Are you tired of trying to measure up to the world’s difficult standards? Do you want to exchange your anxiety and frustration for God’s divine peace, blissful rest and relaxation? In a culture that over-emphasizes accomplishment and ever-higher goals as the hallmark of success, we are hopelessly driven to do more, strive more, achieve more and be more. We get mercilessly caught up in the ruthlessly turning treadmill of rigid, self-imposed rules that wreck utter havoc in our lives. The pitiful end result of all this stress is anger, frustration, and anxiety that prevent us from living a life of peace in God. For seemingly endless years, Sandra McCollom lived in this death-like trap. Worn out from striving for a perfection she could never attain, try as she might, she cried out desperately to God for help. God answered Sandra by setting her on a trend-setting, life-transforming journey to discover the abundant riches of His grace. In “I Tried Until I Almost Died,” Sandra shares how she exchanged her burden of anxiety and fear for God’s divine peace. This book will teach you how to taste the exuberating freedom of trusting in the perfect power of God’s grace.
As trouble brews in waves in peaceful, quiet Arborville, Kansas, Alexa Zimmerman and Anna-Grace Braun are ruthlessly targeted for bitter discord and exposed secrets. Can they find God’s boundless grace in the swirling fog of confusion? Alexa wonders if the community in Arborville will ever accept her, hoping against hope that her excellent culinary and hospitality skills will win her many skeptics over. Alexa allows Briley Forrester, reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder at her bread and breakfast, blissfully unaware of his real motives for being there in the first place. When Alexa’s cousin Anna-Grace arrives to stay, the extended family circle uncovers Alexa’s deep-rooted insecurities, setting Briley on the long drawn out trail of a web of secret truths. A secure future and a young romance hang precariously in the balance. Alexa and Anna-Grace realize that their secrets are interminably interconnected, binding them in unimaginable ways. They must take refuge in the abiding goodness and faithfulness of their loving, heavenly Father and His trustworthy plan for their future.
Brennan Manning wrote this book for himself and weary, discouraged people along the Way. Although we believe in grace, we feel as if we still must earn God’s love, for Him to be pleased with us. In “The Ragamuffin Gospel,” Manning presents a completely different picture of our relationship with God, as dirty, bedraggled, exhausted ragamuffins. But as we sit at God’s feet replete in our rags, He smiles at us and embraces us, treating us as the cherished recipients of His love. In this classic meditation on grace, we don’t need to make ourselves presentable to God. Our extreme poverty and utter powerlessness brings us closer to God, whose fatherly love embraces us, no matter what our condition or circumstances. Let us allow God’s grace to do what only He can do – hug us to His heart.
According to Brennan Manning, “The Ragamuffin Gospel” is for bent, bruised and broken people, who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God. By grace, we are saved through faith. Manning explores the true meaning of grace in all its power. When we acknowledge that only grace saves us, we draw near to God who delights in us, His dearly beloved children. We find the timeless wisdom of a man who came to God needy and desperate to find a peace that revolutionized his life for ever. You are not a disappointment to God. God celebrates you. God loves you. This is the exhilarating joy of the Good News – the gospel of grace.
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” God loves you with divine passion. Jesus Christ wrote a love song to you, signed with His life-giving blood, for you to taste His love in a most intimate, heart to heart way! The Song of Songs, one of the most love-revealing books of the Bible, illuminates with a divine spotlight, the best love story of all time, the intense, personal love God has us, His dearly beloved children. In He Calls You Beautiful, Dee Brestin teaches us life-transforming truths with deep insight and understanding, as she illustrates how God uses the divine art of poetry and the most exquisite imagery to illuminate the unique intimacy Christ has for each one of us. God calls you to know His love in your heart. He sings over you a song of selfless love and undying devotion. A passionate Song of songs, sung personally to you, and only for you, by the divine Creator of your soul. Jesus loves you, and He calls you beautiful.
Dee Brestin’s writing voice blends in with the lyrical beauty of the Song of Songs, as she captures our five senses to taste the breathtaking love of God. Her sheer passion for Him captivates our hearts until we are swept up in His divine embrace. He Calls You Beautiful. He writes it on your heart with His life’s Blood. Here is what you always long for, your very own personal love story, to be loved, honored and cherished. God will make you feel inexplicably, indescribably and undeniably loved, for yourself alone. The Song of Songs melts our hearts with the beauty of Christ, inspiring us to be more intimate with Him, the Lover of our souls.
The Song of Songs is the best lens to understand God’s heart in all of Scripture. Dee Brestin poignantly weaves the tapestry of biblical truths to illustrate God’s enraptured heart for His people. The Song of Songs illustrates an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, in a glowing illustration of Christ and His bride, the Church. We will understand the depths of Jesus’s tender love for us and how He transforms our lives into His glory. “He Calls You Beautiful” plumbs the exquisite beauty and awesome wonder of intimate love with God, and the glory of His unique design in creating you, as He welcomes you into the heart of intimacy with Christ!
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life
by Joanna Weaver WaterBrook & Multnomah
Pub Date: 18 Jul 2000. ISBN 9781578562589. PRICE $14.99
All who love Jesus long to experience intimacy with and service for Him. Like Mary, we yearn to sit at the Lord’s feet. Jesus tenderly invites us to choose “the better part” – a joyful life of intimacy with the Lover of our souls. that presses us into service for Him. Joanna Weaver shows us how to draw closer to our Lord, in ever-deepening devotion, strengthening our service with even greater joy. In music to our souls, with a heart that sings and a voice that rings out loud and clear, Joanna invites us to daily communion with Christ. With candor, humor, and passion, Joanna Weaver invites us to cultivate a ‘Mary heart’ that delights in top-priority time with God. The real-life story of the two sisters of Bethany is the story of our lives too. When Jesus and his disciples visited Bethany, Martha opened her home to him. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening intently to Him, with eyes for Him alone. It is intriguing to have a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Welling up in our hearts is a passionate hunger, an unquenchable thirst, a fervent calling to love God the Father, to know Jesus Christ His Son, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit, in a deep heart-to-heart intimacy.
