Monday, December 31, 2007

Guest Reviewer...Intro and First Review

2007 was a great year for me, as I became reacquainted with the genre of Christian Fiction. I've always been an avid reader beginning with Grace Livingston Hill. Then in the 80s and 90s, I grew to love the work of Janette Oke. This year I've broadened my reading and found many new friends. So many thanks to all of you--Beverly Lewis, Tracie Peterson, Stephanie Grace Whitson, Lauraine Snelling, Lori Wick, and others too numerous to name--for many fascinating hours.

I was delighted to find several books under the Christmas tree. My first selections to read included Bygones and Beginnings by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I had discovered this author last summer, so I knew I was in for a special treat. I would describe Kim Vogel Sawyer's writing style as a combination of Janette Oke and Beverly Lewis. The characterization is well rounded and thought out. She does an excellent job of making the main characters realistic through a balance of dialogue, action, and internal dialogue.

Beth and her mother, Marie, struggle with the common issues of reconciliation, relationships, and the need to fit into community. Beth struggles with finding her purpose in life and finding the right priorities. I really enjoyed these books and I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this Sommerfield Trilogy--Blessings.

by Callie Laney (my wonderful, wonderful mother)

About Bygones:

Widower Marie Koeppler and her grown daughter Beth reluctantly return to the Mennonite community Marie abandoned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival in Sommerfeld, a series of mysterious thefts raises the community's suspicions against the ""outsiders."" Can Marie prove their innocence, or will she be forced to flee once more? Henry Braun thought he'd gotten his love for Marie out of his system, but soon begins to wonder if she's stolen more than his heart. When it's all said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start?

About Beginnings:

Beth Quinn is struggling to find a place to belong in the Old Order Mennonite Community of Sommerfeld, Kansas. When she starts a business designing stained glass windows, two men-one a Mennonite, the other not-begin to vie for her attention. Andrew Braun, a member of the Sommerfeld fellowship, is dedicated to family and faith. Sean McCauley, the son of a successful businessman, may only be interested in Beth's talents. Will Beth look to her heavenly Father to fill the emptiness within, or will her desperate quest for love shatter more than one heart?

Read more...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boo Humbug

Gutteridge, Rene. 2007. Boo Humbug.

I actually read this one on Sunday, but I didn't have time to review it before Christmas. This one is a gem of a book. It is funny and fun, and a book I recommend all around. It is set in a small town in Indiana, and it is one in a series of books. But this was my first exposure to the town and the people and I did just fine so I'm going to assume that others would do the same. There are multiple narrators, multiple story lines, etc. I won't go into too much detail here, it's best to read for yourself, but trust me it is funny and it just works wonderfully.

I don't laugh out loud often. And I rarely *torture* people by reading aloud passages from books, but in the case of Boo Humbug...I did both.

Read more...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 24

Song: Night Before Christmas
Artist: Amy Grant

Children carry through the streets
A brightly painted star.
Angels gather round the hearth,
Strumming on guitars.
Men of great renown and faith
Say prayers on boulevards.
It's the night before christmas.

But you don't have to be an angel
To sing harmony.
You don't have to be a child
To love the mystery. (mystery)
And you don't have to be a wise man
On bended knee.
The heart of this christmas is in you and me.

(the night before christmas.)
(the night before christmas.)

If your heart's been longing,
You've been afraid to try,
Sorrow's kept you company,
And the dance has passed by,
I'll lift you up and blaze with you
Across the moonlit sky
On the night before christmas.

'cause you don't have to be an angel
To sing harmony.
You don't have to be a child
To love the mystery. (mystery)
And you don't have to be a wise man
On bended knee.
The heart of this christmas is in you and me.

The heart of this christmas is in you and me.

(the night before christmas.)
(the night) the night before christmas.
(the night) the night before christmas.
(the night) the night before christmas.
(the night before christmas.)
(the night) the night before christmas.
(the night before christmas.)
(the night) the night before christmas.
(the night) la, la, la, la....

Read more...

The Shepherds' Prayer

Barry, Richard M. The Shepherds' Prayer.

Some people have last minute shopping. A time where they are frantically shopping and everything is in a frenzy. I don't. I never have. Instead, I almost always have last minute reading. I read several last-minute books this year that I'm going to try to review today. One of them is The Shepherds' Prayer. This one is biblical fiction. The prologue depicts one woman's hurried escape from the Slaughter of the Innocents. The Roman soldiers who came to Bethlehem to slaughter all boys under the age of two. But the heart and soul of this book is about what happens thirty years later.

