Book Review – The Dark Heart by Julie Cave

The Dark HeartJulie Cave may be one of my favorite authors. Her ability to weave a tale of faith intermingled with mystery and suspense is almost beyond comparison. She is a talented author, there is no doubt.

I first discovered her books several years ago, when I reviewed a couple of novels from her Dinah Harris series: The Shadowed Mind and Deadly Disclosures. The Dark Heart is the fourth novel featuring Dinah Harris, and it may very well be the best yet.

Author Julie Cave writes a captivating fictional story, but she deals with the harsh realities of modern culture in doing so. Her character, Dinah Harris, is a recovering alcoholic who must deal with the tragic loss of her family. The depression and despair that come through seem almost real at times. The circumstances that define Harris’ life are detailed in the first novel, but are touched on briefly in this one as well. However, I don’t think you need to read them in sequential order.

In The Dark Heart, dark realities are present as well. Drug abuse and racism, and even the issue of bullying come to light in this novel, and Cave deals with them in a way that pulls no punches. Each of these are horrific in their own ways, and many people struggle with these issues. As Dinah Harris digs into this murder, seeking to solve the crime before another can be committed, Cave deals with each of these issues in a way that exemplifies her own faith in God.

Coffee Break – 05.22.2017

Your Monday Dose Of Inspiration

On this day in history: Today marks the anniversary of a lot of human ingenuity. In 1570, Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas in Belgium. In 1841, Henry Kennedy received a patent for the first reclining chair. In 1849, Abraham Lincoln received a patent for the floating dry dock. In 1891, the first public motion picture was given in Thomas Edison’s lab. In 1892, Dr. Washington Sheffield invented the toothpaste tube. And in 1906, the Wright brothers received a patent their flying machine.

Coffee Break

How To Make Coffee Cookies In The Shape Of Coffee Beans – Because you have always wondered this, right? Give it a try. And then drop some off at my office…

Why Do We Put Candles On Birthday Cakes? – This is not just a random tradition it seems. The article is interesting, but the bonus facts at the end are especially intriguing.

The Curta Calculator – I have long been a fan of history, and for various reasons, the period of the 20th century surrounding WWII is my favorite. This article shows the ingenuity of man, even in the face of the most dire of circumstances.

You Can’t See This – Our minds play tricks on us. Very often there are things we can see or can’t see that are different from what is really there. This video explains. Despite the evolutionary assumptions it makes, it’s pretty interesting.

Memorize Scripture: 1 Peter 3:21-22

Hiding God’s Word In Our Hearts

In this final passage of 1 Peter 3, Peter makes a very clear statement about baptism and draws a close connection to salvation. You can see this passage for yourself in 1 Peter 3:21-22.

1 Peter 3:21-22

Peter’s statement here is startlingly clear: “Baptism now saves you.” Peter connects baptism as an essential piece of the salvation process.

He has just spent the previous verses giving a comparison of Noah’s flood; here he connects the two and draws his conclusions. Peter uses a literary device known as a type and antitype. The type is the event that foreshadows the antitype, the reality. In this case, Noah’s flood foreshadows salvation through water, which for people in the New Testament age, is baptism. Peter shows how Noah’s Flood points forward to the reality of baptism.

Just how does Noah and the Flood point to the reality of baptism? This can be a difficult thing to understand, and many reject it out of hand. But what Peter states here is that Noah and his family were brought safely through the waters of the flood, and were saved. And while this, in itself, is very interesting, it is only the comparison. The question of how baptism saves has yet to be answered.

Peter knows this and gives his answer in the next sentence. Ultimately, it’s through the divine power of the resurrection of Jesus that this can effect our salvation. But in a more immediate fashion, Peter gives another comparison, a contrast. Baptism doesn’t save because it removes dirt from the body, but because it is an appeal to God for a good conscience.

A Foundation For Praise

God’s Mercy Displayed In Psalm 103

Psalm 103 is one of joyous praise, perhaps one of the clearest examples of the pure praise in the Bible. If you take a good look at these twenty-two verses, you can see that this psalm is addressed to the Lord; that David not only invited his own soul but the soul of every individual, to join with Him in worship and praise to God. Not one single petition is found here.

A Foundation For Praise

This psalm is a vivid expression of worship. Many tend to look at prayer as only an avenue to seek God’s blessings. This is certainly one phase of prayer (Matthew 7:7-8), but not the main part of it. Prayer offers a greater opportunity to pour out our heart’s affection to God, and to worship him with our whole heart.

Psalm 103 gives light, it gives life, and it brings hope to us. There is much that you can glean from these verses. But, almost as the very first thing, David reveals some attributes of God’s character that are worthy of praise all on their own. There are at least four things that stand out in the first five verses alone:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
   And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
   And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
   Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
   Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
   So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Let Go Of The Grudges

How To Have The Heart Of A Champion

Sometimes I wonder if the easiest thing that we can do is hold a grudge. In our culture of the easily offended, this seems to be the strongest trait of a lot of people.

Let Go Of The Grudges

Holding a grudge is not something we should be proud of, nor is it something we should do at all. It’s a killer to our character, and if you want to have the heart of a champion, you have to let go of the grudges.

The apostle Paul had the heart of a champion. And in his letter of 2 Corinthians, he describes what this looks like. As we have looked at what the heart of a champion looks like, we have identified three things so far: Be clear about your calling, understand the ups and downs of life, and depend on the prayers of others. Letting go of your grudges is the fourth thing we can see in Paul’s letter, and it may be the hardest one yet.

Take a look at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (NASB):

But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Paul reveals here that the actions of one individual have caused a lot of pain, grief, and difficult circumstances for Paul and his ministry to the Corinthian church. And yet Paul speaks in almost hypothetical language here, and refuses to put a name to the individual. What this indicates is that Paul has forgiven the person, and publicly shaming him would be of no gain whatsoever.

Coffee Break – 05.15.2017

Your Monday Dose Of Inspiration

On this day in history: In 1602, Cape Cod was discovered by Bartholomew Gosnold. In 1800, President John Adams orders the federal government to pack up and leave Philadelphia and set up shop in the nation’s new capital in Washington, D.C. And in 1942, gasoline rationing began in the U.S. The limit was 3 gallons a week for nonessential vehicles.

Coffee Break

Chemex Coffee Brewing – This is my favorite brewing method by far, and it is a lot easier than most people realize. This tutorial explains just how easy it is, and you can order one here.

7 Tips To Look Amazing Without Overdressing – There is no reason why you can’t be the best dressed person in the room, no matter where you are. But doing so does not mean that you have to be overdressed. Here are seven excellent tips to help you out.

Just How Big Is The Universe? – This comes from the Huffington Post, so take that for what it’s worth, but the universe may be a whole lot bigger than we imagined. And God knows every last particle of it.

What Happens To Our Bodies After We Die? – As Christians, we know what happens to us after we die. But what about the body we leave behind? What happens to it? This my be slightly morbid, and maybe even gross, but it’s a valid question, and the answers are very interesting.