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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Separation Mentality --- Compassion, Part Four












This is part four of a study on showing compassion to the unsaved.  Part One can be found here, Part Two is here, and Part Three is here

In this fourth posting on showing compassion to the unsaved, I want to share with you a third reason why Christians aren't quick to give that grace to those who don't know Jesus.  It's something called the "Separate Yourself" mentality and many of us use it as an excuse to "get out" of "having" to witness to those around us. 


2 Corinthians 6:14, 17 says: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" and "Therefore,  'Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.'"

But then, Matthew 28:19-20 says, "'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."

So, isn't that a contradiction?  Actually, no.  While it's true that we are to be set apart from those who do not live their lives according to God's Word, there is a difference between the "unequal yoke" of 2 Corinthians and the command to go out into the world and make disciples that Matthew is speaking of.  We can't be very good witnesses if we are so far set apart that we have no unsaved people in our acquaintance or circle of influence.  The "yoke" is a joining together: a covenant and strong commitment; such as a marriage or a close friendship.  You can only get so close with an unbelieving friend before the issue of religion gets in the way.

We can be separate but still be witnesses of Jesus' love and character.  In John 17: 14-18, Jesus prays concerning the disciples: "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world."

In fact, by befriending non-believers, (keeping boundaries and self-control in place) we can actually be a positive influence and show Christ's love without initially saying a whole lot.  The Good Samaritan story is a great example of love and compassion in action (Luke 10:25-37).  While none of his words are recorded, the Good Samaritan is remembered by his actions.  Read John 13:34-35: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."  They will know we are Christians by our love!  This relationship built on good character and honest love for our neighbor will open doors for dialogue in the future.

This post was featured in The Christian Home magazine, Issue #52.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Should've Known Better: Compassion, Part Three














This is part three of a study on showing compassion to the unsaved.  Part One can be found here and Part Two is here.

In previous parts of this study, I talked about the importance of compassion in our dealings with those who don't know Jesus.  In this post, I'll share another reason why we Christians sometimes have trouble offering compassion and grace to the unsaved.

In addition to the "sense of superiority" mentality that I talked about in part two, we Christians struggle with thinking that a person who commits an offense "should have known better".  When thinking about this part of the study, I was reminded of a lady that I saw in Albertsons recently.  She had her two little girls with her and they were hanging out of the cart, singing, dancing...generally being obnoxious as she's trying to shop.  It was evening so she'd probably had a long day and her kids were wound up and likely ready for dinner and bed.  As I was bagging countless packages of meat to fill our freezer, I listened to and slyly watched her dealings with her kids.  "Stop it! Stop it! How many times have I told you that?"  All the while, she's looking at meat, checking her list, etc.---not once does she stop to look her child in the eye.  "Since you can't mind, you can just go find some other family to live with.  Go!"  Her 4 or 5 year old little girl goes walking down the aisle away from the cart...

My first reaction was to think something along the lines of, "She should know better than to treat her kids that way.  She's not even looking at them while she's spouting off all this nonsense.  I would never treat my kids that way..." etc...

The verse that got me thinking of this woman was Proverbs 5:6: "She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it."  This is speaking of the immoral woman.  Wow...she doesn't even realize that shes unstable!  She doesn't take the time to ponder life's path.  She doesn't even realize there's a better way---that money, weight loss, or a man cannot make it better.

Often times, people will make comments about our parenting style,  how nice we look, our clean home, our intelligent conversation, etc.  It can be hard not to get puffed up about that.  We can take two directions in our thoughts about this woman---or in other similar scenarios:

                Path 1: "She doesn't deserve those kids.  If they were my kids I'd...  Somebody needs to show her how to parent.  I'm an excellent parent, I'd never treat my kids that way.  Does this woman even love her kids?  She should know better!"

                Path 2: Pray.  "Lord, please bless this mother with peace in her home and heart.  Teach her about grace and put someone in her life to encourage her in her parenting and to lead her family to you.  Give her a fresh start tonight and teach her that with just one soft-spoken word, one change in attitude, she can change the whole atmosphere of her home.  Show her that this will lead to the behavior she wants to see from her children."

Another verse on this is Proverbs 4:19: "The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble."  How do I respond to this?  With compassion or with cynicism?  Do I say, "Oh yeah right, surely they know what is making them stumble!"

Think about it:  Why do the lost stumble?  Maybe they didn't recognize the stumbling block as a bad thing in the first place.  Maybe they didn't see it in the road because their eyes were focused elsewhere.  Would their walk have been any better had they had a guide?

Isaiah 30:21 says: "Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it', whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left."  Wow! The unsaved don't have that voice of the Holy Spirit guiding them! Can you imagine?  How sad for them.  Do we have compassion for them?  Do we have enough compassion to do something about it?

This article was published in Issue 51 of The Christian Home magazine.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Hour Pillow UpCycle

  Are you here for Pink Saturday?  After you read this one, see my PINK here!

One day, about a year ago, I was shopping at a thrift store in Mount Vernon, Washington, when I came upon this...
I was not just excited because of the neat Regency-era picture, the really big deal here for me was:  I had just discovered printable fabric!!!
Since then, I have found lots of inspiration on The Graphics Fairy's wonderful website and have made a couple pillows on my own. I decided to make one tonight for my March Giveaway Jubilee!

