Tag Archives: Bethany House Publishers

For such a time as this

img_0979You may want to lock the door, put up the Do Not Disturb sign, and fill up on rations when you start reading The Domino Effect. Because you won’t want to leave until you finish the whole entire book. Yes, it’s that good!

Davis Bunn does a masterful job of spinning a financial thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat while intricately entwining an enchanting storyline built around endearing, believable characters you’ll immediately get attached to. The novel is an unfolding of a heart-warming, hope-based narrative. The uncovering of a sinister scheme aimed at global plunging into economy collapse. And the unwavering commitment to save the world from financial meltdown and ruin.

Esther Larsen lost both parents within nine months of each other while she was still in grade school. Now, her only brother is confined in a rehab centre since his pregnant wife died in an automobile accident. No wonder she was pretty well comfortable married to safety on the sidelines, alone and detached. That was about to change. Fast.

Her job as a risk analyst for one of the largest banks in the US, placed her in a spot where remaining silent was a risk she just wouldn’t take. Too many lives were at stake. The time to help people survive the economic crisis looming on the horizon is now. There was no time to waste. Esther opened up her heart and life for the greater good, to keep people secure “even when that means doing what comes hardest for me.”

What was remarkable about The Domino Effect is how the author brought to life a modern take on the Book of Esther. Mirroring her biblical namesake, Esther courageously stepped out into her purpose in history “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) As we follow her surge from obscurity to international spotlight, we grasp financial terminology, market conditions, and how global economies are interconnected. We are drawn into what it’s like to be orphaned at a young age, effects of trauma on the brain, and the painful reality of a family separated by divorce.

Like Esther, the novel invites us to take a stand when it’s not convenient, speak up to defend justice and protect people from impending danger; do what’s right even in the face of uncertainty. Take a risk, reach out and love with all your heart. For such a time as this.

Many thanks to Bethany House for the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

When We Build on a Firm Foundation

On This Foundation Cover - Lynn Austin

There is much to be said about being totally wrapped up in a story when you know how it ends. That’s what caught me laughing at myself when I couldn’t put On This Foundation down. Especially since the book is cast long, long ago and traces multiple storylines to take in and keep track of.

I’ve always wanted to better understand what life must have been like when the crumbled Jerusalem wall was being rebuilt under Nehemiah. So it was no surprise I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. What I didn’t expect was being so moved by the characters that brought the ancient biblical account to life. I came to appreciate, grieve, rejoice, celebrate, and get angry at what was going on at that period in history. Through the eyes of two district leaders and their families, the young bondservant who sacrificially laid down her freedom to relieve her drought-afflicted family’s debt, the aging slave who could have gone free yet chose to stay, and Nehemiah, the man God called to the lead the restoration.

What really got me was how Lynn Austin blended captivating storytelling with biblical accuracy to vividly draw out the past and frame it with contemporary relevance. So many of the questions, fears, challenges and truths are as much part of current reality as they were in circa 500 BC.

Questions such as  “Why isn’t God answering our prayers?” and “How do I know it’s God who called me and not my own desire or imagination?” The timeless proof of what is possible when we follow God’s prompts and work together. Like rebuilding a wall in record time. Events that covered dealing with enemies, bitterness, and grief while uncovering evidence of God’s faithfulness and love. And why prayer is so vital. At all times.

Through it all, was the underlining theme that the Jerusalem wall stood because it was built on a firm foundation just like we can stand strong and secure when we build our lives on the firm foundation of faith and trust in God. The God who was at work then, is still working now. Even when we don’t see it. Even when it looks like He has abandoned us. We can celebrate the presence of the Almighty One who restored the ruins in their time and is still in the restoration business. No matter what we’ve done, or has happened to us. He can repair broken hearts. Piece together something good from shattered dreams, losses and defeats. Like the Israelites, we can lift our hands in jubilant triumph. Because the most famous truth from the book of Nehemiah still holds true today:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength!” ~ Nehemiah 8:10

On This Foundation is the dramatic conclusion to The Restoration Chronicles. It is a powerful, uplifting volume on its own. And one that that beckons you to go back and read the first two books in the series. I recommend it highly as a compelling story and source of encouraging inspiration.

