Saturday, May 31, 2014

God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill

~Saturday Stories~


As a boy, Brother Andrew had always dreamed of "adventure", but little did he know just how adventurous God's plans for him were. The Iron Curtain that held so many out could not hold him when he was smuggling Bibles and encouraging the Church. God closed the eyes of the officers at checkpoints, God let rain fall so no one would see them unpacking Bibles in the car, God provided enough money just when it was needed. And so, so much more...  


I don't read much non-fiction, but this was ABSOLUTELY GREAT! I could almost imagine the places he was describing, I would worry about how they were going to get out of this one. But God always provided. Fast-paced and insightful, this book is a true life story like not many other. I recommend everyone over twelve read it. 

The Iron Curtain isn't there anymore, but God's Smuggler ends with a call - to the growing world of Islam. Here is Open Door's website for more info on how YOU can help the persecuted Christians out there. 

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.  Revelation 3:2a (NIV)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Abreast

~Friday for Friends~

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, we have the word "abreast", which means "side by side". (Webster's dictionary, 1993)

Friends usually do a lot of fun things together. It's unique, interesting, refreshing. It's something we enjoy doing.

But being friends means sticking with each other even when the going is rough. When you'd rather be doing something else or when you're  just tired. It means 'being there' for each other - 24/7. Well, not really, but as much as you can.

The best Friend of all is, of course, Jesus.
He is really with us 24/7 and He'll always be there for us.

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:20

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Praying for others

~Tuesday Thoughts~


A week or so ago, I had at least three people say they'll pray for me. That can be SO uplifting and cool. Praying is talking to God and it's wonderful to know that someone will mention you in their own conversation with the Almighty.

It's something you can always do for others no matter what. Do you have a friend or relative who's having a hard time financially? Pray for them. Are they sick? Pray for them. Are they having doubts about the faith? Pray for them.

And let them know that they are in your prayers.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16 (NIV)

Monday, May 26, 2014

We Can't Wait Any Longer

~Monday Movies & Music~


A thought-provoking song : We Can't Wait Any Longer by Michael W. Smith. Here are the lyrics.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Think about it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill

~Saturday Stories~ 


Typical Ellie: I’m ninety-nine percent sure the only reason I’m interested in Palmer Davis is because I know without a doubt I could never have him. “Ellie?” I turn from the doorway— the one Palmer stands in with Diego Ortiz—and face Lucy. 

Ellie Sweet is just a usual girl trying to survive high school with her friends. But then those friends decide that they're too cool for her and avoid her. And what's worse is that her secret crush is shouted out for the whole world to hear. Now's the time for Ellie's sweet revenge - writing a novel. 


The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet was a very interesting story. I could understand Ellie on many levels. And I loved her not-cruel-and-often-funny sarcasm from the start. Reading about a writer was so fun too. What would really make this book great, in my opinion, would be more about God. Ellie says she's a Christian and she doesn't party, but otherwise there's not too much about her faith. 

The sequel to The Revised Life is The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet. Another book of Stephanie Morrill's is her novella Throwing Stones, which is free on her website.

For more on Stephanie Morrill visit her website and Facebook page. She is the founder of Go Teen Writers, a blog with lots of writing advice.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Abiding

~Friday for Friends~


Continuing the Friday for Friends post series, the next word is "abide".

Abide means "to tolerate; to bear; to remain; to last; to conform to; to comply with". (Webster's dictionary, 1993)

Let's take the first 3 meanings. To be real friends with someone means to remain with him, even if you don't quite agree. I don't mean when he/she is sinning_- that's different-but when you just don't think alike on a topic. Like music tastes, book favories, the amount of risk you're willing to take. Maybe it just drives you nuts when your friend goes babbling on about her garden and you don't know the first thing there is to it. Or you're waiting for his soccer practice to end and he's taking a good long while in the locker room. Or maybe she's crying her heart out and you just don't see what's the big deal.

We're all different. Now matter how alike you and your friend are, there are always differences. We should try not to concentrate on them, but rather on the things that bring us close.

Just try to imagine how much God bears with us!

