Thursday, February 22, 2018

"Whole Heart" Passion CD

PASSION Whole Heart ~ Music from 2018 Passion Conference is the live album from the 2018 Passion Conference in Atlanta. Each year thousands of college students gather together for a powerful time of worshiping God and the fellowship of believers forms bonds of friendship that are long-lasting. More than an event, more than music, and more than a shared experience, Passion Conferences bring people to a deeper sense of intimacy and relationship with God that profoundly impacts those who attend. Founded by Louie and Shelley Giglio, the music of Passion has been the sea of voices uniting together to lift up the name of Jesus.  Currently helmed by Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker and Melodie Malone, the band has seen worship leaders such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Crowder, and Christy Nockels. This year's artists also include Sean Curran and Tauren Wells. More info about Passion can be found at:

Passion Conference 2018 was a beautiful worship experience, and the live album captures each powerful moment, allowing those who were not in attendance to experience it. This year's CD Playlist is:
01. Whole Heart (feat. Kristian Stanfill)  

02. Almighty God (feat. Sean Curran)      

03. God, You’re So Good (feat. Kristian Stanfill & Melodie Malone)         

04. Reckless Love (feat. Melodie Malone)            

05. Heaven (feat. Sean Curran)  

06. More Like Jesus (feat. Kristian Stanfill)           

07. Hallelujah, Our God Reigns (feat. Brett Younker)        

08. Ghost (feat. Crowder)            

09. Ever Almighty (feat. Melodie Malone)            

10. Great Are You Lord (feat. Matt Redman)       

11. All My Hope (feat. Crowder & Tauren Wells)

You can order "Whole Heart" via this link: PassionWholeHeart 

My Review: Beautiful music that quickly brings you into a sense of the presence of God as each song invites you to worship Him along with the musicians. As with most CDs, I had some songs that spoke to me more deeply than others...yet, that list did not remain the same. Just as we have different things on our hearts, a song may have a greater meaning at various times. These all set the tone for time with our Creator. But, I have to admit, that my personal favorite each time I listened to this was #10 - "Great Are You Lord."

GIVEAWAY: To be entered to win a "Whole Heart" cd, please respond on Blog (or this post) with #PassionWholeHeart no later than Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018.
Thanks to #FlyBy for providing a link to music and for giveaways. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Up In Smoke ~ Hannah Conway

Up in Smoke by Hannah Conway is a mixture of romance, mystery, intrigue, and danger that changes course from beginning to end. Just when the reader thinks everything is falling into place, another twist appears.

Leanna Wilson has returned home to Kentucky after the death of her parents and plans to raise her young sister, Brie. When she finds that her parent's will and assets are more complicated than expected, she must take advice from their attorney---her ex-fiance who is eager to control Leanna's life once again. Her only solution appears to be to accept the offer of her former high school sweetheart. He broke her heart when they were teens, but she will do nearly anything to keep her sister safe.

With a spiritual theme woven throughout the unexpected twists and turns of the plot, it is a story filled with surprises, but comes together at the end with a fresh hope and healing for characters you grow to love. There were times when I would have liked the editing to be a little tighter, but the story did keep my attention and interest. I do recommend this book and hope to read more by Hannah Conway.  

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I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

VALENTINE SPECIAL: Up in Smoke is available for FREE on Amazon Kindle Unlimited February 14-15.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Graciousness ~ John Crotts

Anger and criticism have become the standard response today, especially in a world where one of the major sources of communication is the internet. I often find myself hoping that people who comment on articles and posts would not actually be that abrasive and unforgiving in a face-to-face discussion. I try to temper my responses and believe I am gracious when I comment, but it's not always easy to judge a person's tone and temperament in the written word...especially on hot topic issues. I love to look at all sides of an issue to understand the perspective of others, but, if I hope to remain gracious, I need to back away a bit from overfilling my mind. It did seem perfect timing to receive a chance to review "Graciousness: Tempering Truth With Love" by John Crotts.

The author says that LISTENING with love is one of the first steps in the right direction. I know that I have been guilty of forming my response rather than really listening to what another says. He makes a valid point that we are to THINK before we speak also. While there are certain topics that have an absolute truth, some are more a matter of opinion. Is your need to feel right more important than the chance to have a meaningful conversation? Crotts fills this book with Scripture and practical wisdom to help with the spiritual growth that all of us need. The Body of Christ is built on relationship and community. If we can't treat each other with kindness how can we reach people wandering in spiritual darkness?

The book is small and compact but is well worth the read. And, it shows that we are all flawed at times, but we need to learn how to be gracious after we have been less than gracious in the past. Sometimes there is a need for righteous anger, but we have an example in the Bible about getting angry without sinning. Crotts covers a wide range as he teaches the true meaning of graciousness.

I received a copy of this book via Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC).

"What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary if at the same time, if at the same time he oses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of His presence is made?" ~ John Newton

Friday, February 2, 2018

Candlemas Day

Candlemas is a word I remember reading many times, but have never researched... until now. This  is a beautiful tradition that I would love to see come back into practice. Groundhog Day doesn't have to go away, but I just don't feel the same connection to that tradition. Perhaps it's due to my utter confusion as a child. I honestly thought I was being told Six More Weeks of Winter or Six Weeks Until Spring. I have always had an active imagination, but tempered with a strong practical streak. No matter how people wanted to say it --- Spring was coming in 6 weeks! Well, actually six and a half weeks, but I was taught it was bad manners to argue with my teacher over technicalities and that it had more to do with temperatures and weather than exact date. Good manners won...but it still annoys me.

Candlemas Day is celebrated on February 2nd... on what is considered the midpoint between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox. The tradition that gives the holiday its name is that pastors would bless candles and then distribute them to people to provide light for the remander of Winter. The tie-in to what became Groundhog Day was when people began saying if Candlemas Day dawned sunny and clear, Winter weather would last several more weeks. Spring would arrive early if the weather was cloudy.

There's more, though! February 2 is also called the Feast of the Presentation. This has been celebrated since the 4th century in Jerusalem and is based on the presentation of Jesus to the Lord at the Temple at the end of Mary's 40 days of purification. All firstborn sons were to be consecrated to God. Traditionally the birth of Christ is celebrated December 25th, therefore, February 2nd would have been the date of the Presentation. 

Tie-in? At the temple, a devout and righteous man named Simeon had been anticipating the birth of the Messiah because Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the promised Savior. When he held Jesus in his arms, Simeon said, "He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of Your people Israel!” Read the whole story in Luke 2:22-40.

In John 8:12, J
esus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." That promise holds true for everyone today. The world is a dark place, but Jesus is the Light that leads to eternal life. It's not always easy to follow Him, but be assured that it is worth it.

The groundhog is fun and I am curious to see what is predicted and whether he was reliable this year. But I will celebrate the Light of the World whose promises of Hope and Healing, despite current cold and darkness, are assurances I know I can trust. More than fun, this brings JOY! Today, light a candle to remind yourself,
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

Go light the world! 🕯

*FUN FACT: February is also a traditional day for some to take down and put away their 🎄 Christmas decorations! If you haven't quite finished, today is the day!