I began by selecting the graphic I wanted on The Graphics Fairy, then I create a correctly-sized text box in Word.  The size of my text box depends on how big I want the picture to be on my pillow.  I insert the picture into the text box, then I print it off onto printable fabric.
Next, I assemble my supplies.  I use Elmer's Craft Bond spray adhesive, which bonds really well right away, so I've got to work quickly once I get that sprayed on.  I find my pillows at thrift stores. I take them home, toss them in the wash, and then trim off any loose strings that might be hanging around...good as new!
I always like to position my graphic onto the pillow to get a feel for how it will look.
Then I peel the backing off of the fabric piece and spray it with the glue.  I do the pillow too.
I very gently tap the picture down.  I don't want any wrinkles at all in the fabric.  I also don't want to smear the wet ink.
I knew my pillow definitely needed something extra...but what?  I quickly decided against paper flowers and moved on to something else.
Yes! Raid the vintage jewelry collection!!
I decided on this vintage gold brooch because the swooping design of it reminds me of a bird (there are birds on the graphic I'm using---click on the pictures to enlarge if you need to).  I also chose this purple and gold earring set.  I can use the second earring on a bottle or something to go with this pillow.
Now what this pillow needs is some trimmings!
I found a length of pretty blue vintage lace.
Then I found this cute eyelet trim for around the graphic...but, OH! There's not enough!
Hooray for thrift store finds...I knew this would come in handy!
But, I don't really like the trim all the way around the graphic after all...so I go back to the way I had it!
Now it's time to glue!
I did end up finding a place for those paper flowers after all---I put them at the ends of the eyelet trimming.  See the pretty pink flowers there?
I think this turned out super cute---what do you think?  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Homemaking Link-Up Weekend and Pink Saturday

Want to see something adorable?
There's more!

Early this month, Daddy wrote Lynzie (12) and Selah (5) an invitation to the Daddy Daughter Dance!
He made reservations at Le Restaurant Coller, the PINKest place in town!

They ordered their dresses to be made by Madam Coller's Fine Apparel.  A good time was had by all!
Don't forget the quarterly Giveaway Jubilee for the month of March! Would you like to participate as either a giver, a winner, or both?  Click my adorable new button for all the details!
Spring Giveaway 

Jubilee


And...now it's time for this week's Homemaking Link-Up Weekend!

Would you like to participate in the party each week but just can't remember to link up?  There's a couple things I can do to help you out with that!  First, there's a cute button at the top of my sidebar that you can put on your blog to serve as a reminder for you---and an advertisement for me!  Secondly, I will send you an email reminder!  I send out a short email to participants who've participated on Wednesday nights to remind everyone about the party.  Please let me know in the comments below if you'd like me to remove you from that list!


I'd love to have you link up your homemaking posts below!  Hope you have a GREAT weekend!

Also linking with:









Sunday, February 19, 2012

Showing Compassion-- Part Two

This is part two of a study on showing compassion to the unsaved.  I posted part one last week---you can read that here.

As I said last week, the Bible says that, as Christians, we are called to compassion.  1 Peter 3:8-9 instructs us in this way:  "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another;  love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."

Unfortunately, we often refuse to show compassion to those around us who need it the most.  There are several reasons for this and, if we're honest, we'll see that we are all guilty of the hypocrisy of ignoring those whom Christ would have us minister to.

One reason why we are not compassionate toward the unsaved is that we have a Sense of SuperiorityProverbs 6:16-17 says this"These six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him:   A proud look..."  There are times when we observe someone who is obviously unsaved and we think things like, "I'm better than that."  "I would never do that."  Etc.  This dangerously prideful attitude is displayed obviously on our faces. 

What's that you say?  You've never had the proud look?  You don't even know what it looks like?  Well, then this would be the perfect time for you to go look in the mirror so you can see exactly what it looks like!  In all seriousness though, think about a time when someone has given you the proud look.  It was very obvious, wasn't it?  They might have been trying to hide it, but you saw it didn't you?  Don't be fooled into thinking you can hide the proud look too!  Something that is so important to remember is that many people, especially those who have been hurt by Christians before, are very discerning of false kindnesses and false behavior.

How can I get rid of my proud look?  It's a simple answer but not so easy to put into practice!  Our proud looks will disappear when the sense of superiority is erased from our hearts!  Once we stop thinking we are "better than that" or that we are "above that behavior" and acknowledge that "all have sinned and fall(en) short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), we will have no more problems with the proud look because we won't feel superior anymore!

Confession time!  Do you have a problem with a sense of superiority like I sometimes do?  Comment and let me know.  Next time, I'll share another reason why we're not quick to offer compassion and grace to the unsaved in our lives.

Don't forget the quarterly Giveaway Jubilee for the month of March! Would you like to participate as either a giver, a winner, or both?  Click my adorable new button for all the details!
Spring Giveaway 

Jubilee

This article was featured in the 50th edition of The Godly Home magazine.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

Really...Need I say more??  Kynthia Joy, 6 months and Michael Wayne, 10 yrs.
Don't forget the quarterly Giveaway Jubilee for the month of March! Would you like to participate as either a giver, a winner, or both?  Click my adorable new button for all the details!
Spring Giveaway 

Jubilee


And...now it's time for this week's Homemaking Link-Up Weekend!

