Risen

This book by Angela Hunt is based on the major motion picture that is currently in theaters. The original story is by Paul Aiello and screenplay by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello. Roman Tribune Clavius is responsible for squelching the zealots in Jerusalem. When the body of the recently crucified Nazarene goes missing, Pilate gives Clavius the task of investigating, tracking down the radical followers, and finding the body. Rachel is a widowed Jewish woman who makes a living baking bread. After the death of her husband, she and Clavius enter a forbidden relationship. If her secret was made known, she would surely be stoned. Clavius searches for the missing body, questions possible followers, and gathers information but the questions out way the answers. When tragedy strikes in a personal manner, Clavius questions the Roman gods that he has spent his life praying to and serving. Will Clavius find the answers that he seeks? Will Rachel be able to truly love a man who is not her husband?

I was transported into this story within the first few pages. The author did an excellent job of making me feel like I was in the midst of Clavius’ investigation and Rachel’s searching. The story is mainly told from Clavius’ perspective which is unique from most post resurrection stories. He searches for the truth based on facts and learns about faith along the way. I really liked the explanations of Isaiah’s prophesies and Jewish Passover and how they relate to the Messiah. The relationship between Clavius and Rachel was outside of marriage but I felt that it was tastefully described. As both Clavius and Rachel search for the truth about Yeshua, their relationship resolves in an unexpected way that allows Rachel to show Clavius the love of Christ. This is a historical fiction so some liberties are taken with the story line. The author explains that Clavius and Rachel are fiction characters and would not have been present during some of the scenes she portrayed them in. There are other liberties that she explains at the end of the book. I did not find these liberties to be a deterrent and I felt that the gospel was explained well with an emphasis on God’s love. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes biblical historical fiction.

It is important to note that the author states at the end of the book that although Rachel’s character was created by Paul Aiello, her character did not make the cut for the movie. I am looking forward to seeing the movie, but I am glad to have read the book first so that I know Rachel’s side of the story. I have heard really good things about the movie and based on this book, I am sure that I will not be disappointed. Due to the Roman soldier violence in the movie, Plugged In review suggests that it is not suitable for younger children. You can read their detailed movie review HERE.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

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Risen, paperback
By Angela Hunt / Baker Books

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REMINDER: I am an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 13 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc.  Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

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Christian Book Distributors Affiliate!

ANNOUNCEMENT:

I am now an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the 4 publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 12 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc. I am currently in the process of replacing all of the old links with new ones attached to my affiliate information. Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

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Affiliate Link:

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Thank you for your continued support!

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How does my site get credit for referring a customer to Christianbook.com?

“When a customer clicks to Christianbook.com via an affiliate link, the browsing session is activated. Each time that the customer clicks on the web site the session is reactivated. The Christianbook Group will track merchandise purchases that a customer makes during the browsing session so that we can credit your account appropriately.

The browsing session will remain active for four (4) hours after the last link is clicked on the Christianbook.com website. If the customer leaves the Christianbook.com website and returns within this four (4) hour period their browsing session will be reset and the customer will still be deemed a referral of Affiliate unless they returned through the links of another Affiliate, co- branded site or other source tracked by The Christianbook Group.

All items placed into the customer’s shopping cart during an active affiliate browsing session will be credited to Affiliate if items are purchased before the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date an item was placed in the shopping cart.

However, if they leave the site for more than 4 hours, do not click on the Christianbook.com site to reactivate the clock, do not order books placed within an active browsing session within their book bag and order within the 30 day limit or leave the site and place the order from another computer, then any order placed will not be credited to your account.”

Independent Uniter?

Some people grew up being inspired by sports, music, and/or movie stars. While I had my favorites in each of those categories, I could care less if I ever got to meet them. The person outside of my everyday reality that I looked up to was Dr. Ben Carson.

giftedhandsbookAt some point when I was in middle school, my mom gave me a copy of his book:

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
By Ben Carson, M.D., with Cecil Murphey / Zondervan

When I read it, I soaked up the stories in awe of a man with an amazing life story. After that I decided that I wanted to be a doctor. More specifically, a Neurosurgeon. My goals changed over the years from Neurosurgeon to Cardiologist to General Surgeon. Finally at some point in high school I set my course to be a Nurse. All the while, remembering Dr. Carson’s testimony of being able to do whatever it is I set my mind to do with my education.

I have always admired him because of his love for God. Throughout his book he shares many situations where he relied on God to get him through the day, or the night, or the week, etc. He is most most well-known as a pioneer in his field for separating twins joined at the back of the head. He gives God all the credit for success of that long procedure.

His story has become an inspiration to even more people since a “Gifted Hands” movie was made staring Cuba Gooding Jr. in 2009.

Recently, Dr. Carson caused a stir with the speech that he gave at the National Prayer Breakfast.