Anam is a young man--if you consider thirty or thirty-one to be "young" which I do--adopted by another family. His father--the man he calls his father--found him on the side of the road. His mother was dead as was the horse she rode on. Anam which means "no name" is what he is called since he was already eight days old, already circumcised. Anam is on a quest to find out about his parents--to find out who he is and where he came from. So Anam sets out on a journey to Bethlehem in search of answers.

Most strangers are wary of answering Anam's questions. Especially when they find out that he was a babe that escaped the Slaughter of the Innocents. Any time he mentions the name of Jesus--the only clue he's got to go on--then people give him the cold shoulder. No one wants to help him. No one wants to even be civil. But he does piece together who might be able to help him. The shepherds who first proclaimed the arrival of this Messiah, this Christ child, this future king of the Jews.

So Anam's quest turns to that of a man seeking the shepherds. As you can imagine, his search is successful. The shepherds are eager to share their stories, share their thoughts and hopes about that glorious night. And they are overjoyed to find this man. They see his lambskin blanket that is inscribed and recognize it instantly, they knew his father. But more importantly perhaps to Anam, they know his name. His name is Stephen.

On his way back home, he comes across Jesus. A Jesus who has just begun his ministry. Just begun to heal the sick and proclaim his message. Jesus is depicted in this tale as seeking out the shepherds, seeking the ones who first worshipped him.

Overall, it is a nice, enjoyable story. Although some parts of the story are centered around the birth, I would say this is a story you can enjoy all year long. It's more about living and worshipping and witnessing...what you do with the child in the manger...after Christmas day.

Read more...

While the Shepherds Watched


Roberts, Steven. 2007. While Shepherds Watched.

I meant to review this one on Saturday, but things got away from me. Earlier in the year I reviewed Steven Roberts book, Christmas On Deery Street. I loved that book. I loved, loved, loved that book. I wish I could say the same about While Shepherds Watched. I didn't love, love, love it. But I enjoyed it. I'd give one an A+ and the other a B. Although since reading is subjective, you may find yourself loving this one more than the other. I can only speak to my own experiences here. First of all, Steven Roberts has once again created authentic characters. Characters that you feel you actually begin to know, begin to love by the time the story is through. That is rare for short stories, at least in my experiences. I'm used to bonding with characters in novels, but short stories--not so much. But Roberts does have a gift for characters, a gift for capturing human emotions, human nature so authentically, so genuinely. The stories presented here are: Gabriel's Trumpet, Peace In the Valley, Miracle in the Clearing, The Madam and the Paperboy, Transforming Christmas, and Full Circle. Of those stories, Gabriel's Trumpet, The Madam and the Paperboy, and Full Circle stand out to me. With Gabriel's Trumpet and Full Circle tying for first place in my thinking. Again this is subjective. In the first collection, I loved each and every story. In this second collection, well I loved a few, I liked a few, and I was neutral about a few. There weren't any that I hated by any means. But there were a few that left me unaffected, unmoved. But I'm glad I read this one, it would be worth your time and energy even if you just ended up loving two or three out of the six. There really is something for everyone--from every generation--to appreciate. Although I think this is a book for adults. (But what I meant by "every generation" was whether you're twenty-five or sixty-five, you're going to find something to enjoy in this collection.)

Read more...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 23

Labor of Love
from "Behold the Lamb of God"
Words and music by Andrew Peterson
Lyrics:

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

Read more...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 22

It Came To Pass
from "Behold the Lamb of God"
Words and music by Andrew Peterson
Lyrics:

It came to pass back in those days that Caesar, he decreed
A census would be taken of the Roman world, you see
So everyone packed up and headed back to their home towns
And this couple up from Galilee to Bethlehem was bound

So it came to pass this man named Joe was with his fiancee
Back when her pregnancy began to show he planned to go away
But it came to pass that in a dream an angel of the Lord
Said, "Joseph, don't you be afraid to marry Mary for
The little baby in her womb it is the Holy Spirit's work
You may have read the prophet said a virgin would give birth

So it came to pass that Joseph was the noblest of men
With a woman on a donkey on their way to Bethlehem
And I wonder whether either was aware enough that day
To know the child would bring a Kingdom
and the old would come to pass away

Yes, it came to pass that Joseph was the noblest of men
With a woman on a donkey on their way to Bethlehem

Read more...

