Hidden Dirt

Do you enjoy a clean house? I do. I have always kept a clean house. In fact, before a back injury in 2001, I operated my own cleaning service. Anyone who knows me or has been in our home can tell you that I keep a clean house. I just can’t abide a dirty home. I clean very well every single week and pick up in between.

But sometimes dirt an be hidden and you miss it. That happened to me recently. I sweep my kitchen just about every day. We have LVP flooring and the manufacturer recommends daily sweeping because little grains of dirt can scratch the floor when walked on. Since we had a kitchen renovation in February 2020, I try very hard to keep my floor swept often.

So, that day, when I cleaned my kitchen, I saved the floor for last as usual. I moved all the chairs and started sweeping. I was started at the amount of dirt I swept up! I just stood there, nearly in shock that I had allowed so much dirt on my floor! I had even noticed the dirt!

As I continued to look in disbelief at the mess on my floor, it struck me that this is how we sometimes allow hidden dirt into our spirits in our walk with Christ. It can creep in unawares and dirty up our relationship with the Lord just like that hidden dirt on my kitchen floor.

What are some ways that dirt (sin) can creep into our lives unawares? It’s happened to me and I’m pretty sure it’s happened to all believers at some point or another.

  • What about that person who cuts you off in traffic, eliciting a harsh word and anger at him or her? Then you let it ruin your day.
  • What about that book, TV show or movie you watched that had bad language and/or explicit scenes or nudity? This is a huge biggie with me. I am of the opinion that if God tells me in His Word not to use coarse language, I’m pretty sure He doesn’t want me to use it or derive entertainment from it. I refuge to watch OR read filthy language, vulgarity and explicit scenes. Ephesians 4:29 says: ‘Don’t use foul or abuse language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.’ And Psalm 101:3a tells us, ‘I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.’ Those verses show us God’s heart concerning these issues.
  • What about that gossip you listened to: Even if you refrained from actual gossip, if you listened, you share the guilt. James 1:26 says, ‘If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself and your religion is worthless.’ And also James 4:11 tells us, ‘Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.’ And here’s a biggie from Proverbs 10:19: ‘Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.’ One more from Proverbs 11: 13 says, ‘A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.’ There are a great many more verses involving the tongue. I think our mouths get us in more trouble than anything.’
  • What about that dirty joke you listened to a co-worker deliver:? Everyone laughed and you didn’t want to be the odd man out by refusing to join in, so you just stood there and listened. So by not speaking out against it, you effectively gave it your approval. More dirt.
  • How about the co-worker who has a dirty mouth and uses near constant foul language? If you refuse to say anything and just sit there and listen to it, you just got more dirt on your floor.

All of these situations can bring dirt into our walk with Christ. Sometimes they come in very slowly and begin to grow into something incredibly difficult to sweep away. Sometimes we boldly allow the dirt to creep in and willingly take part in these sins. Make no mistake: the enemy of our souls will use any means necessary to fool us and sneak in and bring his dirt with him.

Look at it this way: A mouse can squeeze through a hole in your house just one quarter of an inch big. They are breeding machines and can reproduce up to ten times a year, giving birth to up to fourteen babies in each litter. An infestation can happen in just weeks. So it is with our hidden dirt. If you don’t sweep often, you will have a huge mess that will damage your floor totally. So sweep up the mess!

Here are more verses on this subject. All scripture is taken from the NLT version of the Bible.

Psalm 51:7 “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a loyal spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:2a ‘Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.’

2 Corinthians 7:1 ‘ Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit.’

1 John 1:9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Proverbs 18:21 ‘The tongue can bring life or death; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

1 Peter 3:10 ‘For the Scriptures say, if you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.’

Proverbs 4:23 ‘Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.’

Book Review: ‘Tidewater Bride’ by Laura Frantz

About The Book:

Selah Hopewell seems to be the only woman in the Virginia colony who has no wish to wed. True, there are too many men and far too few women in James Towne. But Selah already has her hands full assisting her father in the family’s shop. And now she is in charge of an incoming ship of tobacco brides who must be looked after as they sort through their many suitors.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement. His lands are vast, his crops are prized, and his position as a mediator between the colonists and the powerful Powhatan nation surrounding them makes him indispensable. But Xander is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?

Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz takes you to the salty shores of seventeenth-century Virginia in this exploration of pride, honor, and the restorative power of true love.

About Laura Frantz
Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at http://www.laurafrantz.net

*Subscribe to Laura’s seasonal newsletter and receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and reader events, sneak peaks and teasers, signings and appearances, and more! To subscribe, copy and paste this into your browser’s address window:
Read less
My Rating: 5 Stars!

