Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Women in the Life of Jesus

In the month of October, I will be participating in a Write 31 Days Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to choose a topic and write about it for 31 days. 

So, for the next 31 days, I plan to write about women in the Life of Jesus.

Some posts will be long, and some will be short. I will include fun links to Biblical fiction about a few of the women. If you click on the place where she lived in her story, there will be a link to a map.

Each woman I write about will have been connected to the Life of Jesus in some way. Five are in listed in His lineage, some are part of his family, and many are those that He ministered to.

These were real women who lived at different times in history.

Each of their lives had its own challenges, but they overcame and their outcomes with God was greater.

These lives were full of Grace.

I hope you find yourself somewhere in their stories, and feel hope, love, encouragement, and faith.

You are connected to Him too. May you come to know Him better as you read.

Listed below are the 31 days of Women in the Life of Jesus.

Day 1: Introductory Post
Day 2: Tamar
Day 3: Rahab
Day 4: Ruth
Day 5: Bathsheba, Part 1
Day 6: Bathsheba, Part 2
Day 7: Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Day 8: Elizabeth
Day 9: Anna
Day 10: The Samaritan Woman at the Well
Day 11: Peter's Mother-in-Law
Day 12: The Widow of Nain
Day 13: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar
Day 14: Joanna
Day 15: Mary Magdalene
Day 16: Woman With the Issue of Blood
Day 17: Jairus' Wife
Day 18: Jairus' Daughter
Day 19: The Syrophoenician Woman
Day 20: Martha
Day 21: Woman Caught in Adultery
Day 22: Woman with the Spirit of Infirmity
Day 23: Mary of Bethany
Day 24: The Woman with Ten Pieces of Silver
Day 25: The High Priest's Servant Girl

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

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Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman's destiny becomes entangled with the very enemies she sought to destroy?

Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting. When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked to find an unconscious woman among the casualties. Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Hebrew camp, he's unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion. 

In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy. But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?
-Book Description, Bethany House Publishers

My Review:

There was so much Biblical history packed within the pages of this story. Wings of the Wind is the third novel in the Out From Egypt series. It is set during the time when the Israelites are just about to enter The Promised Land.  I know a little about this time period, but because of the events that took place in the book as part of their experience in the wilderness, and because of the fictional experiences of Alanah,  I have a lot more to think about now.

I don't want to share all of the things I loved about the book, because I don't want to give too much away.  But two of my favorite parts are Alanah's journey coming to know God, and the descriptions of the major events that took place during that time period.  I always look for Jesus in the Old Testament stories, because there are many pictures of Him, and He is there.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is when Alanah is talking with one of the women who was in Egypt when the Israelites left. They are talking about the manna that falls from the sky for them every morning.  

"B-but..." I stuttered. "You don't look that old!"
"Well, thank you for that."  She patted her silvery curls, "I think that has more to do with the manna than anything.  It seems to give all of us an abnormal vitality.  But I was twenty-one when we left Egypt, and my Zakariyah twenty-eight."

I love this because in the New Testament Jesus tells us in John 6:35,

  "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

And then again in John 6:51 He says,

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.

I cried twice while reading Wings of the Wind and held my breath through quite a few chapters! There was so much action within the book.  I had a difficult time putting it down. If you enjoy Biblical or historical fiction, then you will like this book! 

Many blessings to you as you read!!


I recently had the opportunity to ask Connilyn Cossette a few questions about her writing, and I thought that I would share them with you!

Beth: How did you get started writing Biblical Fiction?

Connilyn : It was only because Kiya's story (Counted with the Stars) came to me, actually. I had always wanted to write books but did not have enough confidence that anything I wrote would be worth reading. I'd hoped to someday write historical fiction and tried my hand at a couple of stories but never got very far, it wasn't until Counted with the Stars became a vision in my brain that I could not shake that I sat down and actually wrote on a regular basis. It took me nearly five years to learn enough about writing that I felt confident in showing my work to anyone! I certainly did not set out to write Biblical fiction, it kinda chose me :).

Beth:What resources do you use when writing?

Connilyn: I love Google Books because I can find some great out of print gems from 100 years ago for free. Of course I also scour Amazon and buy as much material as I can within my budget. I also use Chabad.org to help research the Rabbinical ideas about certain topics. And lots of Youtube and Googling of various topics. There are so many pictures and videos and websites out there that help me layer in historic detail, I can't imagine being a historical writer before the internet!