Ephesians 4:2 (NIV) says "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

Amen!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

God's glory

~Tuesday Thoughts~

The Greater Glory of the New Covenant

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:7-18 (NIV) 

Sometimes we sort of forget how glorious our God is. The comparison in this passage is to Exodus 34:29-35 where Moses's face is radiant after talking with God. If that was glorious, we can't begin to imagine how glorious "the ministry that brings righteousness" is. Our God is a God of glory. And He's merciful to let us come and know Him. 

Amen! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

More Than You'll Ever Know

Monday Movies & Music


More Than You'll Ever Know is a beautiful song by Watermark. Here are the lyrics.

Do you have a friend who you can cry or laugh with, who will pray over you when you're having a hard time? Take the time time to thank him/her today. And be a friend like that too.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall

~Saturday Stories~


Typical Ellie: I dream horses. I don't just dream about horses. I dream up horses so real I can smell horse. Horse is the best scent in the whole world. They could put that stuff into perfume and make a fortune.

4-th grader Ellie James dreams of and prays about having her own horse. But not just any horse. She dreams of a black stallion with which she'll surely win the Hamilton Royal Horse Show. So when a scrawny pinto comes into her life, she helps it, but doesn't think much about it. But can it be that God has more in store for her than she has ever dreamed?


This isn't a teen story - the hero is in fourth grade- but I found it to be a fun quick read. Through it Ellie learns that God's plans aren't ours and that sometimes prayers get answered in a way we did not expect.

I recommend Horse Dreams to Christian kids and tweens who love horses. For more on Dandi Daley Mackall visit her website and Facebook page.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Abetting

~Friday for Friends~



This is my first Friday for Friends post ever! I decided to just go through the dictionary I have and discuss the words that have something to do with friendships.

So the first word that had much to do with friendship was 'abet'. To abet means to "incite, encourage or assist". Giving and getting encouragement is a big part of being friends. When your friend is feeling down your timely words or comforting silence can go a long way. And when you're the one who feels low your friend can encourage you on.

Not surprisingly, God's Word encourages us to abet. 

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Jesus did a lot of encouraging while he was on Earth. 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.".  Matthew 5:3-12 (NIV)

And God is still there for you every day and He will encourage you. 

Blessings!






Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Being homesick

~Tuesday thoughts~


Have you ever been homesick? It’s an awful feeling. Especially when your home is far away and you can’t do anything about it.

I have this country I really, really love and would LOVE to be in right now. I’ve been there before and it’s actually where I was born, so I can definitely call it “being homesick”. The problem is, there’s really not much chance of me being there sooner than a little over a year (and I’ve been waiting awhile already).

While I am where I am I dream of stepping out of the airplane and soaking in the air. I dream of visiting familiar places and meeting the people I know. And I cry. Sometimes for a good long while, because it hurts that I can only imagine it and I can’t be there.

One thing that really helps me is knowing that my God knows how it feels. I think Jesus was probably homesick for heaven while He was here on Earth. He knew how much better it was there. And even though He could get back, He didn’t. My point is that JESUS KNOWS HOW IT FEELS TO BE HOMESICK. And when you cry out, because it seems you can’t stand it anymore, He’s there for you. And He has you right where you belong.

Amen.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Belle and the Beast: A Christian Romance

~Monday Music & Movies~


Belle’s dad broke a work of art at rich Eric Landry's house , who is now threatening to call his boss and have him fired. So Belle steps in. She agrees to be Eric’s assistant until he feels the debt is paid off. Just how hard will it be to work for this ill-tempered man who everyone calls “the beast” and is rumored to be a drunkard? Is there any good in him at all?

“Beauty and the Beast” in modern days, this Christian romance is sweet and often humorous.  There were so many times when we just laughed and laughed.

The idea of the story is that God wants us to be happy. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t there or that He doesn’t care.

I recommend “Belle and the Beast” to all who love romance, laughter and a movie for His glory. 

Here's the trailer to "Belle and the Beast", and here it is on Amazon

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blog changes!