Would you like to participate in the party each week but just can't remember to link up?  There's a couple things I can do to help you out with that!  First, there's a cute button at the top of my sidebar that you can put on your blog to serve as a reminder for you---and an advertisement for me!  Secondly, I can send you an email reminder!  I send out a short email to participants who've requested one on Wednesday nights to remind everyone about the party.  Please let me know in the comments below if you'd like me to do that for you!


I'd love to have you link up your homemaking posts below!  Hope you have a GREAT weekend!

Also linking with:






Sunday, February 12, 2012

Showing Compassion-- Part One

A few months back, I began reading Proverbs again.  I was doing a little "research" for a study I wanted to put together on the wisdom Proverbs provides to women.  I'm sure I'll complete that study one of these days but a couple days into it, my focus turned toward another topic:  showing compassion to the unsaved.  This is part one of a study I shared with a group of women at church recently. 

Let me begin with the question that got the ball rolling for me:  Do I extend the same compassion to others that was extended to me;  not only by Christ, but by His church?

Growing up, my family was a moral family.  My parents taught my brother and I the basics of right and wrong and my mom encouraged me to take my troubles to Jesus in prayer, but we weren't practicing Christians necessarily and we definitely were not a churched family.  Although we knew about Jesus, we didn't really know Him.  We were unsaved.  (Happy to say that my parents are now also my brother and sister in Christ!) I can remember many occasions when I'd attend church off and on with friends, that people showed me the compassion and grace that Christ showed those he encountered while on Earth.  While it was obvious by my attire (or lack of it), my character, and the company I kept, that I was not walking with Jesus, the people at church still treated me with respect and dignity.  They invited me to events, talked to me about my interests, and made me feel like I was part of the family.  I credit these compassionate, spirit-filled people for making a big impact on the grounded-in-Christ person that I am today!

(Speaking to Christians here) Most of us come into contact with people, sometimes on a daily basis, who are obviously not walking with Jesus.  Maybe they are saved but are just having a really hard time showing it that day---maybe they're living a life that is obviously not centered on Him.  There are several reasons why we may choose not to show them compassion.  I'll speak to those over the next few days.  The one thing we need to remember though is this:  we are called to compassion.  1 Peter 3:8-9 instructs us in this way:  "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another;  love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."

When we understand and acknowledge what Christ did for us, we will be compelled to extend that same compassion to others.  Consider Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  If Jesus would go so far as to die for us, couldn't we at least try to be a little understanding of those around us who appear to be walking blindly?

There are many things we can do to show compassion to the unsaved around us.  Our character, who we are day in and day out, is the biggest testament to Christ.  Compassion needs to be a character trait and not something we just put on and off on a whim.  In addition to developing a genuine character, we can also:

1.  Think before we speak:  Proverbs 15:28 says, "The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil."  It really pays off to contemplate our words before spewing them out.  Words stick around so much longer than actions and reverberate in our memories...they can build up or break down.

2.  Let our actions do the speaking:  1 Peter 3: 1-2: "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear."  Now there's a lot in that verse that I won't even go into right now, but the main point is that our actions will speak so much louder than our words when it comes to having integrity and being genuine.  People will be drawn to Christ when they see His character embodied in us, His people.  This is what it means to be "the body of Christ".  We are to be the physical representation of Christ in our words, thoughts and actions.

3.  Practice unselfishness & looking out for others:  Philippians 2:3-4: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."  How will my thoughts/actions affect those around me---both Christians and non-Christians---and not only now, but when they're ready to make a decision for Christ?  There are people in our lives to whom we may be the only representation of Christ that they will see.  I can think of one specific person who is very close to me that does not run with a Christian crowd.  I must emulate Christ to this person because I might be the only one who ever will!  We must practice what we preach by giving others grace when they do or say things that offend us.  A holier-than-thou attitude is one of the biggest turn-offs related to Christians!  If we have been a positive and genuine figure in the life of an unbeliever, we may have the opportunity to be the catalyst through which they someday find relationship with God!

Over the course of this study, I'll share some reasons why we Christians are not so quick to offer compassion and grace to the unsaved, as well as share with you how Jesus treated those the Bible calls "sinners".  Please leave a comment, if you've got time, and let me know how you've been affected by Christian compassion---either on the giving or receiving end.

This post was published in The Christian Home magazine, Issue #49

Linking With: A-Wise-Woman-Builds-Her-Home

Friday, February 10, 2012

Girls Day Out and Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

Hello!  Welcome to another great Homemaking Link-Up Weekend!  I sure hope you've had a lovely week!  I don't know about you, but I am SO ready for some relaxation time!  Here is a cute ATC I worked on late last night.  I was ready for bed but knew I had this swap to do and wanted to do ONE more productive thing...so I made this!  The lace at the top was hand-crocheted by a Finland friend's great-grandmother and the feather was found by one of my sweet kids!
Today, Lynzie, Selah, and I went for a LONG shopping day in Eastern Washington!  The girls wanted to dress up like Anne of Green Gables and her friend, Diana Barry. 
While we were in Michael's Craft Store, I came across this cute craft made from terra cotta pots!  Adorable!
However, this awesome microwave at Target takes the cake!  Isn't this adorable??  I wonder how much convincing my husband would need.... (ETA: wouldn't you know it---I told my husband about it and now he's like "GET IT"!!! Ha! Gotta love someone who appreciates my weird quirkiness! :)

Don't forget the quarterly Giveaway Jubilee for the month of March! Would you like to participate as either a giver, a winner, or both?  Click my adorable new button for all the details!
Spring Giveaway 

Jubilee


And...now it's time for this week's Homemaking Link-Up Weekend!

