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


“Handbook to Happiness: A Biblical Guide to Victorious Living” – by Dr. Charles R. Solomon


“Handbook to Happiness: A Biblical Guide to Victorious Living” by Dr. Charles R. Solomon is a fifty-year classic, with more than a quarter of a million copies sold. Although believers are enriched by deeper life devotional writers like Watchman Nee, Andrew Murray, and Oswald Chambers, people struggling with life-controlling problems assume that “devotional truth” does not directly pertain to their need for personal freedom. In “Handbook to Happiness,” the author bridges this gap, providing a clarified, practical handbook for strategic discipling and effective counseling, to help hurting people to exchange their life for Christ’s. Instead of living the Christian life by our own efforts and strength, we allow Christ to live His life in us, enabling us to become totally Christ centered. How do you fix a broken person? Where do you take twisted emotions to get them repaired? The answer is the Cross. We must die to self and find life in Christ, by appropriating His work on the Cross, as taught in Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This is known as “Exchanged-Life Counseling.” Don’t “Get A Life” – Exchange It!”

Dr. Solomon’s personal testimony involved emotional problems that hampered living. Finding only temporary solace with all the church had to offer, unable to survive for even one more day, the Holy Spirit intervened directly in Dr. Solomon’s life, through Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ.” Applied to his heart by the Holy Spirit, this gave him radical victory, becoming the message he was to teach, now 50 years ago. Understanding people, and helping them to understand themselves, involved unraveling the two intertwined themes of rejection and identity, to give self understanding. With this accomplished, the truth of identification with Christ in His death and resurrection can be shared for all to find true freedom in Christ. People face problems impossible to resolve in the strength of human resources, and it is crucial to understand the concepts of rejection and identity. We have access to the infallible Word of God and the Counselor, the Holy Spirit who transforms our lives by renewing our minds (Romans 12:2). After being “filled with the Spirit,” we must “walk in the Spirit” to allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives. To experience the cross, we must embrace it, with its brokenness and suffering like the Master. To have victory in life, we must follow the way of the cross. Life comes out of death and victory out of defeat. It is a paradoxical principle. Through the exchanged life and the experienced cross, we become in experience what we already are in Christ by position.

Rejection, with its effects, after-effects and counter-effects, is the lack of meaningful, fulfilling and edifying love, resulting in the impaired ability to give and receive love. It can be so subtle and unintentional as to be unrecognized and unavoidable. The answer to rejection is acceptance. Human acceptance will not heal the damaged emotions, although it might be the only help available at the time. Being accepted in Christ is the only true, time-tested, proven cure in the world. Understanding identity and how it affects our life is vital. What we see as our identity determines where we look for acceptance. “Our fleshly identity is what we are as a result of human resources. Our spiritual identity is what we are through the Holy Spirit’s power. The cure for an unacceptable fleshly identity is a true spiritual identity, which only a proper relationship to Christ can give us.” Our identity is who we are in Christ. We are being “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). We exchange our fleshly identity, based on indwelling sin, for our perfect identity in Christ, accomplished by the Holy Spirit, who gives us our true identity as redeemed children of the King of kings (Ephesians 1:17-20; Romans 5:10). “Our identity, based on who we are in Christ, is claimed by faith. We exchange our fleshly identity for the Christ-life, by exchanging a life of defeat for a life of victory.” (Luke 9:23). We define our identity to understand what we must lose, in order to live out our true identity in Christ as dearly loved children of God. We deny our old identity to exchange it for our new identity in Christ. “He who loses his life for my sake shall find it” – (Matthew 16:25).

For five decades, thousands have found help and healing through Spirituotherapy – a Christ-centered strategy pioneered by Dr. Solomon. The practical principles of this time-tested, proven treatment are presented in “Handbook to Happiness – A Biblical Guide to Victorious Living.” People with emotional struggles are helped to return to the cross of Christ and see themselves buried with Christ in His crucifixion and raised to new life in His resurrection. “Handbook to Happiness” relies heavily on the truth of Scripture to give people hope and encouragement. Countless lives are transformed by the Holy Spirit on all six continents since 1970, with so many spin-off ministries such that an exchanged life movement was launched and several books written. Each transformed life experienced revival. People were set free where psychotherapy had failed, including addictions. The wheel and line diagrams are effective from 8-80 and may be used in evangelism, discipleship and counseling. Prison inmates are very receptive to the book’s message. The Handbook to Happiness is published in 10 languages with chapter 2 (the Wheel and Line) in 49 languages.


Dr. Charles R. Solomon, the author of “Handbook to Happiness” and founder of Grace Fellowship International, has an extensive counseling ministry in the United States and worldwide. He has written twenty books, including four books of New Covenant Poetry.

© Dr. Charles R. Solomon,
Handbook to Happiness: A Biblical Guide to Victorious Living
Tyndale House Publishers



Fraying at the Edge – by Cindy Woodsmall


Fraying at the Edge
A Novel

by Cindy Woodsmall

WaterBrook & Multnomah, Publication Date: 16 August 2016
ISBN: 9781601427014, Price: $14.99

Faith and love of family are exquisitely and artistically stitched into Ariana’s Brenneman’s beautiful patchwork quilt of life. But the Amish life Ariana loved with all her heart vanished when to her horror, she discovered that she was switched at birth two decades ago. Quill Schlabach is Ariana’s only link between the two Amish and Englisch worlds. There is only one question to be answered. Can he be trusted? Into this most unpredictable scenario enters Skylar Nash with one of two choices to make. Brand new ties link Ariana and Skylar together, as unparalleled wisdom and strength lead them to follow God’s guiding threads into the future He charts out for them.