Monthly Archives: April 2013

You’ve Never Seen a Piano Played Like This!!

This is amazing!  The creativity that these piano guys have used to come up with this is past amazing.  It makes me think of God’s creativity in creating this world. All the different animals and fish…sometimes I’ll watch a documentary and see a new fish or animal I’ve never seen before and I’ll think that God must have had such fun creating that awesome creature.  And then the universe, how majestic! And then the human body, how amazing!

Anyway, all those thoughts pass through my mind as I watch The Piano Guys play this piano in a way I know no one has ever done before!  I hope you’ll enjoy watching it as much as I have and you’ll think of God’s awesome creativity while you watch these men play the piano.

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Great Romance Novel with Suspense Mixed In

Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Bethany House Publishers)

9780764207891The story starts in Queens, NY in 1944.  Dr. Micah Hatcher receives a letter from an irate father demanding he step up and take responsibility for his young son and if he doesn’t then legal action will be taken.  What a shock!  Micah knows nothing about this and is searching his memory for the mother of this boy.  He remembers working with a nurse, Lydia Eldredge in Hawaii several years ago, but there was nothing between them and he couldn’t figure out why her father would assume he was the father of her son.

So Micah sets off to Boston to meet with the Eldredge’s and see if he can get this mess straighten out.  What he didn’t expect was to fall in love with this precious little boy, Nicky.  And he certainly didn’t expect to be drawn into a complicated relationship with Lydia in the complicated situation concerning little Nicky.

You’ll be immediately drawn into this story, as I was, and won’t be able to put the book down until the last page is read.  This is a story of lies and deception to protect innocent little children from Nicky in Boston to Jewish children in Europe.  And a story of God’s complete sovereignty over events in our lives.  It’s hard to give it over to God and not just take charge yourself when faced with problems, but just like the small voice Lydia kept hearing, “Be patient and wait.” , we have to turn everything over to God and His plans for our lives.

The only problem I had with the book was that toward the end the romance got a little too sweet for my taste and Micah was just too perfect.  But I need to remember that this is fiction, so I’m still giving it a 5 star rating.  I really enjoyed this book and I’m sure you will too.

I received this book from Bethany House Bloggers Program for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I am donating this book to our Media Center so our patrons will be able to enjoy reading this book as much as I did.

 

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Excellent Historical, Suspenseful Romance Set in Europe

Scan 131180000Grave Consequences (The Grand Tour #2) by Lisa T. Bergren

I could hardly put this book down.  It picks up right after Book 1, Glamorous Illusions, ends and continues on with Cora Diehl Kensington on her grand tour of Europe with her new found half siblings and their friends.  Their tours guides, Will McCabe and his uncle, continue on with added security after their last episode of violence and fear for the lives of their touring party.

While Cora continues to make her half brothers and sister like her, she finds herself even more sure of her feelings for Will.  But she knows her real father, Wallace Kensington, will never agree to her relationship with someone who is now beneath her new station in life.  While she struggles with that, the charming Pierre de Richelieu, who offered them sanctuary in his grand castle in Book 1, plans on meeting with the group soon.  She knows he’s in love with her, but her heart is still struggling with her emotions.

More suspense and intrigue follow them through France, Austria and Italy, as they pick up a new traveler, Art Stapleton, who has introduced them to the new Kodak camera.  He’s constantly taking pictures and it makes you wonder what he’s really up to.

This book ends with the promise of another book, Glittering Promises, and I can hardly wait.  This is definitely a series you need to start reading with the first book.  Each story builds on the other and it is pure enjoyment!  This book has it all…history, romance, suspense.  It is Christian fiction, but not preachy, so I think anyone would love it.

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Free E-Books – April 26, 2013

I found two freebies today.  One is a Christian Bible study and the other one a cookbook!  Since the title of the Christian Bible study book is, Be Hopeful, I thought it might go along with a cookbook….hopeful that the recipes turn out good enough to eat! 🙂

  • FREE on Kindle:  Be Hopeful (1 Peter): How to Make the Best of Times Out of Your Worst of Times (The BE Series Commentary) by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • FREE on Kindle:  Ground Beef Recipes from My Table To Yours by Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures (Lynn has a website full of recipes.  You can visit her at lynnskitchenadventures.com

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A Pile of Coats, Scarves, Hats, Gloves, Galoshes and Matthew 19:16-30 – What’s The Connection?