Would you like to participate in the party each week but just can't remember to link up?  There's a couple things I can do to help you out with that!  First, there's a cute button at the top of my sidebar that you can put on your blog to serve as a reminder for you---and an advertisement for me!  Secondly, I can send you an email reminder!  I send out a short email to participants who've requested one on Wednesday nights to remind everyone about the party.  Please let me know in the comments below if you'd like me to do that for you!


I'd love to have you link up your homemaking posts below!  Hope you have a GREAT weekend!

Also linking with:


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shabby Chic Chandelier --- Guest Post

I am so happy and honored to have my good friend Rachel from Bubbly Nature Creations here guest posting today!  I have been inspired countless times by her unique creativity and bubbly personality!  So many of you have commented on how much you love my blog design---we have Rachel to thank for that, as she is the one who put it together for me!  Enjoy the tutorial and be blessed!
 Hi everyone!  My name is Rachel from Bubbly Nature Creations and  I am
so excited to be featured here on Sarah's blog!!!  She is such a
sweetie and I love her
kind and gentle spirit.  She lifts me up in so many ways and I am so glad to be
her friend!  I also love her blog and wanted to share with all of
you over here how to make a regular chandelier, or other type of hanging light, into a
cute Shabby
Chic Chandelier just in time for Valentine's
Day!  



what you will need: 
strings of pearls and beads- fake or real if you wish... mine are
totally fake! (make a color scheme from these) 
a few yards of lace
ribbons in coordinating colors 
 First take your strings of pearls and beads and wrap them around
the inside so that they hang down the middle.  It doesn't have to
be perfect either! 
Then take your lace and start hanging it between the lights... tie the
two ends of the lace together and just adjust how they hang down from
there.  Next tie little ribbons to the light posts and then you
have your cute shabby chic chandelier!!! Wasn't that so easy?!?
I really love the way
that this turned out!  I am thinking of going to the
dollar jewelry store for some Easter colored
beads
next! 
Happy Creating!!! 
Bubbly Nature

Be sure to visit my
blog
this week to find out more about my Valentine's
decor... I will be offering a tutorial on how to make
these: 
and I also have a great post about a Valentine's Themed
Iced Coffee Party
  which shows everything that I
have made for Valentine's decor... well so far! :P
Thanks for letting me come and
share
this with you today!!! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter Promise by Martha Rogers --- Book Announcement

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Realms (January 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






Martha Rogers is the author of Becoming Lucy; Morning for Dove; Finding Becky; Caroline’s Choice; Not on the Menu, a part of a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo; and River Walk Christmas, a novella collection with Beth Goddard, Lynette Sowell, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. A former schoolteacher and English instructor, she has a master’s degree in education and lives with her husband in Houston, Texas.



Visit the author's website.





SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




A painful past has left Doctor Elliot Jensen uninterested in love.



Until he meets Abigail.



Single, educated, and looking for a new start, Abigail Monroe decides to join her brother and his wife in Portersville, Texas. Near her twenty-fifth birthday and without a suitor, she fears she will become a spinster if she stays in Briar Ridge, Connecticut.



A sprained ankle sends Abigail to the new doctor in town, Elliot Jensen. He is smitten, but tragedy in his past has left him bitter, guilt ridden, and afraid to fall in love again.



When the town’s deputy sheriff rescues Abigail after a robbery, Elliot’s feelings for her get stronger. He is jealous of the attention Abigail is getting, but he fears he can’t compete with the handsome deputy sheriff and his heroic deeds.



Has he waited too long to share his feelings for her? Or will Christmas bring them both the gift they seek?



Set in the late 1800s, the Seasons of the Heart series follows the lives of four women and their families, weaving together their stories of faith, life, and love as they bond in friendship only God could orchestrate.




Product Details:

List Price: $13.99



Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Realms (January 3, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616384980

ISBN-13: 978-1616384982



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Porterfield, Texas, 1890


Porterfield, next stop in ten minutes.” The conductor’s announcement sent the butterflies to dancing again in Abigail Monroe’s stomach. Ever since they entered the state of Texas,

her mind had flitted from one thing to the next in a series of images that blurred one into the other. What she remembered from her visit last spring had been enough to give her the

desire to return as a permanent resident.

All around her passengers began gathering their belongings and preparing to leave the train. Mrs. Mabel Newton, who had accompanied her on the trip, adjusted her hat and picked

up her handbag. “Well, your adventure will begin shortly.”

Abigail grinned at the elderly woman. If it had not been for Rachel’s aunt’s desire to come west to visit her daughter, this trip may have been delayed indefinitely. “Thank you so

much for coming with me, Aunt Mabel. You know how Father worried and didn’t want me to travel alone.” Abigail had fallen into calling the woman “Aunt Mabel” due to her close friendship with Rachel.

