Monday, December 3, 2012

Judas Iscariot

When it comes to Judas Iscariot, is it possible that 2000 years of tradition have gotten it all wrong? Would you have done the same? http://bit.ly/TF7YcV
 Tosca Lee paints a very different picture of Judas than what we have ever heard in Church or Sunday School. Through years of her meticulous research and unique way of painting a person's life in the most simple yet beautiful strokes of her masterful gift, we are presented with a brutally honest and human view of the life of Judas. We are gifted a chance to see through the multifaceted and inquisitive lens of Tosca how Judas is no more or less then a simple human man who desired what we desire, who has hopes and dreams very similar to ours, and who loved with all of his being.
This is one story that you will be gravely disappointed that you did not read! This exploration into the life of Judas will leave you looking at Judas and Jesus in a way that you never would have thought possible. This is one story that is truly life changing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Novel Crossings - Your Christian Fiction Fix

Are you looking for one website that has all of the Christian fiction books that you want to read and the authors you want to stay up-to-date on? I know I did. I have searched and searched for such a site. I eventually thought there was no such place until I heard about Novel Crossing.

I have to say that I am impressed by not only the rich content on this website, but the also the friendly customer support that is behind the scenes. You will NOT be disappointed, so please check this website out.

Listen to what authors are saying about Novel Crossing. http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0JM01JNU

You can check out this website yourself at http://www.novelcrossing.com/.



Here are some reasons why you should visit the site....

Novel Crossing is a website for Christian fiction lovers. It's like Facebook meets Goodreads meets your favorite Christian fiction blogs...all in one place! Whether you're into romance, Amish fiction, mystery, action, sci-fi, historical fiction or any other genre...Novel Crossing is your new trusted source for ALL Christian fiction across ALL publishers!

Novel Crossing has it all...
    • Stay in the Christian-fiction-know with the latest news and feature articles written by top fiction authors, industry professionals, and fiction aficionados.
    • Find your next read (or avoid spending money on a crummy novel) with quick book overviews via 1-sentence reviews or a deeper look at books through full-blown reviews from fiction lovers like you.
    • Get connected with a community where you can friend and follow fellow Novel Crossing members and keep track of new books or articles from your favorite authors.
    • Stay organized with and keep track of the books you're reading, have read, or want to read.
    • Don't miss a beat...get email updates when new books come out from your favorite authors or genres



Monday, November 5, 2012

The High Calling: Everday Conversations about Work, Life, and God

After reading through one of the weekly newsletters for The High Calling, a website that focuses on everyday conversations about work, life, and God, I am impressed at the depth and openness of the experiences shared in their articles to the people who subscribe to them. From the sampling that I read, I can see how this could be a major source of encouragement to those who need to see that we are all human and that we all struggle with various parts of our lives. This community seems to be aware of the fact that we all need a nudge to get us going when times are hard and they stay hard for a short time or the long haul. We are called to be an encouragement to each other - to raise each other up and to remind everyone of why we are here and what our ultimate purpose is. While life is different for each of us, it is still a challenge and we all need some encouragement along the way. I would recommend this newsletter/ community to anyone who wants/needs a better way to integrate their life into all aspects of their life.

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer



The Orphan King takes you to a medieval time filled with knights, lords, earls, and the ominous struggle of two secret societies each trying to shape and mold this time for their own means – one for the pursuit of good and one for their endless lust for power. In the midst of the struggle between these two groups comes a prophesied boy who is desired by both groups, but neither knows where his allegiance lies thanks to the diligence of his mother who hides him from both until she could finish raising him. She dies when her son, Thomas, is only 11 years old making him an orphan left to finish his own preparation to seek out and take hold of his destiny which goes much deeper than he could ever imagine.