He also works to bring all people together on common ground instead of focusing on racial differences. 999150_10153067404745494_723939026_n

Due to the announcement of Dr. Carson’s retirement, people are now wondering if he will be pursuing a political career. Although many of his statements resonate with the conservative community, he associates himself the Independent Party. Personally, I would vote for him if he decides to go this direction.

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Photo found here.

My Thoughts On The Colorado Tragedy

***UPDATE: I have added a link (below) to another article that tells of one survior’s story! God is so Good even in the midst of tragedy.***

I don’t have cable or satellite. And for once in my life I did not log on to my computer to check Facebook for a full 24 hours. After working all day on Saturday, I first heard that something bad had happened as I was listening to the K-Love radio station. They didn’t say what happened, just something along the lines of “join us in praying for the victims of the tragedy in Colorado.” When I returned home, I put my girls in bed and grabbed a snack. Then I sat down at the computer and googled “Colorado News” and immediately I knew what happened.

I found an article that showed photos of several of the victims along with a brief statement about each of them. My heart broke when I saw that a 6-year-old girl did not survive and that her mother was still in critical condition. Does the mother know that her daughter died? I don’t know. I can only imagine the pain that family is suffering. Also striking a cord in my heartstrings was the news of a military man who died… Not on the battle field or in the line of duty but as he was enjoying his free time (which for most military members is a luxury). The last count I saw was 12 dead and 58 injured…Ranking this as one of the most horrific shootings in the US.

Then there is the suspect. What was going through his mind? Obviously he has been making preparations for this for several weeks. By most accounts, until that night, he was an educated and upstanding citizen with no history of violence or crime. Why would he all of a sudden decide to throw his life away along with the lives of his victims?

I don’t know why the suspect did what he did. I don’t know why some people died and some people did not. I do know that God hears the cries of the hurting. Join me in praying for everyone involved with this tragedy.

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I came across the following article today which has an interesting perspective that most people would not initially think about:

The Dark Knight Rises Indeed

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I also read this article written Friday (20th) by a mom who was at the theater during the shooting:

So you STILL think God is a merciful God?!

The same mom also wrote the following blog post Saturday (21st) in response to all of the e-mails and comments she received from her first post:

A Response to the Overwhelming Number of Responses

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Here is an amazing story of one of the survivors! God is so Good!

A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim’s Story

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I am also reminded of a song… The Reason For The World  by: Matthew West

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Why I Do Not Read Erotic Fiction

I tend to read secular books that are controversial so that I can be prepared when I get into a discussion about them. I try not to completely judge a book based on what people say because a lot of people refuse to read (or insist on reading) a book… just because of the hype. Even Christian books throughout the ages have been judged poorly when they first were written (C.S. Lewis fiction, The Chronicles of Narnia, for example). I’ve read The Davinci Code, the Harry Potter series, Twilight saga, The Hunger Games trilogy, and several other controversial books. I don’t care for some of them and others I have no problem with. No matter what my view is on these books, I can have a knowledgeable discussion about each of them should they come up in conversation. The same goes with movies. I will often watch a movie just because it is controversial so that if someone asks I can give my honest opinion. And just to be fair, I have also read “Christian” books that many Christians love which I personally feel should never have had a Christian label due to bad theology (for example The Shack-see my review here).
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When it comes to the above mentioned books, I find that people question whether or not I should have read them. Yet, often they still come to me to get my opinion about books or movies on their radar. Generally, instead of saying “yes or no” about whether they should read or watch something, I will just tell them what the book or movie is about and let them make their own decision based on their convictions. If they ask questions like, “Isn’t there a lot of witchcraft in that book?” or “Do you think the book could lead someone astray?” I will answer truthfully.
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All that being said, there are some types of books and movies that I will not read or watch.
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One type being horror, where the sole purpose of the book or movie is to instill extreme fear. I don’t mind most thrillers like murder mysteries, crime drama, or suspense (like Frank Peretti books or Morgan Freeman movies). I just don’t like to fill my mind with books or movies that have no other purpose than to cause extreme fear.
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Another type being erotic, where the sole purpose of the book or movie is to arouse a person sexually. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog post… A facebook page that I follow posted the following article I’m Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The author lists four reasons why she is not going to read the book Fifty Shades of Grey both from a personal and biblical perspective (I highly recommend that you read this article because she discusses more reasons than I plan to list here). On the facebook post, both sides were discussing if the book was appropriate to read using the same arguments that people use for other controversial books/movies (“it is not biblical” or “it is just a fiction story”). I have not read this book but I gave my opinion. Someone who has read the book accused people of being judgemental. Personally, from reading the posts, I did not feel that anyone was being judgemental but were just stating their opinions based on what they believe to be true according to the Bible. I believe that it is okay to discern whether or not you should read or watch certain media. It is also okay to state your opinion and/or debate as long as you do it humbly. I do not know if the accusation was aimed at me or someone else but it prompted me to want to elaborate on what I was saying in the discussion. So here is my opinion…
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Unfortunately, even in the Christian community, there is a problem with pornography addictions. Marriages have hit rock bottom or have even lead to divorce because of this problem.  Most people associate pornography addictions with men but women can be addicted to porn as well. Many people also associate pornography with magazines or movies but I believe that erotic romances should be added to that list.
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One online dictionary defines pornography as the following:
1. the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2. material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3. the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction
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Most women are not stimulated by photos in the same way that men are BUT we are stimulated by words and attention. This is one reason why women are more prone to having an emotional affair with a man who gives her attention and says all of the right things. When it comes to books, most avid readers would admit that they get caught up in the story as if they are apart of it. Readers can imagine the scenes, conversation, and actions as they are reading (even if they have never seen the movie that was made for that particular book). Most readers agree that books are generally better than movies because of the amount of detail given in a book that would be impossible to show on-screen. My husband (who is not a reader) thinks it is hilarious when I am reading a book and have tears flowing down my face. He also thinks I’m crazy if I am reading a book and bust out laughing. My point is, a book can bring out just as many emotions as a movie can: joy, sadness, anger, fear, love, lust, etc.
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Most Christians would agree that adultery is a sin. The Bible takes it one step further and says that lust is also a sin:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 KJV)
So, using the above scripture as guidelines, read the following Amazon description of the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Then, make an informed decision on whether or not you should read it.