“And well he should have been. It isn’t safe for a young woman of your standing to be crossing the country by train without an escort.” She tilted her head toward Abigail, and the

feathers on the black hat covering her gray hair quivered with the movement.

Her parents had at first refused to even consider such a move for their only daughter, but as they began to realize that she was almost twenty-two years of age, their objections lessened.

They had been in Porterfield a few months earlier for the wedding of Daniel, Abigail’s brother who came to Porterfield a year ago as the town’s only attorney. Now he served as county attorney and prosecutor. When Mabel Newton had said she wanted to visit her daughter and niece, Father had finally agreed to let Abigail go.

Another factor in her decision to leave Briar Ridge had been Rachel Reed, her very best friend since childhood. Rachel’s husband, Nathan, had taken Daniel’s place as an

attorney for the citizens of Porterfield, and now they too lived in the Texas town. As far as Abigail was concerned, God had orchestrated a great symphony of opportunities, and she had

seized the score to become a part of the music.

“Aunt Mabel, do you think my plan for establishing a library is a sound one? Nathan and Daniel have found a building they think is suitable and will negotiate the purchase

of it if I approve.” “Every town needs a library whether they know it or not. Your brother and Nathan have good judgment, so the place must be about perfect.”

A snicker escaped Abigail’s throat. Daniel had always been her protector, and if the building suited him, it most definitely would suit her. She’d been so angry with him for leaving her

behind in Briar Ridge last year. Of course he thought it was because she’d miss him, but it was really because she’d been jealous of his new adventure.

“I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you and that young Wentworth. He seemed very interested in you when you and Rachel were in Boston.”

Abigail had been interested too at first, but when she realized what all would be expected of her as the wife of a Wentworth, her interest cooled, and so had his. Now she had this new adventure ahead of her.

“It worked out for the best, but life became so dull in Briar Ridge without Rachel or Daniel that I could hardly bear it. I’d grown tired of entertaining with Mother and taking part on church committees. I want to do something on my own for a change.”

“I see. So the fact that Porterfield has an overabundance of single men of all ages didn’t have anything to do with your decision.” Aunt Mabel’s blue eyes sparkled with merriment.

Abigail’s cheeks filled with heat. She truly wasn’t interested in finding a husband anytime soon, even if other people thought so. The train whistle screeched through the early

afternoon air. Abigail clutched her handbag and closed her eyes. Please, Lord. Don’t let this be a mistake. Help me to dothe things I want to do for Porterfield with books and accept

whatever else You have planned for me.

The train stopped with a jolt that sent her forward with

a lurch. She assisted Aunt Mabel with her bag then followed

the older woman down the aisle. Dozens of people lined the

platform waving as the train emptied itself of its load of passengers.

As she stepped from the train car, Abigail scanned

the crowd, and her heart leaped with joy when she spotted

Rachel.

Rachel rushed forward and grabbed Abigail. “Oh, I’m so

glad you’re finally here. I thought the last three months would

never end.” Then she turned to hug her aunt. “I’m glad you’re

here too. With Seth, Sarah, Abigail, and you, I won’t feel at

all lonesome, not that I could the way the Muldoon clan has

taken us in.”

“When I met them at Daniel’s wedding, I knew they would make all of you feel right at home. I’m anxious to talk with Mrs. Sullivan again.” Abigail had been impressed with

the boardinghouse and looked forward to living there.

“You’ll get to see her soon enough. She’s waiting for you and has your room all ready. The Muldoons are having us all for dinner at the ranch tonight.”

That meant a quick study of the members of the Muldoon family would be in order before the trip out there. She hugged Rachel again and noted the glow in her eyes and face. “You

must really be happy here with Nathan.”

Before she could answer, Aunt Mabel stepped back and

eyed Rachel. “My dear, are you in the family way?”

Heat flooded Rachel’s cheeks, and she grinned. “Yes, I am, and so is . . . “ She clapped her hand over her mouth. “Oh, I almost slipped. She wants to tell everyone herself at dinner.”

Abigail ran through the list of possibilities. Kate? Erin? Sarah again? Whoever it was, the baby would be welcomed by many loving aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Arms wrapped around her shoulders from the back, and she craned her neck to see who it could be. “Daniel!” She turned and hugged her brother. “Isn’t this exciting? I’m here at last. We had a delightful train trip, and I can’t wait to see your new house. And where’s Kate?”

“Hey, slow down, little sister. No need to get it all out at once, but to answer your question, Doc Jensen and Elliot had an emergency at the infirmary, so she’s there. She said she’d meet us wherever we were when she finished.”

“I believe Aunt Mabel will be staying with Sarah and Donavan. At least that’s what she plans on. Mrs. Sullivan said she has a room for me at the boardinghouse, so that’s where I’m headed.”

Daniel frowned and peered at her. “But Kate is hoping you’ll live with us.”

“Oh, Daniel, you two are newly married. Besides, I’d rather be closer to town so I can take care of the library.” Kate and Daniel didn’t live far from town, but her staying at the boardinghouse would be less of an intrusion on their new marriage.

They headed toward the cart where the baggage had been unloaded. Aunt Mabel busied herself with telling Rachel all about the trip cross-country. Abigail gazed at the town beyond

the depot. Porterfield, Texas, would be her home now, and it looked just as friendly and nice as it had when she’d been here in the spring. A little more primitive than Briar Ridge, it still

had all the stores and businesses one could need, including a delightful bakery.

