving away a copy of The Vigil. Seeing you there would be a real treat! Let me know you heard about it here, on Melissa’s blog.

Mark your calendars: February 3, 2015

To like their Facebook page and join the launch party go to: https://www.facebook.com/WFWritersAssociation

Melissa, thanks so much for allowing me to share with your readers!

Thank you for sharing with my readers. We always enjoy hearing from authors. Be blessed:)