Martha was distracted by all the preparations. She asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” – (Luke 10:38–42). Martha is the Queen of the Kitchen, preparing a banquet fit for the Messiah. She is a party planner extraordinaire, a paragon of efficiency, “Where’s Mary? Has anyone seen Mary? Angry and frustrated, Martha finally found Mary, sitting at the Master’s feet. She had eyes only for Jesus. Martha interrupts Jesus, confident that He will take her side. Mary should help her to prepare the meal. Jesus gently rebukes her, telling her Mary has chosen “the better part,” which will not be taken away from her.
Mary and Martha are mentioned only three times in the Bible: Luke 10:38–42, John 11:1–44, and John 12:1–11. Mary took time to taste the love of Jesus. Faced with the same choice of work or worship, Mary chose “the better part,” available to both Mary and Martha, and to us too, regardless of our gifts, talents and personalities. It’s a free, voluntary choice. We can either take it or leave it. The choice is exclusively ours. Mary sees the joy and winsomeness in Jesus and is instantly drawn to Him. Jesus, the Son of God, drew Mary out into his circle of friends. He speaks with a voice like the sound of many waters. His magnetic words contain new life. Mary creeps closer, listening intently to Jesus. She is unable to move – except closer to Jesus. His words draw her into His heart. Despite her natural reticence, she kneels at his feet. His teaching reveals truth to her hungry heart. Mary allows Martha to serve while she listens to Jesus. She presses closer and closer to Jesus. Martha’s call is drowned by the call of her Master, the call to come, to listen and to be blessed.
Let us follow Mary to the feet of Jesus. He bids us to come. He can give us a Mary heart in a Martha world. Faith and trust comes only at Jesus’ feet. undergo a transformation right before our eyes: a holy makeover. The two sisters of Bethany are transformed. Martha becomes meek and Mary becomes courageous. God calls us to intimacy through Jesus Christ. At first, Martha opened her home but not her heart. She almost missed getting to know Jesus. Mary went all out for Jesus. God’s kingdom is a paradox. He desires companionship. “Be still and know that I am God.” He looks for people to pour his life into. We must draw closer to the Father’s heart. As we spend time with God, He gives us grace to lift the heaviest burdens. The “only one thing needed – the better part” is found at his feet. The gift of availability is what God cherishes most. Mary’s gift was availability. She sat at His feet. She was available for Him. A deeper friendship only requires a heart open and ready to receive. We must be lavish in our love, to be filled with His love, that flows out into service. Love starts at His feet.
Imprint: WaterBrook & Multnomah, Publisher: Penguin Random House,
Hardcover: $14.99, Oct 6, 2009 | 208 Pages ISBN: 9780307446534
Ebook: $9.99, Oct 6, 2009 | ISBN: 9780307458353
PUBLISHER’S SYNOPSIS –
This is a captivating story of two guarded hearts , the letters that unlock their secrets, and the surprise of healing grace.
Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé.
When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work – including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving.
Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art.
But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?
About Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA bestselling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.
REVIEW BY MIRIAM JACOB
Cindy Woodsmall is a favorite Amish Fiction author with such a gentle touch that she authentically captures the hearts of her characters. Cindy skillfully intertwines simple Amish life with the strength of loving the Lord. In “The Sound of Sleigh Bells”, Lizzy Hertzler delicately unveils the bitter heartache and turmoil her niece, Beth suffered after enduring deep personal tragedy. Beth, still in mourning and unable to move past her deep wounds, cuts herself off from any hope of happiness. No one goes through life unscathed, and Lizzy would do anything to see her niece healed, even risking Beth’s wrath to do so. Jonah, a gifted carver, holding the answer to Beth’s hurtful past and happy future in his hands, pursues a relationship with Beth to prove his heartfelt desire for Beth’s healing. God cares even more deeply for our happiness. He pours out His mercy, grace and love in unimaginable ways. As a result, we experience immeasurably enriched lives.
Amish customs, with a time for every season, permit a period of grieving, but Beth Hertzler, emotionally crippled by grief, could not move on. Life gave her a blow so great that it couldn’t be shared with anyone. One day, an exquisitely carved artwork on a shelf deeply moves Beth, striking a chord in her aching heart, too deep for words. The artist, Jonah, who suffered bitter blows in life, poignantly says, “…..some things in life are just that way. They demand more of you than you have, and even knowing you’ll lose, you have to attempt it anyway. Everyone is damaged one way or another …..some people’s scars you can see because they are on the outside….., others you can’t see because they are hidden within!” This captivating story of the healing and unconditional love of two closely guarded hearts touches us like few others can. Most of the storyline lies in Jonah’s letters, which hold the key to unlock Beth’s heart.
In “The Sound of Sleigh Bells”, Cindy Woodsmall portrays the uniquely personal struggles and deep conflicting emotions of her characters with passionate honesty. Past sorrowful circumstances kept Beth and Jonah unmarried. Their first meeting attracts both of them, but Beth’s buries her feelings, unwilling to get into a new relationship. Two baffling questions must be resolved before Beth and Jonah can move on in life. Can Beth ever overcome the devastating secrets that painfully control her life? Will Jonah ever get emotional healing from a devastating accident? The Sound of Sleigh Bells is a warm, tender and deeply passionate story with a unique theme of forgiveness and restoration that warms your heart like no other. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to get to the heart of true love, to find deep and lasting satisfaction.