Daniel heaved down a trunk and headed to his surrey with it. Abigail walked along beside him and noted how the men stopped to stare. Her cheeks filled with heat. She may as well

be on display in a store window.

“I didn’t realize . . . never mind.” She grinned and hopstepped to keep up with her brother.

He pushed the trunk onto the floor behind the front seat.

“By the way, the building Nathan and I have in mind for you is across the street from the infirmary. It’s where the land offices were until the new courthouse opened. Now it’s vacant, and it’s just about the size you’ll need for the library.”

“I’m sure it will be fine if you and Nathan think so.” She shook her head and giggled as they headed back for more of her things. “I still can’t believe he and Rachel moved away from Connecticut. I always figured that when they did move, it would be to North Carolina, his home.”

Another man had joined the group and helped unload Aunt Mabel’s bags. She recognized him as one of Kate’s older brothers she had met at the wedding. What was his name? Oh, yes, Cory, the lawman and only single male in the Muldoon family, as well as one of the most handsome men Abigail had ever met.

Daniel grabbed her arm and took her over to greet him. “You remember Cory, one of Kate’s brothers.”

Abigail smiled and extended her hand. “I certainly do. You and your brothers were quite the pranksters at the wedding.”

Red tinged Cory’s well-tanned face. His eyes, more green than blue, sparkled with humor. He pushed his white Stetson back on his head, revealing sandy red curls on his forehead, much like her brother’s dark ones. “Guilty as charged, but we had to make up for not doing anything at Erin’s. Didn’t want to play tricks on the reverend.”

Getting to know the Muldoon family would be fun, but getting to know Cory might be even more so. Perhaps she should reconsider her decision not to become involved with any of the eligible young men in Porterfield.

Elliot finished the stitches to close the wound on the balding head of Cyrus Fuller. He’d tripped coming out of the bank and fell, cutting his head on the edge of the boardwalk. Elliot used five stitches to close it. “There, now, Mr. Fuller. You’ll be right as rain. Come back to see me in a few days and let me check on the stitches. Don’t get it wet for a while.”

He pushed back his rolling stool and picked up a bottle. “If you experience any pain, take a few drops of this and it should be all right, but don’t take more than a few drops. Understand?”

The bank teller nodded and took the bottle. “I do, and I won’t take it unless I really need it.” He stood and grasped the edge of the bed for support.

Kate Monroe picked up the tray with the suturing supplies and equipment. “Aunt Mae will make certain you’re comfortable, Mr. Fuller. She’ll take good care of you.”

The man’s face, including his bald head fringed in gray, turned a bright red. “I’m sure she will, but I don’t want her to go to any trouble.”

Kate laughed. “It won’t be any trouble. You know that.”

Elliot turned to put the bandages back in the cabinet to hide his smile. Everyone in town knew Cyrus Fuller was sweet on Aunt Mae, and she didn’t spurn his attention either. This

was one patient he wouldn’t have to worry about.

He walked with Mr. Fuller to the front door of the infirmary just to make sure the man was steady on his feet. At the door Cyrus shook Elliot’s hand. “Can’t thank you enough, Doctor Jensen. You did a fine job, and it hardly hurts at all. Tell your uncle I said hello.” He lifted his hat to set it on his head, felt the stitches, and promptly put his hand down, still holding the hat.

Mr. Fuller took off in the direction of the boardinghouse, a few blocks down the street. Elliot continued to observe the man as he made his way home. Satisfied that he was all right, Elliot turned to walk back inside when he spotted Daniel in a buggy with a young woman beside him. Her golden brown hair peeked from beneath a black hat trimmed with yellow flowers, which matched the yellow dress she wore. She shifted her gaze toward him and locked with his. Something inside Elliot clicked, and a feeling he hadn’t experienced in a long time came over him.

Elliot looked away and forced the emotion back into the deep recesses of his soul. He’d never let those feelings back into his life. They hurt too much.

A voice beside him caused him to blink his eyes and turn. “What did you say?”

Kate stood beside him. “I said that’s Abigail, Daniel’s sister. She was at his wedding, and she’s come to live here in Porterfield. Remember I told you about her coming to set up a

library for the town?”

“I remember.” But he never expected her to be so pretty. He cleared his throat and hurried back into the infirmary. He needed to clean up the room where they’d just worked on Mr.

Fuller, and it would help him forget the girl in yellow.

Kate’s voice followed him. “If you don’t have anything else for me, I’m going to run down to Aunt Mae’s and meet up with Daniel and Abigail. I’ll be there if you need me.”

He waved her out. Kate was a good assistant. He and his uncle had come to depend on her for so many things at the infirmary. Doc should be back shortly, that is if everything went well at the Blalocks’ place. Mrs. Blalock didn’t usually have trouble with her deliveries, and as this was the fifth one, no problems were anticipated today.

Cleaning up didn’t take long, and when he’d finished, Elliot went to the desk to fill out a report for Cyrus Fuller’s medical file. The image of Abigail Monroe swam before his eyes. Porterfield sadly lacked young women of marrying age, so Elliot had no trouble staying away from what social life existed in town. He’d left Ohio with the vow that he’d never become

involved with a young woman again. Everything had been fine until today when that little spark had jumped in his chest.