Christmas Jars


Wright, Jason F. 2005. Christmas Jars.

I am so glad I found this to read before Christmas. When it came to my mailbox a few months ago, I set it to the side. I wanted to save it until it was really and truly Christmas. (A time when it wasn't 70 or 80 degrees outside.) Well, yesterday was the day. I loved this one. I did. It was just the right mix. It was sentimental and heartwarming, but it wasn't overly done. It was just a real, feel-good, warm and fuzzy read. One that I think everyone would enjoy. It's relatively short--a little over 120 pages--and it's just an enjoyable, satisfying holiday read. I don't want to get it into plot summary because there really isn't a way to do it justice. You'll just have to trust me that this works.

Read more...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 21

Matthew's Begats
from "Behold the Lamb of God"
Words and music by Andrew Peterson
Lyrics:

Abraham had Isaac
Isaac, he had Jacob
Jacob, he had Judah and his kin
Then Perez and Zerah
Came from Judah's woman, Tamar
Perez, he brought Hezron up
And then came

Aram, then Amminadab
Then Nahshon, who was then the dad of Salmon
Who with Rahab fathered Boaz
Ruth, she married Boaz who had Obed
Who had Jesse
Jesse, he had David who we know as king

David, he had Solomon by dead Uriah's wife
Solomon, well you all know him
He had good old Rehoboam
Followed by Abijah who had Asa
Asa had Jehoshaphat had Joram had Uzziah
Who had Jotham then Ahaz then Hezekiah

Followed by Manasseh who had Amon
Who was a man
Who was father of a good boy named Josiah
Who grandfathered Jehoiachin
Who caused the Babylonian captivity
Because he was a liar

Then he had Shealtiel, who begat Zerubbabel
Who had Abiud who had Eliakim
Eliakim had Azor who had Zadok who had Akim
Akim was the father of Eliud then
He had Eleazar who had Matthan who had Jacob
Now, listen very closely
I don't want to sing this twice
Jacob was the father of Joseph
The husband of Mary
The mother of Christ

Read more...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 20

No Eye Had Seen

Words: Amy Grant
Music: Michael W. Smith

No eye had seen
No ear had heard
'Til hosts on high
Proclaimed the birth
And heav'n brough down
(Quietly with no one watching)
Its only child
(From the womb of perfect peace)
The son of man
(Wellspring of our joy delivered)
The world reconciled
(Into earthly destiny)

And song broke forth
Angelic strain
And none could help
But sing the name

Emmanuel
(Kyrie eleison we sing)
Emmanuel
(Glory to the newborn King)
Emmanuel
(Mortal and immortal voices)
Emmanuel
(Endless praises echoing)

Read more...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 19

Lux Venit
Performed by Michael W. Smith

Lux venit lux venit
Sursum corda
Lux venit lux venit arise
Shine for your light has come

By sword by flame
in death solemn ages passed
And voices young
Grow old weary
Holding fast
Hope for the dawning

Lux venit lux venit lux venit
Sursum corda
Lux venit lux venit lux venit arise
Shine for your light has come

Lux venit lux venit
Sursum corda
Lux venit lux venit arise
Shine for your light has come

In grace in might
The babe lay in stable stark
Redemptions's light
Pierces through the shadows dark
Alleluia

Lux venit lux venit lux venit
Sursum corda
Lux venit lux venit lux venit arise
Shine for your light has come

Lux venit lux venit
Sursum corda
Lux venit lux venit arise
Shine for your light has come

Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia

Read more...

CFBA: Distant Heart


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Distant Heart

(Avon Inspire January 2, 2008)

by

Tracey Bateman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:








Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including Defiant Heart, the First in the Westeard Hearts series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and recently served on the board as President. She loves in Lebanon, Montana, with her husband and their four children.






ABOUT THE BOOK

In the second book in the Westward Hearts trilogy, will the promise of a new life out west heal the scars of Toni's past?

This series tells the stories of three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heroes along the way/ Thin Little House on the Prairie meets Francine river's Redeeming Love and you begin to get a sense of the riveting historical series that Tracey Bateman has created.

