Shelter of the Most High, by Connilyn Cossette book review

Shelter of the Most High written Connilyn Cossette

This book is a story about a young woman, Sofea  and her friend Prezi, who are kidnapped by maurading pirates, and then tossed overboard as a means of escaping a terrible fate. They swim to shore, and are found by kindly Hebrew soldiers, who take them to Kedesh, a City of Refuge, and the story proceeds from there.

I’ve never read any of Connilyn Cossette’s books, and this was book 2 in a series, but it filled in enough blanks from the previous book so that it can be read as a stand alone.
This story lightly touches on the first inhabitants of Sicily, the Sciani, since there are scarce
amounts of ancient artifacts from which to build a factual history. She also lets the reader know that since The Cities of Refuge series takes place during an interim
period between the Conquest and the Judges, there is very little known about this time, too.

I liked the story of Eitan, a young man of the Hebrew race, more than the one of Sofea a daughter of a pagan high priest from Sicily. I also appreciated her writing of the perspective of an observant Jew, and her description of the Jewish High Priest, and I think Mrs. Cossette did a good job of presenting that. In my opinion, the Sofea character was lightweight, and even though she was compassionate and protective about her lame friend Prezi, her storyline dragged a bit for me.  The other main character, Eitan, was a Nazarite, and had taken the vow to not cut his hair or drink alcoholic beverages, and I assume not to become ritually impure by coming into contact with corpses or graves. He was a proficient carpenter, but was mostly drawn to the art of metalsmithing.  He made a lot of weapons for the Hebrew soldiers.
Eitan’s storyline was one I liked more than the others.
Eitan and Sofea fall in love, and that aspect of the story is well written. Nothing but G rating, which is great!    I appreciate G-rated Christian fiction romance books!
Mrs. Cossette used references from the New American Standard Bible, albeit sparingly, which was dismaying to me from the start, since I use the King James bible.
As for being historical fiction, I would say a lot of her book is speculation, and literary license. If you are fine with that, then this book could be an entertaining read for you.
Shelter of the Most High is a light and easy read, repetitious at times, and slow moving. Personally, I wish there had been more details, and more references to the Bible. Jesus Christ is a Christian’s city of refuge today.

I’m sure Connilyn’s books appeal to a large audience of readers, and that’s great for them. They will most likely enjoy this story, and the series. It just wasn’t for me.

If you’re interested in more of her books, please visit her website:
https://www.connilyncossette.com/out-from-egypt-series
This book is provided to me free by Bethany House Publishers without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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Bible Study~Mark Ch. 4

This is part of Mark, chapter 4, and I’d like to share it with you.

Jesus was teaching by the sea side, and so many people were there to hear him, that he had to get into a ship, and teach from the water to the people on land.

A portion from THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER:
Mark 4: 5,6 –  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth;  and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

But when the sun was up, it was scorched;  and because it had no root, it withered away.

Now, Jesus explains the parable, and this is the part that pertains to the above Scriptures:

Mark 4:16,17 – And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground;  who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time:  afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

See that word, “offended”?  It is used 29 times in the New Testament, and here are the meanings:

Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
skan-dal-id’-zo Verb
Definition
  1. to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend
    1. to entice to sin
    2. to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey
      1. to cause to fall away
      2. to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority
      3. to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of another
    3. since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels annoyed
      1. to cause one displeasure at a thing
      2. to make indignant
      3. to be displeased, indignant

Are YOU one who has NO ROOT in yourself, and you are offended, or do you wither away, and shrink back,  when affliction or persecution happens to you because of your Christianity, your profession of Jesus Christ as Lord of your life?  Do you get angry, or do you wither away when people, or one person in particular, makes fun of you, or calls you names, or rejects you?  BE CAREFUL, you will fall away into HELL, unless you work to establish that ROOT in yourself, by renewing your mind DAILY, by reading the King James bible, read it EVERY day, think about it during the day, and when bad thoughts arise in your heart, THINK ABOUT the bible’s wisdom and admonition, think about God’s promises, and establish a very good and deep root system for yourself!  You don’t want to be one who falls away when persecution arises for the word’s sake!!  Be STRONG in the LORD, and in the power of His might!  Put on the whole armor of God, and if you don’t know what the whole armor consists of, LEARN IT!  Ephesians 6:10-18!

May you submit your thoughts and life to God today, and every day from now on.  Pray for me, and for one another.