Friday Gleanings by Carmen – April 26, 2013

“And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  (Matthew 19:24 KJV)

Our house in Astoria, NY, had a basement.  At the end of a dark hallway, there was a small window set above a concrete shelf.  For some reason, my brothers and I liked to use this window as our exit into the great outdoors.  One of the drawbacks of doing this, was that the window did not open all the way.  The size of the opening depended on the weather.  After heavy rains or snow, the size of the opening was quite small due to expansion of the wood around the frame.

SONY DSCIn order to get through the small opening without getting stuck, or without snagging our clothing, we had to shed as many outer garments as possible.  However, what awaited us outside was worth the sacrifice.  It was not unusual for my relatives to find piles of coats, scarves, hats, gloves and even galoshes under the little window.

This reminded me of the story of the rich young ruler in Mathew 19:16-30.  The rich young man claims to have kept the commandments, but wants to know what else he should do to enter into heaven.  Jesus tells him he must sell his possessions and give everything to the poor.  When the young man realizes the sacrifice he must make, he leaves with a heavy heart.  As he is leaving, Jesus comments on how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  He compares the degree of difficulty to getting a camel through the eye of a needle.

The kingdom of God was beckoning to the young man.  He knew in his heart that he wanted to be a part of it, but he was not willing to shed the things that gave him comfort and provided a buffer between him and the rest of the world.  The Message Bible says:  “He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.” (vs. 22)

In Matthew 7: 13-14 (NIV), Jesus had previously alluded to the narrow entrance into eternal life.  He says: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  The rich young ruler found the narrow gate, but he was not willing to shed those things that were getting in the way of his salvation.

Dearest Heavenly Father

You are more precious to us than silver and gold, stocks and bonds, comfort and ease.  We know that our lives are as a vapor and that we cannot take anything with us into eternity.  Thank you for teaching us to come to you with open hands and hearts.

In the name of Jesus, who had no place to lay His head,

Amen

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After The Fall – Free E-Book – April 25, 2013

Here’s a great freebie today.  I don’t know how long it will be free, so get it now.

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Free E-Books – April 23, 2013

Here are two freebies that sound good.  I haven’t read them but have read other books by these authors and have enjoyed them.  I don’t know how long they will be free, so get them now.

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Rich With Georgia History

Scan 131120000Sautee Shadows (The Georgia Gold Series #1) by Denise Weimer (Canterbury House Publishing)

I have read plenty of historical novels before, but none prepared me for such an extensive history lesson.  I was extremely impressed with the author’s knowledge of history concerning Georgia, the gold rush, the plight of the Cherokee Indians, slavery and the various opinions about it from Southerners to Northerners.  She had to have done extensive research in writing this book.  If you are a history buff, then you will really enjoy this book.  The novel jumps all over (New York, NY; Princeton, NJ; Newport, RI; Savannah, GA; Sautee Valley, GA; Habersham County, GA; Chatham County, GA; Montpelier, GA; Clarkesville, GA) from 1835 to 1855.  And follows four families as their lives eventually begin to intertwine with each other.

It did take me a while to get into the book, sorting out the different families and where they were from and going back and forth from families and towns and States.  But once I got the hang of it, I really got interested in the story.

If you live in North Georgia or Savannah you’ll find this novel interesting, because you’ll recognize the locations and historical landmarks.  I’m a Georgia girl and have visited Savannah and North Georgia, but now would love to go back and see if I can find some of the historical places mentioned in the book.

This is Book 1 in a series of 4.  The second book, The Gray Divide, will be coming out in September 2013 and will continue the story of these families as the States prepare for war.

I met the author, Denise Weimer, at a book signing at The Carpenter’s Shop in Athens, Georgia and she was positively delightful.  I enjoyed talking to her about her books.  I could tell she was really excited about Georgia history.  Now I know why…she’s very smart!

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Athol Dickson Fans – Free E-Book – April 21, 2013

  • FREE on Kindle:  The Cure by Athol Dickson. This is a Christy Award winning novel.  So I’m excited about it being offered for free. But I don’t know how long it will be free, so get it now.  And remember to always double check the price before downloading.

Here’s some info about the novel and author from Amazon.com:

  • Sometimes The Cure is much worse than the disease.
    Riley Keep, former missionary, now a drunk, is begging on the streets and desperate to forget a past he lost in one far-flung act of wickedness. Then he hears the rumors. Miracles are happening in the picture postcard village of Dublin, Maine.