In this second installment, we follow Toni Rodden, a former prostitute who sought to escape her past and build a new life, and a new reputation, when she joined the wagon train. Despite much resentment and distrust from the other women, Toni has finally earned a place on the wagon train and found a surrogate family in Fannie Caldwell and her two siblings. For the first time in her life, Toni actually feels free.

But while Toni once harbored dreams that her new life might include a husband and family, she soon realizes the stigma that comes with her past is difficult to see beyond and that she'll never be truly loved or seen as worthy. As the trip out west begins to teach her to survive on her own, she resolves to make her own living as a seamstress when the train finally reaches Oregon.

But despite Toni's conviction that no man will be able to see beyond her marred past, Sam Two-feathers, the wagon scout and acting preacher for the train seems to know of a love that forgives sins and values much more than outward appearances. Will Sam have the confidence to declare his love? Will Toni be able to trust in a God that can forgive even the darkest past? Faith, love, and courage will be put to the test in Distant Heart.

Read more...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 18

The Night Before Christmas
Performed by Steven Curtis Chapman

It was the night before Christmas and all through the world
Everything looked like business as usual
Shepherds sat on a hillside looking up at the stars
While the world fell asleep unware just how deep
Was the darkness the night before Christmas

And the night before Christmas it seemed to be just a night
But the wind blew like something was coming
And like children with secrets that they're bursting to tell
The cedars danced in the breeze while all of nature it seemed
Held its breath on the night before Christmas

And hope, hope long awaited
The hope of the ages
Would break with the dawn
And the song that all of creation was anticipating
Would start with a baby's first cry

And on the night before Christmas Mary laid down to rest
While Joseph, he paced the floor praying
And in an everyday stable, in an everyday town
In the hours to come God would wrap Himself up
And come down from heaven and the world would forever be changed
After the night before Christmas

Read more...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 17

Jesus, Light of the World
Performed by Third Day

The most beautiful night of the year
All the stars light up the sky
And the city is sparkling with silver and gold
From a million points of light
A reflection of something that’s deeper within
Just a flicker of something more

Jesus, Light of the World
Shine through the darkness
Bright as the day
Jesus, Light of the World
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way tonight

Who is this child in a manger?
Kings bow down and angels sing
The Lord of the Universe
Has come here to save us
A precious Offering
All the heavens above and the earth below
Are filled with the light of Your love

Jesus, Light of the World
Shine through the darkness
Bright as the day
Jesus, Light of the World
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way tonight

Instrumental solo

Jesus, Light of the World
Shine through the darkness
Bright as the day
Jesus, Light of the World
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way

Jesus, shine, shine
Show us the way
Light of the world
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way tonight,
Oh, Show us the way tonight

Read more...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 16

Going Home for Christmas
Performed by Steven Curtis Chapman

Her house was where the family gathered every Christmas eve;
A feast was set on the table and gifts were placed beneath the tree.
Everything was picture perfect, Grandpa would laugh and say,
That woman spends the whole year getting ready for this day.

One year the leaves began to fall and her health began to fade;
We moved her to a place where they could watch her night and day.
But she kept making plans for Christmas from her little room;
She told everyone, I’ll miss you but I’ll be leaving soon.

I’m going home for Christmas and I’m going home to stay;
I’m going home for Christmas and nothing’s gonna keep me away.
I’ll be with the ones I love to celebrate the Savior’s birth;
This gift will be worth more to me than anything on earth.
I’m going home, home for Christmas.

All the leaves outside have fallen to be covered by the snow;
The family comes with food and gifts and Grandpa comes alone.
There’s a sadness in our silence as the Christmas story’s read,
And with tears, Grandpa reminds us of the words that Grandma said.

I’m going home for Christmas and I’m going home to stay;
I’m going home for Christmas and nothing’s gonna keep me away.
She’ll be face to face with Jesus as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth,
‘Cause she’ll be home.

And as we sing ‘Joy to the World’ I can’t help thinking
Of the joy that’s shining in her eyes right now.
And though our hearts still ache, we know that as we celebrate,
She’s singing with the herald angels and heaven’s glowing on her face.

And now she’s home for Christmas and now she’s home to stay;
She’s home for Christmas, and nothin’ could’ve kept her away.
She’ll be face to face with Jesus, as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth.
She’s home, she’s home for Christmas.
She is home, she’s home for Christmas.

