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Monday, April 24, 2017

Fiction Review: Shattered

Shattered, by Kimberly Rae is Book Two in her "Broken Series." It’s helpful if you’ve read the first book, Shredded, before this one. (You can access my review, here.) The first book will give you the background stories before you begin, and you’ll be acquainted with most of the characters.

Note: I think Shattered is for adults only. The book is about human trafficking, prostitution, and a strip club. It’s a clean book. There are no suggestive scenes, but there is some violence, “ownership” of the girls, and these topics aren’t for young people to be exposed to on this level. I think most girls eighteen years old would be ready for this, though. If you’re a mother, you might want to read it first and make your own judgment. There is some premarital kissing.

The story begins with the prostitute “Champagne” being horribly beaten. Her friend Candy rescues her and takes Champagne to Jean’s home for recovery—and hiding. What Candy doesn’t know is that Slash (Champagne’s owner) has made a deal with Champagne: she furnishes him with details about all the Christians’ lives, and he will wreak revenge on them. Champagne is good with a computer, and in the weeks it takes her to heal, she has dug up all the “dirt” she can find on those who are helping her. She knows their backgrounds, their whereabouts, and their habits . . . even though she can’t at all understand their self-control.

Living with Jean is like living in a dreamworld for Champagne. She can hardly believe the purity of the relationship she watches day and night. It’s weird, but it’s wonderful, too. These people really practice what they preach!

Candy has organized the church ladies to minister to a strip club she knows. The owner of the strip club is antagonistic, but he lets them in to distribute flowers and chocolate to the girls. The church ladies have never been anywhere like this! They’re afraid. What in the world will they talk about? Soon, Florence is chatting to the girls as if they were her own. They think she’s a hoot, but they trust her—an old church lady coming to a place like this and giving us nice things. The pastor’s wife goes, too, but she has to exit and throw up—more than once.

Soon, Slash begins his revenge on the Christians who robbed him of Candy. He doesn’t do the dirty work himself. He hires killers.

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens. This is a great book with a huge heart. It brings up the questions:
  • Do we really care about prostitutes and trafficked people? Jesus does.
  • Are we trying to reach the lost—even those who hate us? Jesus does.
  • Are we willing to put aside our differences and build bridges to others so that we can share Christ?
  • Can we trust God in the face of death?
  • Is God still good when Christians suffer?

Find out what happens to the Christians in the story, to Candy, Champagne, and the church. You’ll be challenged. I promise.

There’s a thoughtful study guide at the end of the book, if you’d like to use it with a ladies’ group.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Insecurity is a Good Thing

I should know. I must have been the most insecure little girl on the planet. I was afraid of everything. When my mother left us kids in the car to pop in to the supermarket, I was the one you’d find hunkering between front and back seats so no one would see me. I enjoyed a stable family life, lots of love, and fun with my brother, cousins, and neighbors. I suffered no traumas. I had no reason for insecurity, but I was a scaredy-cat, if ever there was one.

When I was seventeen, I absolutely refused to walk into our town’s post office—because I had never been inside and was afraid of the unknown. (It was that day that my mother began to have serious reservations about sending me off to college, where everything and almost everyone would be unknown.) Insecurity? I think I had a corner on the market!

Even though most people aren’t basket cases like I was, most of us feel insecure about many things in life. For example:
  • social occasions
  • speaking opportunities
  • personal appearance
  • how to handle something unfamiliar
  • changes in schedules
  • moving from one city to another—or one country to another
  • when we’re criticized
  • occupational changes
  • accidents
. . . We could go on and on!

Insecurity is common to mankind! We all have our hang-ups. I would say that everyone—even a person you think is full of confidence—has areas of insecurity.

Why is this a good thing?

Anything that motivates us to turn to the Lord is a good thing!

Back in high school, when I was such a needy young lady, I chose this Bible verse to hang onto: Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). It’s a promise that’s gone with me ever since: God is faithful. He will do it. What a blessing! It doesn’t depend on me. Whatever God calls me to do, He can do it. He will do it!

Do you have insecurities? Be encouraged; God’s Word says:
  • The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
  • Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).
  • And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him (Psalm 37:40).
  • For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
  • That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power (Ephesians 1:17-19).
  • Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1).

Jesus Christ is our security. He promises to always be with us.* We can depend on Him to help us do His will. What a wonderful God we have!

* Hebrews 13:5b