“I hear Cyrus Fuller had an accident. Get him all taken care of?”

Elliot jumped and dropped his pen. He greeted his uncle. “When did you come in? Yes, he’s fine. How did things go at the Blalocks?”

His uncle grinned and set his bag on the desk. “Just like it should. This little boy decided to take longer than necessary, but he’s good and healthy.” He removed his hat and hung it on

a hook then removed his coat. “I saw Daniel Monroe with a pretty young woman down at Mae’s. Must be his sister from back east.”

“It is. Kate was here to help with Cyrus, and then she left to go meet them.”

“She’s a pretty little thing from what I remember of last spring. It’ll be nice to have a young woman like her around her for a change. You, Cory, and Philip Dawes are about the most

eligible young men in town, and one of you ought to set your sights on her.”

“There’s a lot of men over at the sawmill, and many more on the ranches. That’s why Frank Cahoon and Allen Dawes sent off for those brides. Remember?” So many other men in town would take an interest in Abigail and keep her busy. He’d managed to stay clear of any kind of relationship so far, and that was just the way he wanted it. Never again did he want to feel the pain he’d experienced in Cleveland.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Frontline Pub Inc (January 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Jonathan Cahn leads Hope of the World ministries and the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel, a worship center made up of Jew and Gentile, people of all backgrounds, located in Wayne, New Jersey. His teachings are seen on television and radio throughout the nation and are known for their prophetic significance and their revealing of deep mysteries of God’s Word.



Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




Is it possible…



That there exists an ancient mystery that holds the secret of America’s future?



That this mystery lies behind everything from 9/11 to the collapse of the global economy?



That ancient harbingers of judgment are now manifesting in America?

That God is sending America a prophetic message of what is yet to come?

Before its destruction as a nation, ancient Israel received nine harbingers, prophetic omens of warning. The same nine harbingers are now manifesting in America—with immediate ramifications for end-time prophecy.



Hidden in an ancient biblical prophecy from Isaiah, the mysteries revealed in The Harbinger are so precise that they foretold recent American events down to the exact days. The revelations are so specific that even the most hardened skeptics will find it hard to dismiss or put down. It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller – with one exception… IT’S REAL.



The prophetic mysteries are revealed through an intriguing and engaging narrative the reader will find hard to put down. The Harbinger opens with the appearance of a man burdened with a message he has received from a mysterious figure called The Prophet. The Prophet has given him nine seals, each containing a message about America’s future. As he tells of his encounters with The Prophet, from a skyscraper in New York City, to a rural mountaintop, to Capitol Hill, to Ground Zero, the mystery behind each seal is revealed. As the story unfolds, each revelation becomes a piece in a greater puzzle – the ramifications of which will even alter the course of world history.










Product Details:

List Price: $16.99



Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Frontline Pub Inc (January 3, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 161638610X

ISBN-13: 978-1616386108






AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







An Ancient Mystery

An ancient mystery that holds the secret of America’s future.”

“Yes.”

“What would I think?”

“Yes, what would you think?”

“I’d think it was a plot for a movie. Is that it? Is that what you’re presenting . . . a movie manuscript?”

“No.”

“A plot for a novel?”

“No.”

“Then what?”

He was silent.

“Then what?” she repeated.

He paused to carefully consider what he was about to say and how to say it. Her reputation among those in media was that of a woman who neither wasted her time nor indulged those who

did. She was not known to suffer fools gladly. The discussion could meet an abrupt end at any given moment and there would be no second chance with her. The fact that there had even been a

meeting in the first place, that she had even agreed to it, and that he was now sitting in her office, high above the streets of Manhattan, was nothing short of a miracle—and he knew it. He had only one concern—the message. It didn’t even occur to him to remove his black leather overcoat, nor had anyone offered to remove it for him. Leaning forward in his chair, he gave her his answer, slowly, cautiously, carefully deliberating every word.

“An ancient mystery . . . that holds the secret of America’s future . . . and on which its future hangs. And it’s not fiction—it’s real.”

She was quiet. At first, he took the silence as a positive sign, an indication that he was getting through. But then she spoke and quickly dispelled the notion.

“An Indiana Jones movie,” she said. “An ancient mystery hidden for thousands of years under the sands of the Middle East . . . but now revealed . . . and upon it hangs the fate of the entire world!”

Her flippancy provoked him to become all the more resolute.

“But it’s not fiction,” he repeated. “It’s real.”

“What would I say?” she asked.

“Yes, what would you say?”

“I’d say you were crazy.”

“Perhaps I am,” he said with a slight smile. “Nevertheless . . . it’s real.”

“If you’re not crazy, then you’re joking . . . or you’re doing this all for dramatic effect . . . part of a presentation. But you can’t be serious.”

“But I am serious.”

She paused for a moment, staring into the eyes of her guest, attempting to ascertain whether he was sincere or not.

“So you are,” she said.

“So I am,” he replied, “and you have no idea how much so.”

It was then that her expression changed. Up to that point it had suggested a trace of amused interest. It now turned to that of total disengagement.

“No, I guess I don’t. Listen, I believe you’re a sincere man, but . . . I’m really . . . I’m really very busy, and I don’t have time for . . . ”

“Mrs. Goren.”