Read more...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 15

The Gift Goes On
Performed by Sandi Patti

The Father gave the Son
The Son gave the Spirit
The Spirit gives us life
So we can give the Gift of love
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on

Don't you love to get a present wrapped up in a Christmas bow
God gave each of us a present on that night so long ago
It's a Gift that keeps on giving if our spirits can receive
It's the secret joy of living if our hearts can just believe

And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on and on and on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on
And the Gift goes on and on and on

When your life is full of Christmas then your life is full of love
You can give away the present that began with God above
Just like ripples in the water the circles of our love extend
What was started with the Father is a Gift that has no end

By Ron Harris and Claire Cloninger
(c) 1983 Ron Harris Music/ASCAP

Read more...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 14

Joseph's Lullaby
Performed by MercyMe

Go to sleep my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You'll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, Sleep tight

Read more...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 13

Hibernation Day
Performed by Jars of Clay

I don't want to get out of bed
You don't want to go out in the snow
We don't have to do the things Eskimos do
Let's have a hibernation day, me and you

The snow is climbing up the door
(so much higher than before)
The weatherman is sure there will be more
(I don't want to go out in the snow)
These blankets make a cozy little cave just for two
Let's have a hibernation day

I love the snap of winter air
and the snowflakes on my face
How the snowdrifts make the cars
Disappear without a trace

I'll take a day dressed in pajamas
in a room without a view
If I can spend the day
curled up next to you,
next to you (next to you)
I don't want to get out of bed
You don't want to go out in the snow
(It's so cold outside)
Let's have a hibernation day
We don't have to go out in the snow
Let's have a hibernation day, me and you

Read more...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Countdown To Christmas--Day 12

Breath of Heaven
performed by Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I've done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry your son.

I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.

Do you wonder as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place,
But I offer all I am

[Breath of Heaven lyrics on http://www.metrolyrics.com]
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Help me.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.

Read more...

CFBA: What Lies Within


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

What Lies Within

Multnomah Fiction (November 20, 2007)

by

Karen Ball



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Karen Ball , bestselling novelist, is also the editor behind several of today's bestselling Christian novels. Her love for words was passed down through her father and grandfather - both pastors who shared God's truth through sermons and storytelling. Blending humor, poignancy, and honesty, Karen's writing style is a powerful force for revealing God's truth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Don, and their "kids," Bodhan, a mischief-making Siberian husky, and Dakota, an Aussie-terrier mix who should have been named "Destructo."

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Nothing’s going to stop Kyla…


until the ground crumbles beneath her feet.


Kyla Justice has arrived. Her company, Justice Construction, is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful companies in the Pacific Northwest. And yet, something is missing. Not until she’s called on to build a center for inner-city kids does she realize what it is: her sense of purpose. Now nothing can stop her, not the low budget, not supply problems, not gang opposition, not her boyfriend’s suggestion that she sell her business and marry him–and most especially not that disagreeable Rafael Murphy.


Rafe Murphy understands battle. Wounded in action, this Force Recon Marine carries the scars–and the nightmares–to prove it. Though he can’t fight overseas any longer, he’s found his place as a warrior in the civilian world. So he soldiers on, trusting that one of these days, God will reveal to him why Rafe survived the ambush in Iraq. That day has arrived.


Kyla and Rafe both discover that determination alone won’t carry them through danger and challenges. When gang violence threatens their very foundations, there’s only one way to survive: rely on each other, be real–and surrender to God. In other words, risk everything…

Read more...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 11

So Long, Moses
by Andrew Peterson

Lyrics:

So long, Moses
Hello, Promised Land
It was a long, long road
But your people are home
So long, Moses

Hello, Joshua
Goodbye, Canaanites
We're coming to town
Twelve tribes and no crown
No crown, Oh Lord

We want a king on a throne
Full of power, with a sword in his fist
Will there ever be, ever be a king like this?


Hello, Saul
First king of Israel
You were foolish and strong
So you didn't last long
Goodbye, Saul

Hail, King David
Shepherd from Bethlehem
Set the temple of God
In mighty Jerusalem

You were a king on a throne
Full of power, with a sword in his fist
Has there ever been, ever been a king like this?
Full of wisdom, full of strength, the hearts of the people are his
Hear, O Israel, was ever there a king like this?

Hello, prophets
The kingdom is broken now
The people of God
Have been scattered abroad
How long, O Lord?