“When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”

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Bottom line is, I have not read this book and I don’t plan to because of the erotic label. I have read books and have watched movies in the past that I never should have read or watched. I have learned from my mistakes and I don’t want or need to fill my mind with images and emotions that are not pleasing to God or my husband.
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Here are two great resources for dealing with sexual temptation and sin:
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457981: Every Woman"s Battle with Workbook: Discovering God"s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment Every Woman’s Battle with Workbook: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment

By Shannon Ethridge / Random House

457974: Every Man"s Battle with Workbook: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time Every Man’s Battle with Workbook: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time

By Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker / Random House

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What Is Green And Has Three Leaves?

REPOST FROM MARCH 17, 2010:

A Shamrock!

Why three leaves instead of the “lucky” four leaf clover? Clovers can have three, four, or more leaves. “Shamrock” is used only to describe the three leaf clover (although people often don’t realize that).

I think that it is  fun and exciting to celebrate holidays but, as a mother, I have been forced to consider how I feel about some holidays and traditions. I have read about the main holidays that we celebrate in the US. My husband and I have discussed them and compared traditions with our personal experiences and Christianity.

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the holidays that has a Christian origin. I don’t claim to be all knowledgeable when it comes to history. But from what I have read; St. Patrick was actually from Britain. Before he was named “Patrick;” he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to work as a slave. He eventually escaped captivity and returned to Britain. Later he joined a church and studied to become a priest (and taking the name Patrick). Eventually, he returned to Ireland; feeling called by God to convert the Irish from paganism to Christianity. He was successful in his task. It is said that most of Ireland was converted before his death. There is a legend that Patrick used the shamrock in order to describe the Trinity to the people of Ireland. Below is a cute Veggie Tales version of the St. Patrick’s Day story:

Veggie Tales–St. Patrick’s Day

Although Saint Patrick’s Day has become secularized; I think that it is important to teach my children where it came from (for me this applies to all holidays and traditions). Now I do that in the form of Veggie Tales; later it may be another way. At the same time; I need to understand that it is okay to have and follow traditions but, it is not okay if those traditions become the focus of what is important. Jesus reminded the Pharisees that they follow traditions to the letter but that did not make their hearts clean and pure.

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Luke 11:39-41 [To read theses verses in context; click here]

So, remembering that, I go back to enjoying the holiday!

For more information about holidays and Christian traditions; I recommend:

Holidays & Holy Days by: Susan E. Richardson

 

Blog Updates!

  • For those of you who have followed Ben’s Story and prayed for him:
    • (October 15, 2010): The jury found his abuser “not guilty” based on what they said was reasonable doubt. During the trial they were not told of her previous conviction. Our family is saddened by this. We still believe that Ben’s injuries were diagnosed correctly at the time of injury and that justice was not served today. Still, we trust that God sees the bigger picture and knows the reason for this outcome.
  • I have been approved by a few Christian publishing companies to be apart of their blog review programs!  In exchange for free copies of new books, I will write reviews for the books on my blog. Most of these books will probably not be ones that I would normally choose for reading but I thought it would be a great way to expand my reading & writing horizons. I plan to offer some of these books as free gifts to my blog readers! Details about that will be in the reviews for those particular books!
  • Speaking of books & blogs! I have added a new page to my Heart Treasures Boutique website:
  • For those of you who are following my homeschooling blogs:
    • Last week my mom, sister, and niece were in town so we did a review of weeks 1 & 2. They were still here the first half of this week so we really didn’t do much homeschooling at all. I will resume next week with: N, 3, Being Nice, Noah, 1 Corinthians 13:13
  • And something to think about…

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THANK YOU for all of your support, comments, & feedback. I love hearing from you and I love hearing your stories! Feel free to contact me anytime!

hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com