Through careful preparation to fulfill his destiny, he finds himself surrounded by unlikely companions – a mysterious knight, a young pickpocket, and a deaf and mute girl. He is unsure about this group, but he has no others to help him on his journey, so he brings them along, but not without some reservations. Are they who they claim to be? Will they help him fulfill his destiny, or will they sabotage his plan along the way? Who can he trust, and who must be keep a close eye on? These are the questions he wrestles with along each step of his journey that brings him closer to what he is drawn to do as a pledge to his mother. 

In addition to these troubles, he is lost in his own heart. He is an orphan making his way to what he knows is before him, but he deeply desires to become a part of a family at the end of his journey. He is grateful for the feeling of belonging to this motley group, but he hopes to reach a much more permanent sense of belonging after running this course set by his mother. His heart aches to be part of a whole. He longs for the unconditional love and sense of connection that comes with a real family. 

This is the story of one working to fulfill his destiny. He knows he is supposed to do something great, but his vision is much too narrow for what ultimately lies before him. He has the courage to the take the steps to move forward, but is it enough to keep the momentum going? Will his courage and strength to hold out? Does he have what it really takes to grab hold of what is his and take it without fear? As he struggles with these questions, he also finds himself thinking more and more of the God that his mother talked to him about as a child. He finds himself confronted by those who also believe in this same God and wonders what good this God has done in light of what all he has seen and lived through himself. He finds himself calling out to this God in his most desperate hours.

I found myself mesmerized and astonished by the beautifully captivating storyline and the simple yet intricate characters that weaved their way throughout the plot. The story while simple at first glance quietly becomes one wrought with mystery and deception that is blown wickedly about by the cruel winds of the moors. I was utterly enthralled by this story as I crept deeper into the life of this orphan boy named Thomas. He drew me in through his unwavering devotion to his mother and his determined sense of purpose to change his life into something greater. I was sad to see this story end, but overjoyed to see that it is only the beginning of his journey. There is much more to learn and discover about this simple yet intriguing orphan boy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gospel eBooks is 2 Years Old!!

Gospel eBooks at http://www.gospelebooks.net/ is celbrating their second birthday by offering a giveaway each day this week.

Go check them out. Trust me, you'll love what you see. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Iscariot by Tosca Lee



Riveting….explosive…..revolutionary are just a few meager words that describe Tosca Lee’s latest literary masterpiece. She has immersed herself in the life and time of the well-known disciple of Jesus Christ known as Judas Iscariot. She brilliantly succeeded in humanizing this notorious traitor of Jesus Christ. She skillfully and intricately laid before our eyes an intimate, less traveled path of the motivations and desires that Judas passionately followed to the end of his life.
 
We are granted the honor to have such an intimate experience with Judas as we walk alongside him as his life is turned upside down and forever twisted and altered by the effects of the cruel and brutal Roman occupation of Jerusalem and the surrounding Jewish cities.  My heart broke at seeing all of the horror and evil that Judas and his family had to endure when he was a young boy. Seeing such ugliness that most of us only read about in books at such an impressionable age transformed him into the driven and empty man that he became. 

The sum total of Judas’s existence in light of the Jewish law and religious elite of that time was to strive to find out for himself if God truly existed and to be cleansed by Him and made pure. If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that this is also the same ruthless pursuit that we all tirelessly struggle to answer. No matter how much we might like to separate ourselves from Judas, we find that more and more we are just like him. We are all lost in the darkness stumbling around on our hands and knees with tears streaming down our faces screaming and whispering out to God desperate to know if He is real and how He will save us from ourselves.  Frighteningly enough, the darkness that surrounds Judas and us is not from the pit of Hell like we would convince those around us that it is, but in reality it is leaking and bubbling up from the depths of our own heart. The madness and evil that haunted Judas and haunts us still is born from the evil that lives inside us that can only be expelled with the light of God’s radiantly pure love. However, no amount of persuasion of others can make us understand this. Just like Judas, we have to see this for ourselves no matter how long it takes us to blindly stumble upon this shocking revelation.

