Shades of Blue

I just finished Karen Kingsbury’s book, Shades of Blue. This is probably the most touching of all of her books that I’ve read. What does one do when the foolish choices of our past keep us from moving forward? Brad is one such person. He has the world at his feet, a promising career, a beautiful godly fiance, and a wedding just 6 weeks away. But he can’t shake his past and realizes that in order to move forward to a new chapter, he must finish the last one. Doing so, may cost him his future. Is it worth the risk?

Can’t Put It Down

If you enjoy fiction and want a can’t-put-it-down read, try Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman. After reading this one, I want to hunt down her other titles, A Promise to Remember and Waiting for Daybreak. I enjoy realistic fiction that deals with challenging issues and this book didn’t disappoint.

This prodigal son story will capture your heart as you rejoice with a mother at the return of her son and agonize with her at the possibility of losing him again. Although Christ forgives, there can still be a price to pay for truth. You’ll be challenged to think about that as you see courage in action.

Here’s what the back of the book says: The police car outside triggers Alisa Stewart’s worst fear – her son, Kurt, is dead, his life lost forever to addiction. Instead, the office is just following a lead on a crime. And when Kurt calls to say he’s checked himself into rehab and found a healing faith, Alisa feels a hope she’d given up on.

It’s like her son has been brought back from the dead.

But then the cop returns, asking dark questions about the murder of someone Kurt once knew. Alisa is terrified. Her boy is different now. He’s changed and deserves a second chance. But as his old life refuses to stay buried, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice:

 keep silent and keep her son…

 or risk everything in a quest for truth.

Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm…

I recently taught a lesson on Psalm 22, focusing particularly on verse 6. Several people have asked for notes on the lesson and a few have asked me to post it on my blog. I’m attempting something new and have posted the Powerpoint presentation. The slides are set to advance automatically, but you can still click on the slide to forward if you are done reading before the 12 seconds are up. If you do not have the latest version of Powerpoint, you will be prompted to download a compatibility pack in order to view the Powerpoint. Please click on the link below to open the presentation.

Psalm 22 Presentation

Lessons from Tamar

This summer I am enjoying Francine Rivers’ book, A Lineage of Grace. The book contains the stories of 5 women from the Bible. Rivers writes a historical fiction piece on each woman and then follows up with a six lesson Bible study about that person. Tamar is the first woman covered in the book. Reading Francine’s rendition of Tamar gave me new insight into the plight of this woman and a greater depth of understanding. You can read Tamar’s story in Genesis 38.

The first lesson I gleaned from Tamar is that God uses the most unlikely of persons. Tamar was rejected, abused, unloved, and abandoned, but ended up a matriarch of the Messiah. She is listed in the genealogy of Christ. (See Matthew 1:3). It doesn’t matter what our background, ethnicity, social status or what past sins we’ve committed. If we allow him to, God can use us for great things. We can become children of royalty, joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Tamar ran ahead of God by disguising herself as a prostitute and deceiving Judah into sexual intercourse. God does not condone deception, however, he did use Tamar’s actions despite the dishonesty. When God has chosen us, his purpose will prevail in our lives.

When Judah found out that Tamar was pregnant, he condemned her to death by burning. His condemnation was public. As she was being brought out to face certain doom, she sent a messenger to Judah, essentially carrying his ID. The messenger does not condemn Judah, but merely presents him with his seal, cord, and staff and asks if he recognizes them. This is the point at which Judah repents and calls off Tamar’s death sentence. Sometimes we need to be more like Tamar, and confront others in a non-threatening, private manner.

If we were to choose a matriarch for the line of Christ, most of us would not even look to Tamar. We would seek someone more “holy looking”, not an everyday Canaanite widow who would go so far as to play the harlot to get what she had been wrongly denied. However, God does not look on the outward appearance, but instead, he looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). When our heart and motivation is pure, the Holy Spirit can work and move to do great things in and through us.

The Fitting Room Study Starting Soon!

If you’re joining us for The Fitting Room study by Kelly Minter, we’re staring soon! Monday, April 18th is our big kickoff. Please click here to go to the Women of the Word blog. There you will find a post about the study and an invitation to introduce yourself. We’re looking forward to meeting you and digging into the word together.

Free Book Give-Away

If you’re planning on joining us for Kelly Minter’s study The Fitting Room, Putting on the Character of Christ there is a free book give-away. The study starts April 18th. To enter the drawing for the free book go to Women of the Word and scroll down to Sunday’s blog post. You’ll see a picture of Kelly’s book and instructions on how to enter to win a free one. Check back as it gets closer to April 18th for more information about the study and an opportunity to introduce yourself if you’re joining us. If you don’t win the free book, you can order one at Barnes and Noble for only $9.99. If you go in with some friends and place an order of $25 or more, you get free shipping.