 

Book Review~ Night Preacher by Louise A. Vernon

This is a book about Menno Simons, who became the leader of the Anabaptists, now known as Mennonites. Menno was born in the Frisian ( a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea in what today is mostly a large part of the Netherlands, including modern Friesland, and smaller parts of northern Germany.)  town of Whitmarsum, in 1496,  which is in the Netherlands.

** Little is known about Menno’s childhood and home. His parents were probably dairy farmers. Menno may have received his training in a nearby monastery. He had some knowledge of the church fathers, knew Latin and a little Greek but no Hebrew.

Menno Simons - engraving by Jacob BurghartMenno was consecrated  a (Catholic) priest at Utrecht, in 1524. For twelve years (1524-1536) he served as a parish priest, first for seven years in his father’s village Pingjum, later for five years in Witmarsum. He would later write about how he and his fellow priests lived an easy going life, spending their time “playing cards, drinking, and in diversions as, alas, is the fashion and usage of such useless people”. quoted from:http://www.mennosimons.net/life.html

This story is told from the viewpoint of Bettje, Menno’s daughter, who is about 10 years old at the time.  Since the Catholic church was in control of things at the time, severe persecution was part of the risk of being an Anabaptist in parts of the Netherlands, and this book tells of the constant danger Menno and his family were in, simply for speaking the Gospel, and telling people the truth about what Jesus REALLY says in the Bible. Since it was against the man-made law to practice any religion except the Catholic one, most of Menno’s preaching and teaching was done at night, in in country fields, attics or barns, or secret house meetings.  There was always the danger of neighbors spying on Anabaptists, and turning them over to the Catholics, so meetings had to be arranged in strict secrecy.  Sometimes, though, there were untrustworthy people in the groups, and eventually, this would lead to Menno and his family having to pack up everything and sneak out of the city and move to another safer abode.

During one move, someone told about the Hollanders who were draining marshy land in Oberland, and establishing whole villages of no one but Anabaptists.  This was exciting news, being able to have a self-contained community where they could worship Jesus Christ properly, without fear of persecution or martyrdom.

**http://www.mennosimons.net/life.html

Hermes Micron, John a Lasco, and Gellius Faber, and the Muensterites are also mentioned in this book.  You might find it interesting and valuable to your store of knowledge to find out more about them.  This is a good introductory book for young teens and older children, to learn about Anabaptist’s/Mennonite’s  beginnings.

Product details

  • Age Range: 9 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 – 7
  • Series: Louise A. Vernon
  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Herald Press (September 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0836117743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0836117745
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches

 

Book Review of Sandi’s Anchor of Hope by Romaine Stauffer

Sandi’s Anchor of Hope
by Romaine Stauffer

This is a true story about a woman who survived years of abuse and neglect growing up in a very dysfunctional home. Sandi struggled almost daily with her mother’s alcoholism, verbal and physical abuse,
neglect, and selfishness. She had understandable fears and insecurities, which manifested themselves in both her childhood through adulthood. No sense of permanance, since her mother would move the family almost every year, from one run-down dwelling to another. Sandi attended many schools, and had no one
to help her with her studies at home, and as a result lagged behind in academics.

This true story may seem too sad and depressing to read, but it’s really not. You get to see how God orchestrates events in Sandi’s life that eventually lead her to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is a painful journey to take with this battered child, who ached for love and freedom from threats of danger, but it’s a happy ending indeed. No matter what your situation is, no matter how hopeless it is, how crushing andfrightening, there is an answer and a way out. Read this story of a person who found security, love, and
acceptance in Jesus Christ, who gave her answers and direction in her life.

It really does have a happy ending, and is also an interesting introduction to the Mennonite community. I became interested in finding out more about them, as a result of reading this book.
It would be wonderful, I think, to be in a congregation of conservative believers who reject worldliness and support one another in staying strong in the faith.
I hope you can get a copy of the book, Sandi’s Anchor of Hope, by Romaine Stauffer, and take time to read it. God’s love and mercies are there in our lives,

even before we seek Him. 

Bible Study

I’ve been working through a good bible study course, offered free by  a church in Greenville, MI, called Liberty Baptist Church:  http://www.libertybaptistgreenville.com/

So far I’ve finished a study on Islam, and a study booklet about music, what is Godly, and spiritual, and how to tell if music is appropriate for Christians to listen to.  They talk about content, control, and context of music.