Jesus message at that day and time was just as radical as this piece of haunting truth. He turned the religious community on its ear with his teaching, His words, and his strange yet simple parables. He drove people into madness as He taught love rather than the harsh, skin-deep hollowness of what had become of the Jewish law at that time. It was this mad, revolutionary idea that God loved them and wanted them to love each other including their Roman oppressors that the religious elite and learned men like Judas were dumbfounded and either driven deeper into their pious depravity or dared to be changed and remade by the desperately deep craving that they had for His love. I believe it was the overwhelming light of Jesus message of love which laid bare the base desires of the religious elite that led to their ravenous calling for His death. Evil can’t stand when good shines its light on it and reveals its ugliness not only to others but especially to itself. It will do anything to hide itself in the shadows once again while destroying the light that exposed itself.

At the end of this journey that we have taken with Judas, we find that we have one question to answer - the same question that has been posed for the past 2,000 years. Why did Judas betray Jesus? Tosca gently yet decisively leads us to the answer of this question. She lays before us the consideration that Judas is no different than any of us. In fact, I believe that she proposes that we are all Judases in the depths of our hearts, and we need to beware that we do not fall into the same traps and pitfalls that he did. We need to be sure that we choose love over the law - that we choose life over death\power\influence.

I don’t believe that Judas hated Jesus. Rather, I believe that Judas was transformed by Jesus and His message of love, but I also believe that the evil in us fights for control of us just as vehemently as Jesus fights for our love. It’s this battle that was at the heart of Judas’s betrayal. When we don’t give our whole hearts to Jesus to be filled with His love, we allow the darkness to silently creep in and slowly take control back. I believe that the answer to the accusation of guilt lies in Judas’s fear of giving Jesus full control over his heart. While he reveled in and marveled at the intensity and completeness of Jesus’s love for him, he didn’t believe that Jesus could love such a man as him. He held back his heart, and in so doing allowed the darkness from his past to overcome him and give up control of his heart to the teachers of the law who wanted to remain in the luscious darkness of their selfish ways. He allowed these evil men to unknowingly work through him to quash the light that was brought into their world for a short time, but they unknowingly did us an immense favor in ushering in God’s new kingdom of devastating love and unfathomable forgiveness for the benefit of all mankind. 

Instead of condemning Judas, we need to learn from him. We need to see him in ourselves and strive to become what he deeply longed to become but was so terrified to allow himself to embrace. We need to realize that Judas is all of us. He is every man, and we need to come to the understanding that we have to die to ourselves in order to live for and with Jesus in this time and in His coming kingdom.

This is a story that will not only transform your heart but will also pour the intoxicating light of God’s love into your life. You will never be able to think of Judas or yourself in the same way ever again. Even though our culture is so far removed from the Jewish culture of 2,000 years ago, in our hearts, the human race is still the same band of men prone to great evil and yet who desperately search for their own salvation and tirelessly crave the love of the almighty Creator of the universe. This book is a must read for those who desire to be led into the past by a master storyteller who skillfully creates a glorious tapestry filled with rich culture, human frailty, and unrestrained love to unmask this man of loathing and deceit in order to deepen our own relationship with God.

Tosca gently wipes away the stale, Sunday school understanding from both our eyes and our heart and offers up a fresh take on Jesus, His life and work, and how it touched Judas and the other disciples around him. She breathes life into Jesus and His powerful effect on those around Him. This story will have you gasping for air and reeling at how you feel you have missed knowing Jesus at this depth your entire life. Your heart will long for the same meaningful and palatable relationship that Judas had with Jesus, and it will leave you refusing to settle for anything less.

Friday, September 28, 2012

They Shall See God by Athol Dickson



Has one man had such an effect on our history, our world religions, and our hearts that one mention of his name can inflame one person to kill, or move another person to quickly change the subject out of unease, or cause another person to smile out of their overwhelming peace and love that they feel for the change He has made in their life? Yes, there most certainly was/is such a man. He name is Jesus Christ, and He is much more than just a mere man which is why He has such a strong effect on people. He is the wonderful and amazing Son of God. People either love Him or hate Him. Those that are undecided about Him are either hiding from Him or don’t wish to answer the question we must all answer at some point in our life – Will you choose to follow Him or not?