Hi, all! :)
I'm making a few changes to my blog posting schedule. Hurray! After looking at other blogs and thinking about it a bit, I've decided that a more organized schedule would be good. It will a) help you know what to expect from me, b) help me know what to write about and c) provide a feeling of consistency.

So here’s the “official” schedule. :)


  •  Monday Music & Movies is where I’ll talk about/review a song or movie that can help us grow in the faith.
  • Tuesday Thoughts is where, as before, I’ll post my thoughts on life, Scripture, relationship with God, etc. 
  • Friday for Friends will include thoughts and Bible verses on an aspect of friendship and show how Jesus is the Friend. 
  • Saturday Stories are going to be either book reviews, something I wrote or a quote I find interesting. 


Maybe I’ll also try and sprinkle in some guest posts, who knows?

Hope you enjoy!

Blessings, Sofia Marie 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson

Typical Ellie: As the flat iron worked its magic, she planned the coming days. Homecoming was only three weeks away and, like the rest of her life, she wanted it to be perfect.

Ellie Lansing has the perfect life: a good family, an understanding best friend, but most of all an awesome and loving boyfriend. And then it comes crashing down. Her mom gets cancer and her oh-so-amazing boyfriend turns out to be not so amazing. What did she do deserve this? She always followed all the rules and this is where they got her. Didn’t God owe her an easy life?

The idea of Worth the Wait is interesting and practical for many Christians, teens or older. Ellie learns that following the rules does not guaranty you an easy life. She also discovers how great God’s plans for her are, even if that’s not what she had planned. I appreciated that sex before marriage was always shown as the wrong it is.


Another great part of the book was the mission trip that completely changed Ellie’s perspective on the world. Personally, I think that the book would have been a lot more pleasant if there was more about that and the youth group and at least a little less about Dylan. Also, a prologue would help the readers grasp just how perfect Ellie’s life used to be and thus appreciate the vastness of the changes.

Worth the Wait is good read that leaves you wondering: “What will the second book be about?” The second book in the Waltham Academy series is Worth the Time.

For more on Laura Jackson, visit her blog and Facebook page. You can also find her on Twitter and Pinterest.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, which I have written.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nature's beauty

Have you ever seen the blue of the sky on a spring day with fluffy clouds passing by? Have you seen a dog in one cloud, a mouse in another? And then looked again ten seconds later and they were dragons instead?

Have you ever glanced at the forest from a window and seen the shadows the clouds make on the pine trees?

Have you ever seen little clutches of grass in the middle of sand and rock, swaying wherever the wind goes, but staying rooted in their spot?

That is beautiful. That is HIS creation.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (NIV)

We can glimpse a little of Him through the nature around us. Take a look around and notice what He has made. It is GRAND.

How about you? What are some of the things you see God in? 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Helping others

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)

We need to take this more seriously and help those around us. The time and work it takes will be so worth it when the King tells us 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father'.

Any big ideas, anyone? Or small ones, too, of course. :) Please share.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Luminary by Krista McGee

Typical Thalli: I smile to myself as I realize I feel less and less a part of the State. That Thalli from the State is disappearing, being made into Thalli from New Hope.

Forty years ago there was a nuclear war. The ten scientists who were thought to be the only survivors have maintained an emotion-free world underground. Thalli is an anomaly. She was scheduled for annihilation, but with her friends she escaped. But is there any point? Is there any life above-ground and if there is, will the people be friendly?


Krista McGee is a wonderful author. I'm surprised again by the number of plot twists in her books. Another great thing: Thalli matures so much in Luminary. She learns to trust the Designer whatever the situation.

One thing, though, I would love if Krista McGee changed is the amount of “telling” in the story. Instead of “he was angry” I’d love to see his fists clenching, his eyes turning red, his feet stomping. But again, the plot twists make up for that and go beyond. I recommend this to any Christian reader and lover of science fiction. And if you’re new to the genre, like me, you might just love it anyway.

This is the second book in the Anomaly trilogy. The first one is Anomaly and the third, Revolutionary, is coming in July. I can't wait!

For more on Krista McGee, visit her website and facebook page.