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Most people reach a point in their lives where they are looking for meaning or for their purpose in life.  They make statements like, ‘I’m going to find myself’.  They may feel lost without a purpose in this world.  I’m not sure what the author, Sharon Carter Rodger, wanted to express but she has managed to breathe hope and faith into the characters in this book, as well as the readers of this book. (Psalm 13:1) ‘O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?’  This passage in the Bible describes the first half of this book, not the overall story but the hidden significance of the story.  The hunt begins for the hope, destiny and a name.  This story reveals that the power of caring  and loving enough can reveal your own purpose, propel you into your own future.  I find a sweet romance in the fact that it all begins with a promise.  The realization came later on for me, when I read this short declaration.  “Lovers are lunatics.” (page 74)

Both of the characters do not know their real names and one of them has given up on knowing who they are.  What would you choose to know if you had one choice, your name or your destiny?  Is one more important than the other?  Could knowing one, reveal the other?  Those who are marked by God, by His Spirit, learn to help others to know that God sees them, and they are not lost.  We reveal all this as we drift in and out of people’s lives.

Kim S-J

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You’ve never heard a story from the Rwandan Holocaust like this.  This is a retelling of Imaculee Illibagezza’s struggles.  What makes this story so unique is the fact that while you are being told of her horrifying flight from her enemies, you are also being told of her inner connection with her God, and how it increases to the point where she begins to see in the spirit realm, receiving encouragement and instructions from God.  Her relationship between her and her God goes from being at HIs hand to being at His face.  Imaculee’s private room housed her religious statues and prayer books.  When she had to flee for her life, she left them behind.  She had to rely on what she had memorized to give her comfort.  As her situation grew darker, she needed more than comfort, she needed strategy.  Imaculee cried out desperately, without form or patterned prayer.  She quoted scriptures, checked her heart for hatred and bitterness, and pleaded with God to be hidden from her spiritual enemy and his devices.

In reading this book I escaped my ordinary, mundane prayer life, my prayer books, religious positions and moved to my heart.  I checked my heart for what would hinder my prayers.  The book was exciting.  Imaculle’s story opened my eyes to things that I could have only imagined without any real form of reality.

The craft of writing is not what attracts you to this work.  The story alone is so shocking that you can get away with not having moving sentences and shocking characters.  I must admit that without the testimony it would be another story from that time period that you may choose not to read because of the shocking content.  The testimony between these traumatic events is life changing.  I would recommend this book especially for those who want to know what Christianity looks like in the fire, on the battlefield, in action.  If you’ve spent your life surrounded by prayer books, and can barely see the fading light of faith in the distance, this …story, will bring your faith back to life.

Kim S-J

 

 

As different as fire and ice, they are.  Two distinctly different young ladies, Janeal and Katy, captures the affection of a young man, Robert, who loves them both equally, for different reasons.  One of the young ladies, Janeal, wanted to leave her family’s way of life.  “She toyed daily, hourly, with the idea of leaving this place.”

One day, Jeneal has the answer to fulfilling her hopes and dreams handed to her by the devil himself.  Jeneal runs the risk of betraying all of her love ones.  I’ve seen this before, you get to a place in your life where there’s something that you want so badly, that the devil himself could show up, and his offer might be hard to refuse.  I watched as Jeneal weighed all she had to gain, and tried to protect all that she  knew she could lose.  It was an offer she couldn’t, or wouldn’t refuse.  Decisions brought changes to Jeneal’s character as she learned the highest form of her new craft. Your eyes will open wide if you see your reflection in her character.

A tragedy takes place in her community and all of her love ones are suspected to be dead.   When Jeneal discovers another survivor, the possibility of her betrayals being known, brings her out of hiding.  Is she filled with regret or happy with the life she has built?  Does Robert still love her?  Has she out smarted the devil?  Each survivor ‘burns’ in their own way to find answers and wholeness.

Warnings whisper from these pages and upon locating your own personal memory, it exposes the infidel hiding within.  What?  You’re not ready for it to be you?  Well, that’s what the story is for. Perhaps you can sketch down a note as a warning for your future self.

If you’ve ever wondered if you could outsmart the devil, what beauty from within looks like, or what bitterness can do to your life?  Take your time with these characters.  What, who, are you willing to burn to get what you want?  I appreciate this story.  It was so entertaining that it exposed my true feelings without me knowing it. Yes! You should read this book.