Some quotes from the booklet:  “There is no such thing as neutral music.  All music has an effect upon the listener-without a word ever being spoken.  That is why God stated that all music which Christians listen to must have a melody to it, something with harmony, organized tones, and a sweet and agreeable sound. Very little of today’s contemporary Christian music can pass this test.”

They also bring up the fact that many churches entertain rather than exhort, reprove, and rebuke the members.  The booklet states:  What is true of babies?  They cannot do anything for themselves.  They have to be entertained, or they cry.  …… He cries out…..I cannot understand that old King James bible, so he finds a church that entertains with worldly music and a watered-down translation of the Bible.

If you’re interested in this free Baptist bible study, you can get some booklets mailed to your home or office, free.  Go here:  http://www.libertygospeltracts.com

Here’s the church’s web page:  http://www.libertybaptistgreenville.com/

 

Also, I’m reading another book by Cathy Gohlke, called, “William Henry is a Fine Name“.  It was her debut novel, and it won a well-deserved Christy Award.  The book will appeal to everyone from young adult to senior citizen.  A review is coming soon, God willing.  In the meantime, get yourself a copy, and read it.

Book Review~The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

This is a story of an Amish family torn apart by the death of the parents, and of the long but loving journey back to healing and moving on with life.

Lena Schwartz has 9 siblings, and after their parent’s demise, the Centerville, Michigan Amish community finds suitable homes for the brothers and sisters, and Lena, the oldest, has to relocate to her dad’s cousin’s house in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.   Harley and Mimi open their home and hearts to Lena, and gradually, Lena begins healing from her huge losses.  She is always planning to save enough money and return to her family in Michigan, and keeps working for Mimi.

This book was a very gentle, very CLEAN and CHRISTIAN story, and I was quite pleased at the author’s skill in weaving several stories together so expertly.  There are many interesting characters and plots in The Road Home, and I enjoyed reading it, and finishing it.  What I got out of this book was a look at the everyday life we lead, and how we make changes, adjustments, and why we persevere in the midst of troubles and even anguish and mourning.

There was no tension in this book, which I liked, but some of Mrs. Lewis’s fans might miss.  Many of her previous books had edginess and friction in the story, but this book isn’t like that.  It’s a mature, Christian account of what life is really like for most of us, and how Jesus’s love, protection, and comfort is there if we only follow HIM, and not the deceitfulness of our emotions.  I was spiritually inspired by one of the prayers from Lena, during her frustrating trials with her beau.  It was well said, and I can tell Beverly Lewis has endured similar trials of her faith.  Trusting in God alone, and yielding all of ourselves to Him is the only way to victoriously make it through hard times.

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

Bible Memorization

Psalm 145:16- Thou openest thine hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing.   Psalm 145:16

After a rough week, I decided it would do me well to memorize bible verses.  I found I could only recall a few verses to help me through, even though there is such a depth of riches in God’s holy Word that I could have thought of to help me, strengthen me, and calm my fears and anxieties.

So, I remembered seeing a little plastic loaf of bread on a relative’s table, years ago, and it was Our Daily Bread bible promises, in the King James version, which is the only completely inerrant version.  I found a King James online store, and ordered one for myself, and some as future gifts.  Here’s the store:  https://www.thekjvstore.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=our+daily+bread

I hope YOU get a little bible promise box for yourself, and memorize Scripture.

Weather Wonders!

[22] And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
[23] And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
[24] So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
[25] And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
[26] Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

I like to use a global weather program called Ventusky.com and today, just for something different to do, I looked at wave heights around the world.  Was I surprised!  Up north, between Canada and England, there’s a place that looks like it’s impossible to navigate a ship through.  Today, it has 32 foot waves!  Look!

You can discover what the weather for your area will be like, up to 9 days  ahead of time.  Snow, waves, wind speeds, temperatures, many choices.   I used this last year during hurricane season, to see what the predictions were for my area.

Look at how fast the winds are going, high up over the world: 

JOB 28: [23] God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
[24] For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;
[25] To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.
[26] When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
[27] Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
[28] And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

A Dangerous Legacy~ an introduction to moral relativism?

Book Review for A Dangerous Legacy, author Elizabeth Camden

This was an interesting, well-written historical fiction novel. Elizabeth Camden truly has a
gift from GOD for writing books that will absorb the attention of the reader. The story takes place in New York City, in 1903, and Mrs. Camden has done her research to provide her patrons with plenty of details,
intriguing plots, and engrossing characters. I did, for about half the time, enjoy reading A Dangerous Legacy, but I have to say some things about several events presented by the author in her novel, which I disagree with.