We all know that life tends to get in the way of our best laid plans. One way or another one or a series of events can change our life forever for good or for bad. We can’t control those events for the most part, but we can control our reactions to those events. We can choose to allow them to take over our lives and affect our jobs, our family life, and our relationship with Jesus in a negative or a positive way. They can bring us closer to Jesus by relying on Him each day to get us through this trying time, or they can drive us further and further away by believing the lie that God doesn’t love us and can’t help because He has allowed this to happen to us. What we all need to realize is that we live in a world full of sin, and as a result of the fallen world we live in, our lives are inevitable going to be touched and saturated by the sin swirling around us each day. In the midst of our pain and suffering, we need to choose to see Jesus and allow His love and His grace to envelop us and guide us to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him.

This premise is what drives this elegantly insightful story from start to finish. This is much more than a story of intrigue and suspense. It is a story that lays bare the complexities of dealing with the stark differences and historical atrocities between two of the world’s most prominent religions. This is a multifaceted look at how our varying reactions to this sinful world can impact the lives of those around us. After reading this book, no one can comfortably continue lying to themselves that how I choose to live my life doesn’t impact anyone but me. This story will rip open your heart and lay out your intentions for both you and Jesus to see and begin to change. 

They Shall See God is a heart-wrenchingly, stirring piece of fiction that everyone who is serious about their spiritual growth unequivocally needs to read. The application of this story is essential to all who desire to allow Jesus to transform their heart and soul in order to shine the light of Jesus onto this dark world that is crying out to Him for love and grace. If only more people would long to allow God’s love and grace to seep into their heart and replace their hatred for soul-drenching love and their confusion for unimaginable peace. How much better would our world be if more people like this were walking among us making life a little better one loving act at a time? Will you be one of them? Will you dare to make such a change in your heart and your life? Will you have the courage to open this book and continue reading until the end?

I recommend this book to everyone who has reached a stale point in their walk with the Lord. This book will shake you awake and scream its excruciating message into your slumbering heart. It will force you to take a good long look at where you are in your walk with God and where you know you should be/want to be. It will be the cold shower that your journey with Christ needs to breathe life back into your relationship with Him and help you to dig even deeper to continue to clean out the old cobwebs in those hidden parts of your heart. It will help to refuel the dying flame in your soul that has been waning for years now and help to keep it burning bright. You will begin to see people around you in a different light. You will see them for the wandering lost souls that they are and hopefully will encourage you to reach out to them in love. Sharing God’s love is never a bad thing – it will always produce a fruitful harvest in time.

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson



Full Disclosure is a romantic thriller that lives up to both of those terms in a pulse-pounding, spectacular fashion. FBI agent Paul Falcon inexplicably meets a cop named Ann Silver who not only intrigues him professionally by giving him the best lead he has come across on an old, high profile case, but deeply touches him on a much more personal level as well. Not only has Ann Silver, given Paul a jewel of a lead for this case that even the FBI Director is eager to close, but she has piqued Paul’s interest like no other woman has. She gets him thinking more and more about his life and what he truly wants it to become. 

While a romance is blooming between Paul and Ann, there is plenty of action and mystery that is taking place around them. Not only is Paul chasing down this new lead which takes a fruitful turn in the investigation to the delight of his superiors, but he is also thrown a unique and dangerous proposition by one of Ann’s friends. He is pulled into another investigation that will have more of an impact on his life than he ever thought possible. While Paul can’t stop this house of cards from falling once he pulls out the first card, will he be able to make the right decisions when it comes to not only his job but also his heart? 

This story delves into the world of the FBI and law enforcement. You get to see the day to day activities of what these talented and courageous people do. You see them at their best and at their worst. You come to admire them in a way that you never have before. You admire their tremendous heart and their unwavering sense of duty and loyalty to their fellow officers and those they have sworn to protect. You will never look at them the same way again after reading this book – at least I know I won’t.

