Colliding with Destiny by Sarah Jakes

I’m always looking for a good Bible study or devotional book to keep me in the Word and to help me apply it to my personal life. This book was offered by Bethany House and appealed to me because it is based on the book of Ruth from the Old Testament.

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Colliding with Destiny: Finding Hope in the Legacy of Ruth was written by Sarah Jakes, the daughter of Bishop T. D. Jakes. The book consists of an introduction and 30 chapters, which makes it a great one-month devotional, or it could be offered as a small-group Bible study with several chapters read before each meeting.

Each chapter begins with a few verses from the book of Ruth, and then the author shares a personal application of the scripture. Each chapter ends with a “Journal” section followed by a “Prayer” section, which allow the reader to reflect on the scripture and apply it to their own life and then close by giving thanks or asking God for help.

Colliding with Destiny examines the life of Ruth and the struggles she endured as she remained faithful to her family and her Lord. She could have given up at any time, said it was too hard, and returned to her mother’s house, but she endured and overcame her disappointments. God redeemed her pain and restored her with blessings. Ruth went on to become the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Sarah Jakes writes with wisdom as she shares her own painful experiences and disappointments, which taught her about God’s love, redemption, and restoration. This book offers Biblical hope and encouragement for anyone struggling to overcome their past.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts and opinions are my own.

$10 Great Dates by Larson & Arp

$10 Great Dates: Connecting Love, Marriage, and Fun on a Budget by Peter and Heather Larson and David and Claudia Arp is a great resource for couples who would like to add a little fun to their marriage. The ideas range from at-home dates to adventure dates to romantic dates, and all are possible for $10 or less. The authors even include a section suggesting options for cheap child care to keep all excuses at bay.

Each date (chapter) includes a brief intro from one of the authors followed by the idea of the date, so within a minute you can determine if that idea will work for you and your spouse or not. Then the authors provide the details to tackle before the date and suggestions for carrying out the date. A few questions are included to get you and your spouse talking after the date to gauge how it went, learn about your spouse’s interests, and dream together. Each date (chapter) ends with a takeaway to tie everything together and help you remember what is important.

This book is fairly short–each date (chapter) takes about three pages–but it’s not meant to be read straight through like a novel. $10 Great Dates: Connecting Love, Marriage, and Fun on a Budget is intended for browsing and choosing dates that will encourage and inspire you and your spouse to have fun together and grow closer through dates that keep your marriage strong.

This book would be a great anniversary gift for any couple because the date ideas are so versatile and can be individualized by each couple. The ideas would work for newlyweds, couples with young children, and empty nesters. Many of the dates would be appropriate for engaged couples who have a tight budget but want to have meaningful dates and learn more about each other.

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I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy

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Book three in the Montana Marriages series continues the story of Wade Sawyer and Glowing Sun, a white woman who was raised by a Flathead tribe after her biological family died. Wade helped rescue Glowing Sun from some white men who took her from her Flathead family in The Husband Tree. Tragedy strikes her village just before Wade learns his abusive father needs him back at the ranch. Glowing Sun reluctantly goes with Wade to make sure he honors his father. Her spunk and honesty challenge Wade to stand up to his father in this romantic comedy.

The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy

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The Husband Tree is the second book in the Montana Marriages trilogy, and in it, Mary Connealy takes us on a cattle drive with the Harden family and some hired hands. Over the mountains and through the woods to Helena we go.

Belle Harden has three beautiful, hard-working daughters and a baby girl that she carries with her as she rides. Having had three husbands, who did as little as possible around the ranch before they each died, has taught Belle to rely on her own strength and knowledge for running her ranch. She doesn’t take kindly to a hired hand trying to take the reins from her, and she definitely isn’t looking for another husband, but circumstances put her in an awkward position with a man to whom she is actually attracted.

This is another humorous love story from Mary Connealy.

Montana Rose by Mary Connealy (plus some thoughts on submission)

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Montana Rose is the first book in the Montana Marriages trilogy, and it opens with a bang. Well, it actually opens with a funeral and wedding all in one, witnessed by some rough ranchers in an area where there are almost no single women. Cassie Griffin is pregnant and burying her dead husband when the men begin staking their claims on her. Red Dawson is a decent man and a Christian, who is also the only man not vying for Cassie’s hand in marriage. Cassie’s first husband spoiled her and squandered away their wealth in his arrogance and ignorance while keeping Cassie in the dark about everything. Now a humble rancher must step in to prevent harm from coming to the beautiful and naive “china doll.”

This book addresses Biblical submission in a loving and entertaining way. God does not ask wives to be doormats and let their husbands walk all over them. Husbands are to love their wives as they love themselves and as Christ loved the church–unconditionally and sacrificially–while wives are told to respect their husbands by submitting to their leadership (Ephesians 5:25, 33). As long as the husband is a Christian, Biblical submission should not have the negative connotation that is common today.

Several years ago in small group at church, my husband and I suffered through an uncomfortable lesson on this topic by a man who must have thought his wife was angry at him for discussing submission. If only he had focused on the greater requirement of husbands! I believe most wives want to respect their husbands and allow them to lead, but so many men struggle with leading their families and/or loving their wives as Jesus loved the church. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an excellent book that discusses what men and women need most in a relationship. This book helped my own marriage, and we have since given it as a gift to other couples.

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The song “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real sums up the desire of a wife to be led by her husband, children to be led by their father, and a man to be led by God the Father as he strives to lead his family. The link contains an interview with the lead singer and the lyrics.

What are your thoughts on submission in marriage? What resources have you found helpful?

Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy

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The final book of the Lassoed in Texas trilogy is set in a small town that lies at the end of the “orphan train”, and a single man named Grant adopts all the “leftovers”–the kids who have a disability, appear angry, look troublesome, or are too young or old, and haven’t been chosen by any family at any of the stops along the way. Hannah Cartwright, the new school teacher, fears for the safety of the children entrusted to the care of a single man, since she had been adopted by the same evil man as Grace Calhoun (Calico Canyon). Grant does his best to convince the meddling schoolmarm of his good intentions, but circumstances continually paint him in a poor light. Shirt Lady also complicates Grant’s life and adds to the mystery. Gingham Mountain ties up a few loose ends from the previous book while introducing an interesting cast of new characters.

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

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Calico Canyon is the second book in the Lassoed in Texas trilogy and focuses on the new school teacher, Grace Calhoun, who was introduced in Petticoat Ranch as a severely prim and proper young woman. We learn in Calico Canyon about the man who has tormented Grace since adopting her as a child and who has now tracked her down to kill her. What will she have to do in order to escape his clutches?

Daniel Reeves, a widower with five rambunctious boys, accidentally brings home a new “ma” for his boys, and complete mayhem ensues when the local pastor comes calling. The dynamics between Daniel and his boys and their new ma make for a fascinating–and funny–story with a heartfelt ending.