Kim S-J

 

 

 

Oh my goodness!  Okay, let me just quote the man, Ted Dekker, himself.  “This Story Is For Everyone But Not Everyone Is For This Story.”  Once again, Ted DeKker places a parable before you and challenges you to discover more about yourself and the true meaning of life.  There is so much transformation taking place in this novel that it keeps you on your toes.  You can feel pulled in two different directions.  Will you hold out for everlasting, passionate love, or boiling hot lust?  Both passions get in your head.  You are wrestling with the possibility of deception and is the deception worth it.

What ever attracts you, whatever draws you, you may find yourself walking the majestic halls of the castle to find — your lover.  In your search, there will be many opportunities to be pulled away.  You will find out what you are made of and what your relationship is made of, when the sirens call your name.

Two very handsome and very different men are sent to protect two beautiful princesses and their mother.  Before they could actually get there, the more sober warrior receives a warning from heaven, delivered by a dried up, old man.  Evil wants to challenge him.

As freaky as the old man looks with his crow, and as distant as the information sounds, you and the main character store it in the back of your mind, like a haunting memory.  What happens next are the things that book clubs are made of .  Who would you love?  Why?  What would you do to save your love?  Is it worth it?

Kim S-J

Ted Dekker is an amazing writer. I imagine his novels pinned to paper by candle light, although I know better. His unique settings and unforgettable characters showcase his own passion for each story. Ted Dekker’s novels are so well written and the battle between good and evil are so realistically cloaked by emotions that you could find yourself caught in your own web of unresolved struggles, battling with your own personally cloaked issues.

I could not think of many things more tragic than to listen to a song, watch a movie, sit through a sermon or read a book and never catch on to it’s meaning. I’ve decided to put my hands on this keyboard and expound on what I believe are, impart, the meaning of the books I’ve read. A couple young ones, who are apart of my book club will be reviewing these books with me. This is the result of a few summer projects that have deepened our perspective on good and evil and set our imagination on fire do greater projects on our own, with a deeper passion than we thought possible.

Kim S-J

It took me a while to even wrap my mind around the idea of not having the full spectrum of emotions at my disposal. The main character in this book, Rom, was having the exact opposite struggle. We were on opposite sides of a looking glass. There is an line in the very beginning that expresses my point. “That archaic word passion, for example. Try as he might to grasp this thing, he could only conjure up thoughts of varying degrees of fear.” The moment I read the word passion, movie images, lyrics to songs and my own personal thoughts burst into my consciousness. You see, in this book the only emotion that was genetically allowed was fear. In order to purify humanity of war, murder and other negative results of passionate emotions, they were eliminated through genetics.

I imagined the setting to be clean, sterile and dull. This is a world where things are done because they have the skill to do them, not because they are driven by a passion for it. As you begin to read about the character Rom, you begin to desire more for him. He had a full life, but it lacked the enjoyment and passion that would make what he did more fulfilling. Another character who was also living her life free from ‘extreme emotions’ was a lady of royalty, named Feyn. Her life was desirable even though you knew she was in the same predicament as the other character. The position she held was powerful. You could see how those at her status valued ‘fear’. Fear manufactured the perfect slaves. The ‘order’ that came from this ‘fear’ resulted in absolute power. So now the reader has a decision to make. In my mind it was should you suppress passionate emotions so that everyone could live a predictable, tame, (lame) life or; for the good of all humanity, allow them to live with all of their emotions and passions. Give them the challenge of taming their emotions and using them to find wholeness and discover deeper mysteries.

Rom’s world changes when a vile of forbidden blood, along with some coded writing, is thrust into his hands by a creepy old man. Rom’s life explodes with color and passion, and it over flows into his relationships. Now I don’t think people should take drugs but introducing passion back into the human blood stream seemed to take him on a trip; a trip humanity had seemed to have forgotten about. This life giving blood threatens to bring chaos, disrupt order; but who’s order? Is it really chaos or could it be a time of awakening to move by free will and find life? The choice is not to hard for me when I was in Rom’s shoes, but lady Feyn. Why would a woman destined to rule give up this predictable structure, or order, just for a short time of emotional bliss?

This story makes you wonder if you are taking some things for granted, and if your emotions were meant to lead you to something greater. I highly recommend this book, which is the beginning of a series. You will discover much more than a thrilling ending.

–Kim S. J.

You’re dropped into a colorful, fantastic forest where you meet unforgettable characters. The language of this book is so energetic that I felt like there was some place that I needed to go…and I needed a horse.