I have been a fan of Laura Frantz since her very first book, The Frontiersman’s Daughter. I suspect that I will forever be a fan of her work. She has chosen her genre well because she writes a historical novel like no other. I get so caught up in her books that I lose all sense of time and find myself nearly an actual part of her stories.

‘Lord, wilt Thou not help?’

Frantz knows her history. Her research is incredibly impeccable; so much so, that I find myself anxious to do research into the time period myself, just to learn more! Her turns of phrase always leaves me wanting to know more and more. Her depictions of characters, even scenery are so moving, I picture walking along the same paths her characters walk. Reading a Laura Frantz book is not just a few hours’ worth of entertainment, but an unforgettable experience as she takes her readers on a journey through the wonderful and indeed, dangerous times in our nation’s history. Her books are to be read leisurely so they can be absorbed and cherished. For that is what they are to me. Cherished treasures for my keeper shelf. Highly recommended.

I received this book from Revell Publishers via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the opinion in this review is expressly my own.

Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical
Amazon Link: Tidewater Bride – Kindle edition by Frantz, Laura. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Book Review: ‘Night Bird Calling’ by Cathy Gohlke

About The Book

From award-winning author Cathy Gohlke, whose novels have been called “haunting” (Library Journal on Saving Amelie) and “page-turning” (Francine Rivers on Secrets She Kept), comes a historical fiction story of courage and transformation set in rural Appalachia on the eve of WWII.
When Lilliana Swope’s beloved mother dies, Lilliana gathers her last ounce of courage and flees her abusive husband for the home of her only living relative in the foothills of No Creek, North Carolina. Though Hyacinth Belvidere hasn’t seen Lilliana since she was five, she offers her cherished great-niece a safe harbor. Their joyful reunion inspires plans to revive Aunt Hyacinth’s estate and open a public library where everyone is welcome, no matter the color of their skin.

Slowly Lilliana finds revival and friendship in No Creek–with precocious eleven-year-old Celia Percy, with kindhearted Reverend Jesse Willard, and with Ruby Lynne Wishon, a young woman whose secrets could destroy both them and the town. When the plans for the library also incite the wrath of the Klan, the dangers of Lilliana’s past and present threaten to topple her before she’s learned to stand.

With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t.

About Cathy Gohlke
Cathy Gohlke is the four-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Night Bird Calling, The Medallion (winner of the 2020 Christy Award), Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Christy, Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008 and winner of the 2008 Christy and American Christian Fiction Writers Award) and William Henry is a Fine Name (winner of the 2007 Christy Award).
Cathy writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith.
When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at http://www.cathygohlke.com and on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks
My Rating: 5 Stars!

I have long enjoyed Cathy Gohlke’s books and this one was no exception. She has written a compelling and powerful story here. Set in 1941, she deals with domestic abuse and racism in a small southern town with centuries old, long held beliefs about how things should be. Told from three different viewpoints, Gohlke brings each character to life in this story ina moving narrative. I would like to be able to say that I especially liked a few characters but they were all done so well, that I will most likely keep these folks in my mind for quite sometime. Well done!

My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the opinion here is entirely my own. 

Publisher: Tyndale House
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Length: 402 pages

Book Review: ‘Faith’s Mountain Home’ (Hearts of Montana, #3) by Misty Beller

About The Book

Nate Long has always watched over his identical twin brother, Aaron, even when it put him on the wrong side of the law. When Aaron is wounded in a shootout, the brothers are taken to Settler’s Fort to recover. As Nate works to make reparations for their past, he marvels at the nursing Aaron receives under the care of a woman with all the reason in the world to resent him.

Laura Hannon knows what it is to start over, and she knows Nate’s newfound faith is real. What she can’t look past is how far he allowed himself to be led astray by his brother’s weaknesses.

As a fledgling trust grows between Nate and Laura, they stumble upon a mysterious cave in the mountains that may not be as uninhabited as it seems. While working together to unravel the secrets surrounding the cave, will the new lives they seek for themselves include love, or does too much stand between them?

About Misty M. Beller
Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. For a limited time, you can get one of her bestselling novels FREE here: https://mistymbeller.com/freebook

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Writing is a dream come true for Misty. Her family–both immediate and extended–is the foundation that holds her secure in that dream.

Learn more at http://www.MistyMBeller.com.

My Rating: 4 Stars!

‘God had forgiven him but truly putting the past behind him was a whole other matter.’

Misty Beller just keeps getting better and better. I love history and she writes this time period very well indeed. She gives us unforgettable characters with a good plot, and a little mystery thrown in for good measure. It was good to see old friends from the previous two books in the series. This novel can be read as a stand alone, however, so don’t hesitate to get it! Highly recommended.

My thanks to Bethany House Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I was not compensated and the opinion in this review is my own.

Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: Inspirational Historical
Length : 308 pages
Amazon Link: Faith’s Mountain Home (Hearts of Montana Book #3) – Kindle edition by Beller, Misty M.. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Book Review: ‘Court of Swans’ by Melanie Dickerson

Where there is wealth and power, there’s always someone willing to do anything to take it.
England, 1381: Delia’s idyllic life as daughter of an earl is shattered when her father dies and his wife accuses Delia’s seven brothers of treason and murder. The youngest is only ten years old, but this doesn’t stop the guards from hauling them off to the Tower of London. There they await a grim fate, as child-king Richard II is executing anyone who poses a threat to his throne. Delia is their only hope for pardon and freedom.
Sir Geoffrey did not expect his first assignment as captain of the guard to be the arrest of boys so young. He dutifully imprisons the brothers, but he can’t ignore the sense, rooted in personal experience, that injustice and treachery are at work.
Determined to rescue her brothers, Delia secures a position as a seamstress for the queen. Her quest is all but impossible as the executions continue. Sir Geoffrey offers to be her ally, but should she trust him in a court where everyone has an agenda?
From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a tender retelling of “The Wild Swans,” where the virtues of loyalty and love face a harrowing showdown with power and fear.
“Set in the harsh society of fourteenth century England, Court of Swans tells a powerful story of forgiveness, love, and choosing joy amid trials. Dickerson continues to impress with her masterful balance of plot and message, capturing attention with a strong heroine and tugging at heartstrings with themes of trusting God when life seems to fall apart. A book perfect for teen and adult readers alike.” —Caroline George, author of Dearest Josephine
First in a brand-new series set in England: The Dericott Tales
Full-length clean fairy-tale reimagining
Includes Discussion Questions for Book Clubs
About Melanie Dickerson
Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for all things Medieval with her love of romance and fairy tales. She also loves Regency Romance and has drawn on her Southern heritage to write a romance set in the late 1800s called Magnolia Summer.
Her books have won the Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in America, Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama. Sign up for her newsletter at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Melanie Dickerson never fails to entertain with her retelling of classic fairy tales with her unique inspirational bent. I have thoroughly enjoyed each one. Don’t miss this one.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the opinion in this review is my own

Book Review: ‘Night Hawk’ (Nighthawk Security # 3) by Susan Sleeman

She’s determined to find her father’s killer…

FBI Agent, Toni Long, lost her father a year ago when he was killed in a joint FBI and ICE investigation led by Clay Byrd, a man Toni had found herself infatuated with. Unfortunately, the killer escaped, and if Toni hadn’t been distracted by her attraction to Clay, maybe her father wouldn’t have died. When she receives an anonymous tip on the killer’s identity, she follows the lead and an attempt is made on her life. Clay, having received the same tip, comes to her rescue. Thinking he can help find her father’s killer and keep an eye on her safety too, he quickly offers Nighthawk Security’s help.

But she first has to face down her own dark past.

She fights the idea at first, but she will stop at nothing to find her father’s killer, even if it means partnering with a guy she has feelings for. But as the investigation unfolds, they unearth deep, dark family’s secrets that are more dangerous than anything Toni could imagine. Problem is, Clay is right there by her side, offering her comfort and support, and protecting her from menacing danger. She soon has to fight feelings she’s developing for him when her focus should be on the investigation and staying alive.
About Susan Sleeman
SUSAN SLEEMAN is the bestselling author of over forty romantic suspense novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clean with inspiring messages of faith. Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.
In addition to writing, Susan also hosts TheSuspenseZone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
To learn more about Susan’s books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other goodies. http://www.susansleeman.com/susans-newsletter/

Or stop by any of these locations on the web.
Website – http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanBooks
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/susansleeman
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/susansleeman/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4053429.Susan_Sleeman
BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/susan-sleeman
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Sleeman/e/B003ANF6Z8
Review Site – http://www.TheSuspenseZone.com
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Susan Sleeman has done it again! She gives us book three in her Nighthawk Security series, a group of brothers, former law enforcement, who have opened a private security firm. This book is Clay Byrd’s story. He is led to an abandoned school by a cryptic note, only to hear a woman scream when he arrives. FBI Agent Toni Long has been shut in a room and needs help. Toni was once infatuated with Clay, but an op gone bad derailed that. Her father was killed in front of her and Clay and now they both suspect this note has something to do with that. But further investigation reveals something incredibly sinister and they must dodge attempts on Toni’s life if they want to solve this case.

Sleeman always, always takes her readers on a thrilling ride, ratcheting up the suspense little by little until the race to the finish is full of excitement and intensity. I am a forever fan! We also meet old friends from her two previous series. Highly recommended.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. I received no compensation and the opinion here is entirely my own.

Publisher: Edge of Your Seat Books, Inc.
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense