Category Archives: Purpose

Light of the Last | Book Review

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Light of the Last is the final book in the trilogy, Wars of the Realm, by Chuck Black. This book is even better than the first two and is filled with plot twists. In Light of the Last, you’ll encounter ISIS, angels, technology, and Ebola.

The angel Validus is charged with the increasingly difficult job of protecting the unbelieving Drew Carter. As a CIA agent, Drew is faced with decisions that will change the destiny of America. He is surrounded by spiritual warriors and is being targeted by demons. The angels believe they are guarding the man who will be the final salvation before Jesus comes back. Is Drew the final salvation? Will the Fallen be successful in causing the death of Drew? If Drew fails to accept Jesus, does Satan win the final victory?

Though Light of the Last is a fictional story, it is thought-provoking. I highly recommend that you use the Readers’ Guide (included at the end of the book). I disagreed theologically with a concept presented in the first book but am glad I read all three books. The issue was resolved on the very last page.

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Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent this book to me in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review. 

Guatemala Missions Trip

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I recently had the privilege of going on my second missions trip. I love missions trips! They are a crazy mix of excitement, exhaustion, and encouragement. 🙂 I love seeing God take the impossible and miraculously work through human vessels to complete His plan. It’s thrilling!

During my trip to Guatemala, it was exciting to see God work in so many different ways. He enabled us to distribute over 48,000 copies of Romans to the people of Guatemala. As a result, 175 visitors attended the special services at Iglesia Bautista Fundamento Biblico. Throughout the three services, we saw 51 people accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Praise the Lord! We ministered in two different schools and reached hundreds of children, teenagers, and young adults with the Gospel. Over 25 people were saved in the schools. A young man from one of the schools came out to the services and accepted Christ.

We walked for miles every day. Sometimes up steep streets, sometimes through crowded marketplaces, and sometimes through bad neighborhoods. Our feet blistered, we got sunburned, and our shoulders ached with the weight of our backpacks. It was exhausting work. We had some early mornings and some late nights. But the discomfort and exhaustion was worth every minute as we saw 10 individuals accept Christ on the streets of Guatemala City.

I came home encouraged and humbled. I was encouraged to see the nationals passionate about sharing the Gospel with the lost. I loved watching the young people of Iglesia Bautisa Fundamento Biblico open a Bible and declare the Gospel during the invitations. It was a blessing to work with other Americans to spread the Good News. Souls were reached for eternity because 18 people chose to follow God out of their comfort zone. God delights in using His children to accomplish His plan. I am humbled to think that God wanted to use an English-speaking girl to spread His Word in a Spanish-speaking country. As I used my few phrases of Spanish to hand out the Gospel and invite lost souls to church, God used me. There is nothing special about me; it’s only Jesus.

If you ever get a chance to go on a missions trip, do it. It will be an experience you will never forget. After I got home I shared with my cousin in a text, “I came home with a renewed love for lost souls, a deeper hunger for God’s Word, and a desire to learn more Spanish so that I can communicate better.” Missions trips will change you. They will change your perspective on life and eternity. They will change the way you interact with people on the street. They will change your walk with God.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8

School Outreaches

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So many of the kids wanted selfies.

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Street Outreach

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We walked through so many markets like this one. At the busier ones, you could easily hand out several hundred Scriptures.

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Church Services

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Fellowshipping in the courtyard after church.

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First-time visitors received a free Bible.

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Sightseeing in Antigua

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Yes, that is an active volcano.

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The streets are all cobblestone.

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Fellowship and New Friends (Most of these pictures are from other team members.)
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Frisbee in the church courtyard.

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Pastor Garcia and his wife, Stephanie

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Mrs. Philbrick and I were partners for the week. We had a great time together. 🙂

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Brittney and Abbey

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This picture of our entire team was taken at 4 a.m. on the morning we came home. Left to right: Mark and Tammy Philbrick, Jon and Kristi Nothstein, David Lord, Nathaniel Johnson, Chris King, Brittney Johnson, Hunter Philbrick, Luke Philbrick, Dema Johnson, Silas Philbrick, Allen Johnson, Abbie Sikma, Abbey Grimes, and Alan Harris.

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Saying “goodbye” at the airport.

Rise of the Fallen | Book Review

After reading Chuck Black’s book Cloak of the Light, I was eager to read the sequel. Rise of the Fallen, book two in the series’ Wars of the Realm, was as captivating as the first book.

Validus, the least and last created of the angels, has seen much since his creation. He watched as close friends followed Lucifer and deserted the servants of Elohim. The book follows Validus as he watches the rise and fall of many empires. Placed on earth as a warrior, he rises to a respected position commanding legions of warrior-angels. So why was he demoted to guardian? Who exactly is Drew Carter? And why is he so important?

Rise of the Fallen doesn’t continue the story from Cloak of the Light as much as it parallels it. Well-written and suspenseful, Chuck Black switches back and forth between present time and the life story of Validus. Although the amount of details, characters, and unusual names could be confusing, there is a clear cast of characters and time line at the beginning of the book. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to seeing how Chuck Black will wrap up the final book in this intriguing trilogy.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent this book to me in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review. 

Because He Lives

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“He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24:6a

This week as I have spent some time meditating on the glorious truth of Jesus’ resurrection, I’ve been reminded of the beautiful lyrics to the song, “Because He Lives”. It’s because of Jesus that I have forgiven sins. It’s because of Jesus that I can face an unknown future. It’s because of Jesus that I will spend eternity with Him. And it’s because of Jesus that I can live each day knowing that He has made life worth living.

This weekend, I encourage you to take some extra time and ponder the victorious truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Because He Lives

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

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Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

The King’s Blooming Rose | Review and Giveaway

The King's Blooming Rose Giveaway

Last year, I was introduced to the delightful magazine, The King’s Blooming Rose. Edited and published by homeschool graduate, Sarah Bryant, The King’s Blooming Rose “offers quarterly encouragement to Christian girls.” KBR encourages young ladies to “become delightful cornerstones at home, under the guidance of their parents according to Titus 2 and Proverbs 31.” Each issue features themes such as abiding in Christ, contentment, femininity, and Scripture memory.

My sisters and I were gifted with a year’s subscription by a sweet friend and we have thoroughly enjoyed each issue. In fact, we’ve loved it so much that we ordered all the back issues. So, to celebrate 100 posts on The Blue Tree House, I want to give away a year’s subscription to one of my readers.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment with your first and last name. You can enter additional times by

1) Pinning the top picture
2) Sharing on Google+
3) Sharing on Facebook
4) Sharing on Twitter
5) Sharing on your blog

Leave an additional comment for each entry with your name and a link, if possible.

Giveaway closes Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 12 P.M. CDT. Winner will be announced Friday, March 27.

Knitting Block by Block | Book Review

 

As a novice knitter, I was excited to see a knitting book available for review on Blogging for Books. While the book isn’t specifically written for beginners, the instructions are clearly written. With lovely, easy-to-read patterns, Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein would be an excellent addition to the knitter’s library. It comes with 150 block patterns for creating a variety of beautiful projects.

The book also includes projects using the blocks you create. I’m looking forward to trying projects like the Crossed Cable Cuffs and the One-Block Toys. You’ll also find projects for afghans, scarves, bags, sweaters and more.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent me this book in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review.

 

 

hand in Hand | Book Review

The books that I have read by Randy Alcorn have been an encouragement in my Christian walk. When I discovered that he had published a new one, I eagerly ordered it. In hand in Hand, Mr. Alcorn examines the perplexing questions and debate over reconciling God’s sovereignty and human choice. He endeavors to look at the issue from all of Scripture instead of select verses.

hand in Hand is basically a shorter version of If God is Good but has a heavier emphasis on explaining the Calvinistic and Arminian positions of God’s sovereignty and human free will. Randy Alcorn is a Calvinist but does provide a fair overview of the various positions. This theological book includes a liberal amount of diagrams and references as he attempts to explain how the seemingly opposing positions actually work together.

I would not recommend this book to just anyone. It is definitely not an easy read. If you’re looking for a good book on the topic God’s sovereignty, I’d recommend If God is Good by Randy Alcorn. The terms and language used are much more down-to-earth. If you do choose to read hand in Hand, be prepared to learn some new words and definitions.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent me this book in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review.

Homemade Decadence | Book Review

I love baking for my family. And with lots of brothers, I’ve never had a lack of taste-testers. [grin] When I saw this book, I knew I had to try it. An entire book filled with “irresistibly sweet, salty, gooey, sticky, fluffy, creamy, crunch treats”? Yes, please!

Filled with delicious recipes and beautiful pictures, Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson is a good addition to your kitchen library. Recipes are divided into chapters such as, “Brunch”, “Pies, Crumbles, & Cobblers”, and “Ice Cream Social”. Just a few of the recipes included are, “Vanilla Sugar Doughnuts”, “Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Creamy Peanut Butter Filling”, “Toasted Marshmallow Squares”, “Brown Sugar-Cream Cheese Ice Cream”, and “Dark Chocolate Brownies Cupcakes”. Is your mouth watering yet?

Of course, in order to provide an accurate review, I had to test several recipes. The “Maple Apple Upside-Down Cake” would be a delicious addition to any fall party or dinner. My younger siblings especially enjoyed the “Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies”. I did substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean and the cookies turned out just fine. I also tried the “Under-Baked Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake”. If you like your cookies under-baked with just a bit of crispiness, you’ll love this cake.

Note: The one thing I did not like about the book were all the beverage recipes that had an alcoholic beverage as an ingredient.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent this book to me in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review.