So speak, Isaiah
Prophet of Judah
Can you tell of the One
This king who's going to come

Will he be a king on a throne
Full of power with a sword in his fist?
Prophet, tell us will there be another king like this?
Full of wisdom, full of strength,
The hearts of the people are his
Prophet, tell us will there be
another king like this?

"He'll bear no beauty or glory
Rejected, despised
A man of such sorrow
We'll cover our eyes

He'll take up our sickness
Carry our tears
For his people
He will be pierced

He'll be crushed for our evils
Our punishment feel
By his wounds
We will be healed."

"From you, O Bethlehem
Small among Judah
A ruler will come
Ancient and strong."

©2004 Andrew Peterson

Read more...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 10

Precious Promise
by Steven Curtis Chapman

Oh what a precious promise,
Oh what a gift of love;
An angel told a virgin that
She's gonna have a son.
And though it's a precious promise,
She wonders how can this be;
What will the people say
And what if Joseph can't believe.
And her questions and her fears
Are met with an overwhelming joy
That God has chosen her.
Oh what a precious promise;
Mary waits as heaven comes to her.

Oh what a precious promise,
Oh what a gift of love;
Joseph makes his choice to do
What few men would have done:
To take Mary as his bride,
When she's already carrying a child
That isn't his own.
Oh what a precious promise;
Mary and the child will have a home.

And shepherds stand on a hillside,
Their hearts racing with the news the angel told them;
A star's light fills up the dark sky,
As a night of precious promise is unfolding.

Oh what a precious promise,
Oh what a gift of love;
The waiting now is over and
The time has finally come.
For the God who made this world
To roll back the curtain
And unveil His passion for the heart of man.
Oh what a precious promise,
Lying in a manger in Bethlehem.

Read more...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 9

Our God Is With Us
by Steven Curtis Chapman

One of us is cryin’ as our hopes and dreams are led away in chains,
And we’re left all alone;
One of us is dyin’ as our love is slowly lowered in the grave,
Oh and we’re left all alone.
But for all of us who journey through the dark abyss of loneliness
There comes a great announcement - we are never alone -
For the maker of each heart that breaks, the giver of each breath we take
Has come to earth and given hope it’s birth.

CHORUS
And our God is with us, Emmanuel.
He’s come to save us, Emmanuel.
And we will never face life alone
Now that God has made Himself known,
As Father and Friend, with us through the end, Emmanuel.

He spoke with prophets’ voices and showed Himself in a cloud of fire,
But no one had seen His face;
Until the One Most Holy revealed to us His perfect heart’s desire,
And left His rightful place;
And in one glorious moment, all eternity was shaken,
As God broke through the darkness that had kept us apart.
And with love that conquers loneliness, and hope that fills all emptiness
He came to earth to show our worth.

(chorus)

So rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come!
And our God is with us, Emmanuel.
He’s come to save us, Emmanuel.
And we will never face life alone
Now that God has made Himself known,
As Father and Friend, with us through the end, Emmanuel.
Our God is with us, Emmanuel!

Read more...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 8

Immanuel by Michael Card

A sign shall be given
A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing
Undiminished deity
The glory of the nations
A light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace
His warm reality

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

So what will be your answer?
Will you hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His son
But gave him for us all
On earth there is no power
There is no depth or height
That could ever separate us
From the love of God in Christ

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

Read more...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 7

The Final Word by Michael Card

You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.
When the Father's wisdom wanted to communicate His love,
He spoke it in one final perfect Word.

He spoke the incarnation, and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

And so the Father's fondest thought took on flesh and bone.
He spoke the living luminous word, at once His will was done.
And so the transformation that in man had been unheard,
Took place in God the Father as he spoke that final Word.

And so the Light became alive and manna became Man.
Eternity stepped into time so we could understand

Read more...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 6

"While You Were Sleeping"
by Casting Crowns

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we're lying in the dark
There's a shout heard 'cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

Read more...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 5

This song is one of my favorites. It is NOT on a Christmas album, but I always felt it was the perfect kind of Christmas song. The artist is Shaun Groves.