The waters of Elyon, the lakes were transforming and sustaining waters. A few days without the life giving water and a change would come over you. I fell in love with the green waters of Elyon. I felt as if I could scoop a palm full of the waters from the pages of the book, the language was so vivid. The importance of the waters are further emphasized when you learn of the consequences for not bathing in the waters. A painful disease arises on the skin and begins to affect the mind. “The first sign of pain crept into Johnis’s bones when the sun was halfway down the western sky. He pulled up and flexed his fingers, surprised by how suddenly the stiffness had set in.”

You really can’t imagine the twist and turns of each episode. I read to figure out what would happen next. I read to figure out what I wanted to do next. There was beauty to be seen in the strangest places. I chose an enemy and at one point I saddled a horse and rode with the four chosen in this book. Right about that point, I began to pull a meaning from this book that would deepen my purpose in life. I was ‘Chosen’. Chosen to lead, to die, to follow clues and hold on to the mysteries. Why? Because Teeleh is watching and waiting for an opportunity to control the destiny of the world, and waiting to control our destiny by rewriting what ‘is written’.

I enjoyed this book. I can’t do it justice in this humble review, but I want to do my part. People should know about this book because it begins a journey into your soul. You can discuss this book with a variety of age groups and there are statements that will stay with you for a long time. Chosen is more than positive and encouraging. If you dive deep enough…its life changing.

–Kim S-J

Infidel is book two in a continuation of the lost book series. It takes place in the same colorful and beautiful forest as in the first book in the series, Chosen. In this book, Infidel, you get a deeper view of the Horde. The Horde are a group that does not bathe in the life giving waters of Elyon. This group of people have a very different perspective of the water of the forest. They hate the water and they believe that the forest dwellers have a disease, and not they themselves. Most of the Horde have cracked dry skin which they soothe with a milky, white paste instead of water. Their eyes are clouded over and their hair is locked or matted so it could be managed easier. Food is more bland than in the colorful forest. Their emotional state is just as grey and bland as their lifestyle. Forest dwellers seem to have the ability to love in a more passionate way. It is hard to see the attraction of being a Horde if you are a forest dweller but as you read through the journey you will find some very attractive attributes that call even the forest dwellers from the waters of Elyon.

Like the title suggest, there is a traitor in the midst of the forest guard, or should I say some traitors. There are traitors of the heart where a person has the appearance of being in the group but in their heart they have committed themselves to another. Their were traitors who lived for duty and to gain status. When it came down to a decision between gain and Elyon’s heart, they betrayed their oath to Elyon’s heart. One of the traitors said that, ‘The painful part is not the cracked skin or the burning of Elyon’s waters, but the switching back and forth.’ It seems like the line between the forest dwellers and the Horde, begin to blur at the edge of the forest and the first signs of the desert, when it comes to the matters of the heart.

The books. The battle for the lost books is still Teeleh’s goal.  Teeleh and those who act on his behalf, are the enemies of the forest dwellers.  Elyon’s waters are what keeps the people looking with the right perspective, but some still have the desires of Teeleh. Power, status, and other things that the books promise seem to drive people to do the most extreme things.  For some, the books bring to the surface a deep betrayal, for others it inspires bravery driven by true love.

In order for Teeleh to accomplish his ultimate goals, he needs Commander Thomas. Thomas’s commitment to Elyon gives him an advantage that few can figure out. They believe that he is half human, half roush or spirit. Thomas’s life mission is to protect what is written and the heart of Elyon’s water. Thomas is learning new powers and mysteries to achieve his goals of protect and serve.

It was hard to divide people by the sword when you looked through one of the main character’s eyes. He came to a place where he had to consider the children. You began to realize, like Johnis, that the waters of Elyon were meant for everyone, especially the Horde. Elyon called them to keep and defend the forest, but the purpose for doing this reveals Elyon’s heart. This is what Johnis discovers indirectly. It’s a sweet revelation that makes the story pop with warm pleasure and satisfaction.

Kim S-J

I suppose everyone had a parent who was always telling them what they couldn’t do.  There were so many things I couldn’t do, it was hard to see the things I could do as freedom. Oh and let’s not forget the things I had to do.  I use to think my mother was guessing or trying everything out on me to see who I would become.  Does pulling the wings off an insect count?  Maybe I’m a surgeon.

I couldn’t spend the night at my best friend’s house. I couldn’t play by the dead end street that had a ramp, like the other kids with bikes.  I could only have one bread roll, when everyone else got three. On my day off, I still had to get up, clean up and make my bed. Oh, and my personal favorite, when it was time to go to school, I had to travel over 3o minutes away to a school where no one would talk to me.  I think there was one other person of my race there but I never saw her. I love that question, “How was your day?” I wanted to say, “Same as my life, confusing and pointless.” But you know what teens say, “Fine.” And then disappear.

