Beauty is holiness. The purer the stream the more lovely its waters—we want to swim in untainted oceans, fish in clear lakes, and drink from unpolluted fountains. We enjoy looking at clear skies, breathing air that is not polluted, and walking on pathways that are not covered with litter. The purest stream flows from the heart of God. Every aspect of beauty is found, in its fullness, in God alone. He is the most beautiful person in the entire universe. He is beautiful because He is holy. God has no flaws, no stains, no impurities, no defilement. His holiness allows us to delight in Him, enjoy Him, and behold Him in deepest adoration.

– Roy Lessin



The prayers of those with burning hearts become a true fragrance to the Lord. Our heartfelt prayers fill the golden bowls in heaven. As we study the Scripture, we see a loving Father who describes passionate prayers as “a sweet-smelling savor” (2 Cor. 2:15). That’s His way of saying how pleased He is when we worship the Lord with ALL our hearts, in no rush to leave.

Sincere, loving prayer and worship is an exquisitely beautiful thing rising from the golden altars where saints with burning hearts romance the divine. They keep the Lord company, speaking to Him as a lover and a friend. It doesn’t matter where they worship, whether down on their knees or in a magnificent cathedral. What gets His attention is a burning heart that cries out with sincerity, refusing to leave until it’s made a real connection with the Most High. When He finds someone that fits that description, a sweet fragrance wafts toward the throne, and He leans over glory to inhale again. He takes it in and smiles in obvious delight. Someone is offering true worship.

Are you aware that it takes about two thousand flowers to produce one gram of fragrant oil or 9,000 crushed rosebuds to produce a single ounce of perfume? In fact, when you enter a rose garden, the scent is far more powerful in the early morning hours when the dew is still on the roses. In the same way, it takes time and patience soaking in the presence of the Lord in true worship to produce the kind of fragrance that He leans down to inhale.

You might ask, “Isn’t loud, enthusiastic praise just as precious to the Lord?” Well, that depends on the spirit with which it’s given. However, we must admit that it’s easy to praise without actually connecting with the Father’s heart in true worship. That’s why it’s so vital that we examine our hearts, to make sure we’re not merely going through the motions, just to get it over with.

I can hear the Lord say:
“I see their hands and hearts lifted in intimate worship—I must draw near to such as these. I must breathe in the fragrance of that kind of worship, for I am well pleased!”

“Those that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, for God seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23). Why does He seek them? The answer is because they are so hard to find—rare specimens in today’s busy, noisy culture. Noise is cheap, while true worship is as rare and costly as real perfume. But are we willing to pay the price to be true worshipers? Will you be one of those who burns with love before the throne and lets your fragrance warm His heart?

“Let my prayer be accepted as sweet-smelling incense in your presence. Let the lifting up of my hands in prayer be accepted as an evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).

© Steve Porter


Oracles of Grace: Building a Legacy of Wisdom and Revelation – by Wanda Alger


Alger Publications, Date of Publication: December 7, 2017

ISBN-13: 978-0999675205. Price: $10.37

Wanda Alger writes anointed, Spirit-filled words about walking in God’s grace. Our Heavenly Father holds her close to His heart. This book takes you from where we are to where God intends us to be. It gently draws us into His grace, unbound and unfettered by the trappings of legalism. Through its life-giving pages, we fall into alignment with our Father’s heart and His awesome work on earth. This book contains divine wisdom, powerful revelation and life-giving applications to transform us into His image, enabling us to fulfill our God-given destiny. God’s redeeming grace guides us to intimacy with God. Wanda’s creative expression and well of revelation, coupled with her passion for truth and pursuit of eternal things makes her a fiery trailblazer to illuminate the way for others to reach the heart of God. This anointed book shows us how to dissociate ourselves from the complex challenges of our times to know Him, make Him known and live out His grace in our lives. Wanda’s authentic Christianity reverberates throughout the glowing pages of Oracles of Grace. Wanda’s amazing life and testimony overwhelms us with gratitude as to the endless potential in store for all who believe in God’s supernatural power. We are encouraged, enlightened, inspired and challenged by the rich spiritual wisdom that comes from a life of obedience to God and His life-transforming Word. This book invites us to life in the Kingdom in all its fullness. I recommend it wholeheartedly to all who want to know God and taste His love through Oracles of Grace.

Miriam Jacob


TROUBLED WATERS by Susan May Warren

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ISBN: 9781493412556. PUB. DATE: Jan 2018. PRICE:  $14.99

“Troubled Waters” by Susan May Warren sparkles with redemption, resolution and saving grace amidst the picturesque beauty of a backdrop of wild Montana skies and sweeping scenery, wilderness suspense and romance. This is a high-stakes, swiftly-moving, dramatic, high-flying, mountaintop action-adventure, packed with snappy dialogue and flawed characters with emotional and spiritual challenges. It is a heartwarming story of love and sacrifice. It has an increasing complex plot and character development. Susan May Warren’s high peril situations are set at the height of human emotions, as she uses unusually trying situations and circumstances to make her characters depict illustrating truths. The main characters deal with honesty, self-control, and faith, while reaching their physical and emotional limits of self-endurance, to grow beyond their problems. They travel down difficult paths, with nothing but faith to cling on to, before they learn to truly love each other with selfless devotion. This book bears the unique stamp and hallmark of Susan May Warren’s books and makes a very interesting read. I recommend it to readers.