God With Us
by Shaun Groves

Hope has come
To the world
Heaven's son is
Born to earth
To hide beneath our
Flesh and bone
Call us friend
And call this home
Emmanuel
God with us
God with us
Emmanuel
God with us

Love has come
Weighted down
By splintered beam
And thorny crown
To take our nails
And taste our steel
Spill his life
And grace reveal

Savior
God for us
God for us
Savior
God for us

Heaven come
And take our hand
Whisper till we understand
Move our stubborn
Hearts to love
The very least
As you love us

Spirit be
God in us
God in us
Spirit be
God in us

Emmanuel
Savior
Spirit be
God of us
God of us

Read more...

CFBA: Bluegrass Peril

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Bluegrass Peril

(Steeple Hill December 4, 2007)

by

Virginia Smith



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has contracted eight novels and numerous articles and short stories.

She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and her new release, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines.

An energetic speaker, Virginia loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”






ABOUT THE BOOK:

WHO KILLED HER BOSS?


Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing...even if she had opportunity.

When the director of the retirement farm for thoroughbred champions is murdered, Becky Dennison teams up with the handsome manager of a neighboring horse farm, Scott Lewis, to find her boss's killer. Soon the amateur detective are hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepen.

The amateur sleuths uncover a trail of clues that lead them into the intricate society of Kentucky's elite thoroughbred breeding industry. They soon find themselves surrounded by the mint julep set - jealous southern belles and intensely competitive horse breeders - in a high-stakes game of danger, money, and that famous southern pride.

And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks has the greatest stakes of all: life or death!


Romantic Times awarded Bluegrass Peril
* * * * FOUR STARS! * * * *

Read more...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 4

Christmas Like A Child by Third Day

I want to feel Christmas, how it used to be
With all of its wonder falling on me
This season has felt so empty, oh for quite a while
I want to feel Christmas like a child

I want to see snowflakes fall to the ground
My brothers and sisters all gathered around
Singing "Away In A Manager" as we sit by the fire
I want to feel Christmas like a child

It's been so long now, I can't say
Just when I lost my way
But I'm going back to how it was
When this day meant everything
And we spent our time remembering
The baby Child born for us

It's all about Jesus, asleep in the straw
This infant, this King, this Savior for all

So I don't need bells to be ringing
'Cause I'll join with angels singing
Gloria
And I can feel Christmas like a child
I want to feel Christmas like a child...

Read more...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 3

The song "A Strange Way to Save the World."

Sure he must have been surprised
At where this road had taken him
'Cause never in a million lives
Would he had dreamed of Bethlehem
And standing at the manger
He saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel come to life
And Joseph said...

(CHORUS)
Why me, I'm just a simple man of trade
Why Him, with all the rulers in the world
Why here inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she's just an ordinary girl
Now I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world

To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth
But Joseph knew the reason
Love had to reach so far
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must have thought...

(CHORUS)

Now I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world
...this is such a strange way to save the world...Saving the World

Read more...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 2

We Are The Reason
by David Meece

As little children
We would dream of Christmas morn
Of all the gifts and toys
We knew we'd find
But we never realized
A baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

We were the reason
That He gave His life
We were the reason
That He suffered and died
To a world that was lost
He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

As the years went by
We learned more about gifts
The giving of ourselves
And what that means
On a dark and cloudy day
A man hung crying in the rain
All because of love, all because of love

I've finally found the reason for living
It's in giving every part of my heart to Him
In all that I do every word that I say
I'll be giving my all just for Him, for Him

He is my reason to live

Read more...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Countdown to Christmas--Day 1

This one, "It's Christmas Time" appears on the City On A Hill album, "It's Christmas Time"

In the city on the hill
Hear the bells chime
Peace on earth good will
Its Christmas time
Glad tidings we will bring
of Christ the new born king
And with the angels sing at Christmas time

Its Christmas time
Its Christmas time
Its Christmas time
Its Christmas time
Its Christmas time

In a town of Betlehem
See the stars shine
Fall down and worship Him
Its Christmas time
Glad tidings we will bring
of Christ the new born king
And with the angels sing at Christmas time

Glo...ho...ho...oo..ria
In exelcis Deo...
Glo...ho...ho...oo..ria

In the city on the hill
Hear the bells chime
(Peace on earth)
Peace on earth good will
(Its Christmas time)
Its Christmas time
Glad tidings we will bring
of Christ the new born king
And with the angels sing at Christmas time

Glad tidings we will bring
of Christ the new born king
And with the angels sing at Christmas time

Its Christmas time (10x)

In the city on the hill
Gloo..ooo..ooo...ooo...ria..
Its Christmas time

Read more...