    Riley isn’t the only Pilgrim searching for deliverance. There’s the old woman fleeing a horrific monster, the lonely wife tempted by forbidden desire, the impoverished lobsterman lured by tainted wealth, the young girl weighing life and death decisions, and the small town cop with a murder on his hands. But only Riley keep will learn if it’s true what people say: sometimes The Cure is much worse than the disease.

    “Rich with local dialect and scenery… Dickson’s approach is thought-provoking, and his prose beautifully evokes the taciturn spirit of the Mariners who people this novel… Full of interesting ideas and well-developed characters.” (Publishers Weekly)

    “An involving, suspenseful take on God’s transforming grace; it tackles a serious issue while providing an absorbing story.” (Library Journal)

  • About the Author
    Athol Dickson’s mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol’s They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.

    Critics have favorably compared Athol’s work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California.

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George Beverly Shea (1909-2013) – A Wonderful Life Lived for a Wonderful Savior

I remember listening to George Beverly Shea while watching Billy Graham on TV. He’s lived a long life devoted to his Savior, Jesus Christ.  You can read an article about him at Christianity Today.  And watch him sing “I’d Rather Have Jesus” in this YouTube video.  I believe it was filmed in 1965.  I did not realize he put that poem to music.  I’m sure there’s a lot I didn’t know about this wonderful man. But I guess the most important thing to know about any man, is that he loved Jesus more than anything else.

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Monumental DVD by Kirk Cameron – History Like You’ve Never Heard Before!

This was awesome!  The BEST history lesson I’ve ever heard. I was not taught this in school and I’m “an old person”, so I know that the younger generation are not being taught the truth about the Pilgrims and the reason they came to America and all they suffered through for our freedom today.

Kirk Cameron was excellent in this production and it was beautifully produced with fantastic quality.  You will not get bored watching this documentary because Kirk is a great storyteller and the experts he interviews tell their part of the history lesson with excitement.

Everyone should watch this film.  I wish it could be shown in public schools, because facts are facts, you can’t change history to suit your beliefs.  And hearing the truth about the birth of our nation is awe inspiring.

from Creative Commons and Wikipedia

from Creative Commons and Wikipedia

Kirk did an extensive tour at the National Monument to the Forefathers at Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I’d never heard of this place and the history of this monument is amazing.

We now have this DVD in our Media Center, so I hope that each and every member of our church will come and check this out and watch it alone, with their kids, grandkids, friends…whoever (or should it be whomever 🙂 ) …just watch it.

I searched for a trailer to include in this post about the movie and I came across a rap song by, IV His Son, and I thought I’d spice up your Friday by letting you watch it.  Just sit back pat your feet, sway to the rhythm, or get up and do some moves yourself.  It’s a well-done video.

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Friday Gleanings by Carmen – April 19, 2013

“And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers, that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? (Luke 12:28 NLT)

SONY DSCRecently I came across a beautiful poem by an unknown author.  The first part of the poem is a metaphor that uses a rose to represent human life.  Have you ever looked at the tender buds on a rosebush?  When they first come up, the petals are rolled so tightly inside the early buds that it is impossible for human hands to unfold them without causing irreparable harm to the delicate new growth.  Only God can unfold a rosebud without tearing it apart; only God can unfold a life without destroying it.

This poem describes God’s tender care:

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of GOD’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of GOD’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

The second part of the poem call to mind Psalm 37:23-24 (KJV):

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

The second part of the poem describes what we need to do in response to God’s tender care:

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to Him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.
The pathway that lies before me,
Only my heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.

Author Unknown

SONY DSCDearest Heavenly Father,

You created us, watched over us, loved us and saved us.  We trust you with this life of ours.  Whenever we have tried to take charge of our destiny, we have floundered.  Whenever we have tried to shape or unfold the tightly knit fabric of our days, we have ended up bruised and torn.  We come to you today with complete trust and surrendering to your wisdom and tender hands.  We give you our lives, knowing when you are through unfolding all of our days, we will be as beautiful as a rose in full bloom.

In the name of Jesus, who suffered the thorns so that we could be roses in God’s loving hands,

Amen

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Free E-Books – April 18, 2013

I found two books today that are free and I thought they may be good.  Always remember when you are reading a Christian book, to use God’s Holy Word as your final authority.  Just because it may say it’s a Christian book, it may not have the correct theology.  But I think this  first one is worth reading.  And the second book is written by Chris Well, who runs the FamilyFiction.com website and the digital magazines that I LOVE, so I’m looking forward to reading one of his books.