Beth: Did you feel as though God was leading you to do this?

Connilyn: I absolutely do. I know that he gave me the initial vision of Kiya (Counted with the Stars) as an older woman standing on the bank of the river Jordan waiting to go into the Promised Land. He has been so faithful along the way and has gifted me this career that I was too scared to even ask for, for fear of being disappointed. He continues to sustain me through it all and there are times when I feel he gives me exactly the words I am searching for, which usually brings me to tears of gratitude for the privilege of doing what I love with him and for him!

To learn more about Connilyn Cossette, or the Out From Egypt series, please visit her website at http://www.connilyncossette.com/.

As part of the release of Wings of the Wind, I thought I would give away the Kindle version of the first two books in the series! To enter to win, simply leave a comment below.  I will draw a winner on Friday, May 12th. 

Congratulations Charis!  You are the winner of the Kindle versions of Counted with the Stars and Shadow of the Storm!  Please message me your email to bethlisteningtohim@gmail.com so I can get your books to you!  Thanks for reading!

To read my review for the first two books in the series, follow the links below!

Shadow of the Storm

Disclosure Statement: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Women in the Life of Jesus: The High Priest's Servant Girl

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.  When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.-Mark 14:66-72 (NIV)

When writing the series about Women in the Life of Jesus, I came across this girl's story many times. Because tomorrow is Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified, I started thinking about these women again.  I never finished writing the series, and there were quite a few women involved in the days that surround Good Friday and Resurrection Day.  The high priest's servants girl was one of them.  
 I didn't really want to write about this girl because she wasn't one of Jesus' followers. Her story always bothered me.  What could she have to contribute to the series I was writing?  Today this thought crossed my mind, and is a message for others- Don't be like her.  But hidden in this story is also a message for the Church.
If we look closely at the passage of scripture in Mark 14, we can see a few telling details about her.  She was the high priests servant girl.  It doesn't say she was a woman, but a girl.  When I looked up the definition for "girl" in Strong's concordance, it gave me the definition for servant girl as being, "female slave, maidservant, maid, young girl."  That tells us even more.  
The high priest was part of the group of people who were getting ready to convict Jesus and sentence Him to death.  They represent the Law and religion.  The girl was a slave to that.  She was most like influenced by their opinions, being in their presence much of the time.
But notice in Mark 14 verse 67 it says , "she looked closely" at Peter.  And then she identifies him.  How would she know who Peter was, unless she had seen him before?  Now the Bible doesn't say this, but if she had seen him before, she had most likely already been around Jesus. This girl breaks my heart.
Here we have a young girl, who probably had been around Jesus, but because of religion and the Law chose to reject Him!  What does that say to us?
We, as the Church, should closely inspect our message.  Are we preaching the grace, goodness, mercy, love and forgiveness of God?  Or are preaching it, get it all right, do the right thing and you will be accepted?  
I think I used to be like her. I was afraid of God much of the time because I didn't know Him.  I didn't know Jesus.  I still have to watch my thought life, because of my history, and make sure my thoughts stay on the truth of who Jesus is.  
So, don't be like her.  Don't let religion keep you from the one who loves you so much.  Don't let religious people keep you from the one who loves you so much.  

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.-John 1:17

To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

When You Are Set Free, Others Will Be Too!!

Last night I was reading about Paul and Silas in Acts 16.  There are lots of good things in this passage, but I want to focus on just one for now. It says,

 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.-Acts 16:25-26

The earthquake was not just some random event that took place. It was a result of Paul and Silas praying and praising God. When they did that, something happened. God moved. And they were freed from what bound them. They were literally freed from the prison they were in. And it was quite dramatic. 

The scripture says that the "foundations of the prison were shaken...And everyone's bands came loose." Whoa! Not only were Paul and Silas set free, but also  all those in the prison that were there to witness it,  eventually including the jailer, who was was the one who puy them in the chains to begin with. 

So, in the midst of a troublesome situation, keep praying and praising God. Don't listen to the enemy tell you nothing is happening! God is as close as your next breath and He hears you! You will be set free, along with others around you! When you are released from your prison, it will set others free too!

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