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing the complimentary copy of On This Foundation through NetGalley in exchange for this unbiased review.

That firm foundation of faith and trust in God is often strengthened and built together. Like when we  link-up at Holley Gerth’s for faith-full Coffee for Your Heart.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

Blindsided by God!

Blindsided  by God Cover - Peter Chin

Miscarriage. Break-in. Cancer. Letter from insurance company declining coverage. Mastectomy. Chemotherapy. Another pregnancy. Disastrous launch of the church Peter Chin believed God had called him to plant. All within the same year. How could this be happening? And why now?

Blindsided by God is narrated by a pastor but far from being a preachy, whitewashed sermon on suffering, it lays out his raw, honest account of that incredible, painful, blessed time. With all the twists, turns, and surprises that make you gasp, cry, and freeze wide-eyed in awe, this book could easily make a best-selling novel.

What holds your attention so powerfully is Peter’s unmasked transparency. How he courageously discloses his feelings of betrayal by God, stark shortcomings, faith wrestling, and range of emotions that blanketed the tumultuous up and down series of events.

The beautiful irony from being blindsided by the trials in this riveting story is how it granted Peter a sharper, clearer vision of who God is. Blindsided, knocked down into the abyss of darkness, yet flooded with the light of renewed faith, God’s unfading presence, and the joy that can coexist with unspeakable pain. Through it all, Peter came to see how God was up to something all along. He had a plan and a purpose. Plans that forged the miraculous and the good out of adversity.

Like when he spotted God’s unmistakable fingerprints on his wife’s triple negative breast cancer (the worst kind) that disqualified her from hormone therapy. The same hormone treatment that would have jeopardized the life of the baby in her womb. The child they refused to abort who later arrived completely healthy despite being exposed to the trauma of mastectomy and potent chemotherapy.

That walk of faith through the valley and up the mountain helped Peter understand suffering through the lens of Christ’s sacrificial purpose and mission. He became a better husband, father, and pastor. Because they knew pain and grief, broken people were attracted to his church, stretching its reach and effectiveness to hurting people. Hardship gave him a greater measure of compassion in addition to the gift of seeing and cherishing daily blessings and glimpses of God’s love and providence. Treasures he otherwise might have missed.

There are plenty of “wow” moments in Blindsided by God. Sometimes from what was happening. Often by the effect and lessons Peter speaks about along the way. It is a book that inspires, uplifts and fills you with hope. I especially appreciated how Peter Chin sensitively included encouragement and truth to those living without a happy ending like the one God orchestrated for his family during that time.

If you are in a place where you’re wondering what God is up to or maybe questioning if He’s there at all, you will especially be touched. And even if you’re not, I would recommend Blindsided by God as a must-read to everyone. Wherever you are in your life’s journey, this book will speak to your heart. Guaranteed.

Here is the quote from Blindsided by God which pretty well says it all for me:

Nothing could hinder the Lord from saving. No circumstances are too dark for him to shed light upon, nothing so broken that it is beyond his ability to mend and make better. Not cancer, not hardship, not death, not even the cross. These are all nothing before the power of His ability to save. Suffering is terrible, but it cannot bind Christ. It does not blot out His existence or curtail His power. It cannot exclude God or stop Him or minimize Him or move Him in any way. Yes, there is suffering in life – that is true. But there is a God whose love, blessings, & power are greater than the suffering we experience.

Disclaimer – Many thanks to  Bethany House Publishers for supplying a complimentary copy of Blindsided by God in exchange for this unbiased review.

For more hope and inspiration let’s  link-up again this week at Holley Gerth’s where we can drink up sweet, encouraging Coffee for Your Heart – together!

Thank you  Holley Gerth for the Coffee for Your Heart image