Miriam Jacob



The Lacemaker – by Laura Frantz

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ISBN: 9781493412501. Pub. Date: Jan 2018. PRICE: $15.99

The dashing young hero of “The Lacemaker,” Noble Rynallt, is truly noble and lives up to his name. The gracefully elegant and beautiful heroine, Lady Liberty’s great resourcefulness, in the face of the utterly devastating loss of everything most precious to her heart, reveals a woman of incredible courage, strength and determination. Laura Frantz has a fastidious approach to historical research and pays an impeccable attention to detail. Her clear-cut characterisation has an uncanny ability to revive heartfelt emotion in her readers with living, breathing characters, large as life. In “The Lacemaker,” Laura presents a highly suspenseful story of true love, cunning twists of betrayal, and brand new beginnings. With her flawless, meticulous eye for detail in historical fiction, Laura Frantz enchants her readers into the beautiful world of historical romance to make them feel a warm part of her incredible story.

Miriam Jacob


Carnegie’s Maid – by Marie Benedict


Publisher: SourceBooks Landmark.

Date of Publication: 1 January 2018

ISBN 13: 9781492646617

With captivating insight and great sensitivity of heart, Marie Benedict tells the mesmerizing tale of an unknown woman who might have inspired an American dynasty, transforming Andrew Carnegie from wealthy industrialist into the world’s first philanthropist.

In the 1860s, Irish immigrant Clara Kelley, seeks employment as a lady’s maid in the home of Andrew Carnegie, head of the Carnegie Empire. Unfortunately, Clara Kelley is not who she appears to be. Posing as a knowledgeable, well-experienced Irish maid, she is actually a poor farmer’s daughter with nothing to her name. Another woman named Clara has gone missing, and Clara pretends to be her, in order to earn some precious income to send back to keep her family alive. Clara tries her level best keep up the ruse though it requires special talents and skills that she does not possess. But she does have a stern resolve as strong as steel, along with an uncanny, unique gift of business skills, that makes Andrew rely upon her. But Clara cannot afford to let her guard down even for a single moment. It was too dangerous. Revealing the true state of her past might only serve to ruin her own future and that of her family’s, who depended solely on her for sustenance. Soon, Clara and Andrew care for each other deeply. When Clara suddenly goes missing, Carnegie’s fruitlessly persistent search for her eventually lay the foundation for his lasting legacy.

Clara tries her level best keep up the ruse. Posing as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires special talents and skills that she doesn’t possess. But she does have a stern resolve as strong as steel, coupled with an uncanny gift of unique business skills, that makes Andrew start to rely on her. But Clara cannot afford to let her guard down even for a single moment. It was too dangerous. Revealing the true state of her past might only serve to ruin her own future and that of her family’s, who depended solely on her for sustenance. Soon, Clara and Andrew care for each other deeply. When Clara suddenly goes missing, Carnegie’s fruitlessly persistent search for her eventually lay the foundation for his lasting legacy.

In this well chronicled and impeccably researched novel, that highlights the hitherto unsung role of all unknown women like the mysterious Clara, who with extreme courage and selfless determination, made their silently, unannounced mark upon the renowned pages of history, we witness with breathless awe the stunning stamp of the relevance of history in the early immigrant experience. In a deeply human narrative of incredibly complex, extremely vulnerable, sensitive characters and peculiar twists and turns of fate, this book reveals the arresting power of ambition to realize the American Dream. With captivating insight, Marie Benedict’s clever intellect is dramatically displayed in her well-drawn characters and well-crafted plot, utterly well-suited to historical fiction, in an engaging read, with excellent description and perfectly good balance of emotional tones.

Extremely realistic to accept and confront the vicissitudes of life head-on, the clear-headed, pragmatic Clara Kelley is firm in her convictions and careful to protect herself from impropriety. She struggles to understand Carnegie’s inconsistent behavior and stubborn refusal to confront his flaws. Despite the shared chemistry between them, Carnegie’s mercurial behavior is revealed in his double personality – the ruthless businessman and the egalitarian, erudite young man. Clara’s musings and revelations are interestingly portrayed. Equality with passion is stressed, as the epilogue rushes the story to its logical conclusion. It is sad that in this heart-moving story, Clara and Andrew could never develop their relationship due to the sharp differences in their own particular positions in the echelons of society, forcing Clara to leave the Carnegie home for a life of total oblivion. In this fictional book, although readers are deprived of the ‘happily-ever-after,” that magical moment when true satisfaction comes to the reader, we derive a small measure of comfort from the fact that Clara’s loss becomes Andrew’s gain, when he pledges to pursue her lofty ideals for the ultimate good of mankind.

The climax of the story takes place on December 23, 1868 in the luxurious interior of the study of a hotel suite in New York, where ensconced behind his desk, Andrew Carnegie wielded his fountain pen with a fury, in dire contrast to the gentle melody of a Christmas song wafting through the air. Haunted by memories of Clara, Andrew had spent most of his time searching for her, without success. There was not even the slightest hint of her trail. Clara had covered her tracks so well that it was as if she had never existed except in a dream. Andrew was alone with his thoughts of Clara. In the seclusion and privacy of the study, intimate memories of Clara washed over him. Andrew was filled with a longing so intense as to give him physical pain. He remembered her demure manner and averted gaze, and the few times when she met his gaze unflinchingly, revealing fleeting glimpses of the sharp intelligence that lay concealed beneath her placid demeanor. Andrew had vowed to Clara that he would carve out a different path for himself, choosing a life that would be the most elevating in character and principles. He would honor his vow even though she had disappeared. Through his inexorable pain and agonizing despair at losing Clara, Andrew found healing grace. He might not have Clara, but he would wield her beliefs like a sword. The twin idols of status and money would be worshipped no longer. Instead, he would utilize them for the benefit and betterment of others, in creating ladders for immigrants to climb to success. The document Andrew so painstakingly drafted would have pleased his Clara. And this thought gave him a small measure of happiness. It was the tiniest of appeasements that was to set Andrew on the path to glory. Clara had won the battle at last.

Miriam Jacob