“That’s Goren. The accent’s on the last syllable. But Ana is fine.”

“Ana, you have nothing to lose by listening. Just go on the slight possibility . . . ”

“That you’re not crazy?”

“That too,” he said. “But the slight possibility that what I’m saying could actually be true, even the slight possibility that there could be something in what I’m telling you, even for that slightest

of possibilities . . . for just that . . . it would be important enough to warrant your time. You need to hear me out.”

She sat back in her chair and stared at him, making no attempt to hide her skepticism.

“You still think I’m crazy.”

“Fully,” she said.

“For argument’s sake, let’s say you’re right. I am crazy. Indulge me, as a public service.”

She smiled.

“I’ll indulge you, Mr. Kaplan, but there’s a limit.”

“Nouriel. You can call me Nouriel.”

At that, she got up from her chair and motioned for him to do likewise. She led him away from her desk to a small round conference table where the two sat down. The table was situated in

front of a huge glass window through which one could see a vast panorama of skyscrapers with similar windows, each reflecting the light of the afternoon sun.

“All right, Nouriel. Tell me about your mystery.”

“It’s not my mystery. It’s much bigger than me. You have no idea how big, or what it involves.”

“And what does it involve?”

“Everything. It involves everything, and it explains everything . . . everything that’s happened, that’s happening, and everything that’s going to happen.”

“What do you mean?”

“Behind September 11 . . . ”

“How could an ancient mystery possibly have anything to do with September 11?”

“An ancient mystery behind everything from 9/11 to the economy . . . to the housing boom . . . to the war in Iraq . . . to the collapse of Wall Street. Everything in precise detail.”

“How? How could an ancient mystery possibly . . . ”

“Affect your life? Your bank account? Your future? But it does. And it holds the key to America’s future . . . to the rise and fall of nations . . . to world history. And it’s not only a mystery, it’s a message, an alarm.”

“An alarm?” she asked. “An alarm of what?”

“Of warning.”

“To whom?”

“America.”

“Why?”

“When you hear it,” he said, “you’ll understand why.”

“All this from a mystery that goes back . . . how far did you say?”

“I didn’t say.”

“So how far back does it go?”

“Two and a half thousand years.”

“A two-and-a-half-thousand-year-old mystery behind what’s happening in the twenty-first century from politics to the economy to foreign affairs—all that and you’re the only one who knows about it?”

“I’m not the only one.”

“Who else knows about it?” she asked.

“There’s at least one other.”

“Not the government? The government has no idea, even though it’s behind all that?”

“As far as I know, no government, no intelligence agency, no one else.”

“No one but you.”

“And at least one other.”

“And how did you happen to discover it?”

“I didn’t discover it,” he answered. “It was given to me.”

“Given? By whom?”

“A man.”

“And who was this man?”

“It’s hard to say.”

At this she leaned forward and spoke to him in a tone both intense and slightly sarcastic.

“Try me,” she said.

“You won’t understand.”

“What was his name?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” she replied, with a trace of amusement in her voice.

“No, he never told me.”

“So this earth-shattering mystery is known only by you and this one man who gave it to you but doesn’t have a name.”

“I didn’t say he didn’t have a name. He just never told it to me.”

“And you never asked?”

“I did, but he never told me.”

“No phone number?”

“He never gave me one.”

“No business card?”

“No.”

“Not even an e-mail?”

“I don’t expect you to believe me yet.”

“Why not?” she replied, making no attempt to hide her skepticism.

“It sounds so plausible!”

“But hear me out.”

“So this man with no name gives you this mystery.”

“That’s correct.”

“And why to you?”

“I guess I was the right one.”

“So you were chosen?”

“I guess so,” he replied, his voice trailing off.

“And where did he get the mystery from?”

“I don’t know.”

“A mystery on which the nation’s future is hanging, and no one knows where it came from?”

“From where do prophets get their messages?”

“Prophets!” she said. “So now we’re talking prophets?”

“I guess we are.”

“As in Isaiah . . . Jeremiah?”

“Something like that.”

“The last time I heard about prophets I was in Sunday school, Nouriel. Prophets don’t exist anymore. They’ve been gone for ages.”

“How do you know?”

“So you’re telling me that the man who gave you this revelation is a prophet?”

“Something like that.”

“He told you he was a prophet?”

“No. He never came out and said it.”

“And you believe all this because it came from a prophet?”

“No,” he answered. “It wouldn’t have mattered who said it. It’s not about the messenger; it’s about the message.”

“So why are you telling me all this? Why did you come here? I’m not exactly known for dealing with anything remotely like this.”

“Because the stakes are so high. Because the future is hanging on it. Because it affects millions of people.”

“And you think I have a part in this?”

“I do.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

She leaned back in her chair and stared at him for a moment, intrigued, amused, and still trying to figure him out.

“So, Nouriel, tell me how it all began.”

He reached into his coat pocket, laid his closed hand down on the table, then opened it. In the middle of his palm was a small object of reddish, golden-brown clay, circular and about two inches in diameter.

“It all began with this.”

He handed it to her. She began examining it. The more she looked at it, the more intrigued she became. It was covered with what appeared to be ancient inscriptions.

“It all began with this.”

“And what is it?”

“It’s a seal,” he answered. “It’s the first seal.”
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