You are suppose to believe that despite all these rules your parent or parents love you, but you begin to feel like the family pet. At some point rebellion sets in and you find yourself building your own ‘golden calf’.  Whatever pleases you goes.  You ink it in your skin if you have too.

Hopefully at some point you grow up. I mean that you look deeper into all those…rules.  I couldn’t spend the night at my best friend’s house because she was being abused and I didn’t know it.  I couldn’t go to the dead end street because behind the ramp, in the wooded area, drugs and prostitution was taking place.  I could only have one roll of bread because I didn’t pass it through like everyone else, and I would get sick.  On my day off I had to get up, because depression runs in my family and if you don’t learn to make yourself get up when you don’t want to, you won’t.  I had to travel 30 minutes to a different school because it kept me from being satisfied with a little.  I began to…dream of more than what I was surrounded by and what it would cost me to stand alone sometimes.

The commandments in God’s word may seem harsh or confusing but they come from the Heavenly Father who knows what you cannot see. Not only will they protect you but they will put you in position to fulfill the plan for your life and open your eyes to what it will cost you.  If you are consistent, and faithful you will see His reasons and begin to understand.  People have lots of advice to get you out of jam or help you go around God’s word to get you what you want. But when you realize that “only Jesus” has the foresight and the power to protect you from demons and fulfill your purpose. Only Jesus loved you so much that He would pay the price to redeem you from the trap of destruction that satan has for you.…burn everything else. Act 19:19 Let God’s Words be written with His finger in your heart. Jer 31:33 (Our hearts)/ Ex 31:18 (His finger)

It takes all that and then some. Acts 19:1-20 (The story of a group of people who showed the value of God’s words over all others) / Duet 6:17-20 (God’s promises to you,if you obey and trust Him)

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. KJV

(Written to my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus)

Love ya

Kim S-J

Why Me Lord?

Why me Lord?

I go to church. I read my Bible, sing when they say sing, stand when they say stand and say amen from time to time.  When I catch a cold or I get a tooth ache I pray the Lord will heal it, or provide a way for it to be taken care of.  Everyone goes through that, so you count yourself among the other followers who can’t sleep or who are going through something.  But…what about an all out attack that’s directed on you? (Luke 22:31 kjv)

Anyone who was or is, in service can tell you that when your platoon or group is attacked you pull together.  You count your weapons and amo, build a plan and pump each other up.  You shout phrases to the enemy like, ‘Come get some’, I got something for ya right here’, (basically we’re not afraid of you). However, when YOU find yourself cut off or behind enemy lines, alone, and you know the enemy is looking for you, your battle cry changes a bit. You’re no longer shouting about your abilities or your might, you’re remembering the promises that were made. ‘You promised you’d never leave me behind’.  ‘Where are your?’  ‘Don’t you dare forget about me’.  ‘I’ve always been on your side’.

 

As a Christian soldier I have experienced the same situations.  When I am among a group of believers, I’m spitting fire, flashing my shield that shows the victories my group has achieved.  But when the enemy turns his weapons on me and I’m in so much pain that sweat is dripping down my back, my teeth are chattering and all I can say is “Lord please”. I can’t sit, stand or lay because of the pain.  I’m crawling across my furniture, weeping.  My enemy leans in and says, “Where’s your God now?” Where are all those people you prayed for?” “Why are you trying so hard to please a God who obviously thinks this is good for you?”  (Job 2:9) I remember that I am not a weekend warrior.  Even on my great days someone is in so much pain.  When I’m eating good barbeque on a sunny day, someone is trapped and in a basement drugged and beaten.  This is not the type of world that my Father planned for His human children.  I can’t just pray for a good day for me.  I can’t just pray for my pain to go away.

When the Lord tells us to be encouraged or that joy will come in the morning He’s not speaking of the next day on your calendar. He’s not talking about your promotion. He’s telling us to remember the good news. He has defeated our enemy.  We are here on a mission and sometimes we have very enjoyable days. We buy, build, even fall in love, but we don’t take days off.

When rough days come, remember your training. Breathe, and remember God’s promises. You’re not alone. (Matt 28:20) He said there would be days like this but that He would deliver us out of them all. (2 Tim 3:11c/Heb 13:5b) He will never leave us or forsake us and my personal favorite, Vengeance is His. (Romans 12:19) Use every sunny day to spread the Word because good days are rare in war. (2 Tim 2:3-4)

How deceptive a “good day” can be when I’m only thinking about me.

Written to my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus

Love ya

Kim-S-J

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