Full Disclosure was an unexpected treasure and joy to read. I was so pleased to see such a positive focus on family and faith throughout this story as they are the true foundation of our lives. I was also delighted by the positive light in which law enforcement was shown. It was such a breath of fresh air to see police officers, FBI agents, etc. appreciated for their talent, their dedication, and their heart for doing their job of protecting the people they have taken an oath for. 

While enjoying every aspect of this story, I was amazed to discover that overall, the theme that touched me the deepest was one of hope. Throughout the pages of this book, hope was written in every word, it was lived by every character, and it was painted in every scene. There is hope of a brighter tomorrow, a better life, and the birth of something wonderful and new if we only have the courage to grab it and hold on for the ride. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an edge of your seat thriller that also tugs at your heart and yet leaves you with an indescribable and undeniable hope that will fill your heart and lift your spirit.
If you need some encouragement. If you need and want the will and desire to live a life that is meaningful and worth something, then you would enjoy reading a new book by Nick Vujicic called Unstoppable. In this book, you will find a man who against the most severe of odds, lives a rich and fulfilling life. 

You can view the book trailer here http://bit.ly/NxKhEa.

If you are still interested in this book, you can read the first chapter here http://scr.bi/NxKSFT.


You won't regret reading this book. In fact, it may just change your life.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mortal by Ted Dekker and Tocsa Lee


Mortal is the second book in the Books of Mortals trilogy where we see the story of Rom Sebastian continue to unfold and deepen. This story is not only about Rom, but about the story of all of the dead who accepted Jonathan's blood and became Mortals.  This is the story of their coming to life through the blood of one who could reverse a terrible virus that stripped mankind of every emotion but fear as a pretense to stopping war and violence against each other.  This is the story of their deliverance from fear and Order – the rules they live their lives by in order to pass into Bliss after their death.
Nine year after Forbidden, we see that Jonathan is now just days away from becoming eighteen, which will then thrust him into the seat of Sovereign of the entire world. The purpose of this is to bring out a new world. A world where the dead shall become alive once again and Jonathan will provide the life giving blood for this purpose. In those same nine years, Rom has devoted his life to not only keeping Jonathan safe but ensuring that he takes the seat of Sovereign in just mere days. He has spent every waking hour working to this purpose. 
Of course even the best laid plans can easily become undone. Rom’s plans are no exception. Saric, the half-brother of Feyn, the last Sovereign who laid down her life to allow Jonathan to rule and bring about life to all that are dead, has other plans. He thwarts Rom’s plans at every turn and brings great evil to bar the way to Jonathan’s rule. He has created a massive army whose purpose is to destroy Jonathan and all those who stand with him. 
As this story unfolded before me, I was struck by the passion, the intensity, and the struggle that dripped from each page. There was no break from the mounting anticipation throughout this book. Instead you were quickly plunged into the tumultuous waves that whipped you from side to side, drowning you in the depths of evil and despair and then tossing you up above the crest of those same waves into the peace and pleasure of brief glimpses of Heaven.
I could see many parallels between this story and that of the Circle Series which embodies the journey of our deliverance from the grip of evil. I was very pleased to feel the similarities of those two stories. While we may view that journey in many ways and from many eyes, it is always the same. Love came to us, love offered us life, and then love sacrificed all for us to be able to have a choice. Only we can decide to what choice to make – Him or evil.
Ted and Tocsa performed such a graceful and beautiful dance of the life of love. It brought me to tears in places and lifted my heart when I didn’t think it was possible. These master story tellers wove a majestic pattern that resulted in the most beautiful tapestry then one could have imagined. It blinds me at times and at other times it makes me want to hide in shame and yet it continues to draw me in deeper and further into the story. It beckons me to follow in order to discover the next part of the story. It leaves me unsettled, uncomfortable, and yearning for more, so I wait in quiet anticipation for the last part of this simple yet overwhelming story of love, grace, and redemption.