Prices change quickly, so always double check to make sure the price is $0 before downloading.

  • FREE on KindleChristianish: What If We’re Not Really Following Jesus at All by Mark Steele
  • FREE on Kindle: Deliver Us From Evelyn (Kansas City Blues Crime Series) by Chris Well (view the trailer)

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99₵ Sale From Abingdon Press-Today Only-April 15, 2013

Abingdon-Sale

Great news!  Just click on the icon above and you will be directed to the Amazon site with a list of all the books that Abingdon Press has on sale TODAY ONLY.  And the really fantastic news is that they have the first 3 books in the Emma Rae Creations series by Sandra D. Bricker for only 99 cents each.  If you follow me you got my review of Book 4 this morning, if not, you can read my review under the “Book Reviews” tab.  You’ll love this series.

I have several other books that are listed that I have yet to read (there’s just not enough time in the day to read all the books I want to), but I’m sure that most of them are good books also.  You can check out the reviews and see what you think.  99 cents is just about as good as free!

Other series that are available for 99 cents each TODAY ONLY that I have read and know are really good are:

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Deliciously Sweet, Funny, Christian Romance-A Must Read

cover22694-smallAlways the Baker, Finally The Bride (Emma Rae Creation #4) by Sandra D. Bricker (Abingdon Press)

I just finished reading this book and I LOVED it!  If you haven’t read this entire series (Always the Baker, Never the Bride #1; Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride #2; Always the Designer, Never the Bride #3) I would strongly suggest you read it.  You need to read these books in order to follow the characters and the storyline.  Book 4, Always the Baker, Finally the Bride, seems to be the final in the series, but I hope the author will revisit them in a follow up novel eventually.  I could read about Emma Rae, Jackson, and all the other great characters in this series for a long time to come.

Emma Rae is a fantastic baker and a diabetic!  But she creates the best sweets and she decorates the best wedding cakes ever.  This story continues the romance between Emma Rae and Jackson Drake, who is the owner of The Tanglewood Inn, located in Roswell, GA and being a Georgia girl myself, I love to read books set in our State!

You won’t believe some of the things that happen while planning their perfect wedding.  Sandra Bricker writes a wonderful story, delightful characters and is perfectly hilarious.  You’ll smile, giggle, laugh out loud and even shed some tears in this book.  I would love to read this entire series again, and for me, that means it’s very much worth your time.

This is a Christian fiction, but the Christian aspects is not overpowering and I believe anyone could read these books and enjoy them.  If you enjoy laughing, crying, and being totally captivated by characters in a story, then you’ll love this series.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from NetGalley and Abingdon Press for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Although, I must disclose that maybe I did receive compensation, not the kind you can measure..but the kind of compensation that readers get when they are totally drawn into a book, drawn into the characters lives, and root for them, and cry with them, and laugh with them.  This book did my soul good!  And that is compensation enough.  I would love to buy this entire series for my church Media Center.

Watch this cute YouTube video I found that Marian Miller made (great job!).

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A Season of Tending (Amish Vines and Orchards #1) by Cindy Woodsmall (5 Stars)

Scan 131030000Cindy Woodsmall has done it again and she keeps getting better and better.  This is Book 1 and the second book, The Winnowing Season, is out now and I can’t wait to read it.

Rhoda Byler is not your typical Amish young woman.  She senses things.  She has premonitions and the people in the Amish and Englischer communities are not happy with her.  They begin spreading rumors and causing her lots of trouble.  She has an acre on her family’s land and she has the greenest of green thumbs.  She can make anything grow and grow better and longer than anyone around.  But because of her herb garden and how she uses her herbs to help treat illnesses and the rumors associated with her premonitions, she is practically an outcast.

Then in a nearby Amish community, there’s a family who owns King’s Orchards and they are praying for a good crop this year to help out with the bills that have piled up from previous bad seasons.  As you can guess, Samuel King and his brother Jacob, meet up with Rhoda with a business proposal.

I won’t tell you anymore, because you just have to read this book. Since Book 2 is already out, you might as well buy it at the same time, because you’ll want to immediately pick it up and start reading it as soon as you finish A Season of Tending.

Cindy doesn’t write your “typical” Amish fiction.  Her books are just special and I have loved everyone I’ve read so far.

This book is our Women’s Book Club selection for May and we have it in the Media Center.  I will be ordering the sequel, The Winnowing Season, this month.  I can’t wait to read it!!!!

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The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren on Sale-Today Only-April 13, 2013

I just received an email from author, Susan May Warren, about her book The Shadow of Your Smile (Deep Haven #2).  It has been selected as Barnes and Noble’s Nook Daily Find.  So, for today only (4-13-13) it is on sale for $1.99 for your Nook.  

Book 1 in the series is You Don’t Know Me.  So if you are a Susan May Warren fan like me, you might want to check out this series.  It’s on my list of books to get and read.  Unfortunately for me, I have a Kindle!

  • $1.99 on Nook:  The Shadow of Your Smile (Deep Haven #2) by Susan May Warren (watch the YouTube trailer below)

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Free E-Book – April 12, 2013

This book sounds very interesting and has some very good reviews.  It’s Book 1 of a trilogy and it looks like this book is the only one in e-book format.  The books were originally published under the name, Cindy McCormick Martinusen, and the cover of this e-book is different than the original Winter Passing.  My guess is they went out of print and now the first book is coming back.  The other two can be found on amazon for some pretty good prices if you buy used.  Anyway, I’m going to give it a try because the reviews do seem to be good.  (Remember prices change quickly so double check the price before downloading.)

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Books for Appalachia News – April 12, 2013

Appalachian Mountain and Verse Picture.001

We just mailed our second box of books to Bill Barker, Director, Appalachian Regional Ministry in Hurricane, WV.  We sent 24 books, so that makes a total of 49 books we’ve sent so far.  We are excited to be able to share in this ministry and send great Christian books to those who may not have the opportunities that we have.

Here are a few of the books we sent today:

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Safe at Home by Richard Doster

The Name by Franklin Graham

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

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Friday Gleanings by Carmen – April 12, 2013

D.001

(Love) always protects. (1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV)

From time to time, buzzards can be seen flying overhead. When we see them, we know something is dead out in the nearby woods.  I suppose their purpose is to be nature’s clean-up crew.  There is no malice in what they do.  In fact, buzzards dispose of carrion which would otherwise be a breeding ground for diseases.

Today I reflected on one of the Bible’s saddest stories:  the story of Rizpah, one of Saul’s concubines.  As a woman and a concubine she had little control over anything in her life, but in the end her faithfulness and love moved the great King David to give a proper burial to her sons, despite political pressure from the Gibeonites.

There was a famine in the land during the reign of King David and a drought that lasted for three years. (2 Samuel 21:1-10) Therefore,  David, inquired of the Lord about the reason for the famine.   It was revealed that Saul’s shedding of Gibeonite blood was the reason for the famine.  Consequently, David goes to the Gibeonites asking them how to make atonement.

The Gibeonites refuse money or anything from David’s household, but ask for the lives of Saul’s sons.  David is able to save Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan because of a previous vow he had made to his friend, but was forced to turn over seven of Saul’s sons, including Rizpah’s only two sons.

As expected, the sons were impaled at the beginning of the barley harvest, which is in March.  The rains did not come till October.  So the bodies remained unburied till then and perhaps longer.  During all this time, Rizpah, the loving mother protected the bodies of her children as best she could, till such time as they could be buried.  Can you imagine such love and dedication?

2 Samuel 21:10 (NIV) describes Rizpah’s protective love: “Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by day or the wild animals by night.”

Finally, someone brings Rizpah’s predicament to David’s attention, and he gives the brothers a proper burial, placing them with the remains of King Saul and his family.

A loving mother gets the attention of a great and powerful king.  Amazing!  Love always protects.  Even when those we love are not saved and dead in sin, we continue to pray day and night, we witness and set an example of true love.  We try to shield them from Satan’s grasp. We guard the truth that has been given to us and try to pass it on whenever they need it most.  As we do the things any loving mother would do, we hold on to the hope that someday we will get the attention of the King.

Dearest Heavenly Father,

Thank You for allowing us to come before you on behalf of those we love, who are in need of salvation.  We want them to know you as we do, to love You the way we love You.  Do not forget them, Lord.  Like Rizpah, we are waiting and hoping for the day of the rains.  Instead of dead in sin, we want those we love to be crucified with Christ and sealed for eternal life with you.

In the name of Jesus, who wept and died for the lost,

Amen

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