First of all, Camden’s  fans know she has won a Christy award, which is given to authors of Christian novels that portray excellence, imagination, and creativity in Christian writing.  So, naturally, readers will trust this book to be good and decent.  Which is one of the very reasons why I chose to read this book.
Mrs. Camden has won the RITA award for a book she wrote under the Inspirational Romance category,
which is fine, but I’m wondering if she is straying away, far away, from Christian romance in general, based on this book’s story?

Examples: The main characters, Lucy Drake and her brother Nick, are busy illegally installing water pumps and valves that bring water to apartment renters, making it easier for them to have water in their homes. The installation is phrased as “not technically legal”.
An excuse is given to the reader for this infraction of the law, under the heading of Christianity. False teachings, IMO.  Morality is not a neutral concept.
Another example: Lucy is a telegrapher, and her brother spliced a single wire into the Western Union cables, therefore Lucy is able to eavesdrop on private transmissions of another person. The author outright acknowledged in the book, via Lucy’s thoughts, that it’s illegal,and her characters, Lucy and Nick, know they could end up in jail.

They KEPT breaking the law ANYWAYS.
Christian ethics? Not on your life! This was just wrong. If you’re going to write this kind of novel, please don’t call it Christian.
Another example, which really disheartened me, and made me decide to write this review: Lucy and Nick hire a “slick” lawyer to draw up papers that basically propose extortion.

What does God say in the bible about extortion? 1 Corinthians 6:10 [9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
[10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

“Technically”, the protagonists did NOT commit extortion, but the reader is swept up and along in the
confusing muddle  of “what if they do?” Lucy and Nick were prepared to extort money, in case the person they were threatening didn’t give in to their demands.   Morality is not relative.  Extortion presented as she did, is still immoral.
In conclusion, I can not recommend this book as a Christian book. Not in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps Mrs. Camden will apply Christian rules to her future books, and  stay with bible morals as outlined in the bible, not as presented by MORAL RELATIVISM.

The other thing that bothers me is, because of the ethical dilemmas she presented in her book, she might actually cause another Christian to stumble, it is a possibility!
I’ll browse through her follow-up book, but with healthy skepticism.

I give this book a thumbs-down as a Christian historical fiction novel.

Book Review: In Places Hidden

Mystery! Romance! Political corruption, deception, wealth, poverty, a tear-jerker, Christian historical fiction has been exceeded in quality by this novel! Tracie Peterson has set the bar higher, and I’m so excited to tell you a little about her book, “In Places Hidden”, Golden Gate Secrets book 1.  The cover art is BEAUTIFUL, too!


The 3 characters you meet first are Camri, Judith, and Kenzie. Camri irritated me as I read each new chapter. Camri is self-centered, without much Godly wisdom, and inconsiderate of other’s desires and opinions about matters. One might even say she’s haughty. Judith is from a poor family, an only child, but very much a woman with good manners and an easy going personality. Kenzie is middle-class, her upbringing was both easy and hard work, helping her dad in his shop. Kenzie is recovering from a humiliating rejection from her fiance.

Each woman matures and their personalities develop into deeper, more meaningful characters. I liked that a lot.
I liked the sermon preached at Caleb’s church in San Francisco. The preacher said the Jews hoped for a fierce Messiah who would set them free, and set everything right again, but they did not expect their King to show up as Jesus. Jesus DID set all who will trust in Him, free, and He does make everything right again. When Jesus returns, he will be fierce and full of fury and judgement. Look up and hope for His blessed appearing, for at that time we will be truly set free and live eternally in Heaven with God the Father, and Jesus his only begotten Son the Savior.

Romans 10:9-13;  John 3:16-21


The exchanges between Patrick and Camri are amusing to watch, as she demurs and then slowly begins to
see her faults and work through her pride. We all have that hurdle to jump, and Tracie Peterson adeptly
arranges the story, to open readers towards self-examination in my opinion.

The candy factory job is a whole story unto itself, and the characters involved are colorful, interesting, and
sometimes provide risible enjoyment. I found myself smiling and chuckling at some of the situations.
George Lake at work is like a crazed twittering sparrow.


Political machinations, corruption, and one person’s trust in another vaporizing with new questions and
more factors to consider. The twists and turns of the plot will draw you in and capture you.

I’ve enjoyed reading EVERY chapter of this book so far!