Review of The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate


Genre: Contemporary Fiction


The Story KeeperNew York editor, Jen Gibbs, is a new hire at the prominent, Vida House Publishing, when a captivating manuscript appears on her desk–seemingly from the slush pile that is strictly off-limits. She is quickly drawn into the story, which takes place in the Appalachian Mountains–very near to the childhood home and family that she has intentionally moved away from. As she risks her career to chase the story, she is forced to also confront and reconcile with her own.

Initially I wasn’t sure about The Story Keeper. The first few chapters were a bit slow, and I was not instantly engaged in the story-within-the-story, which appeared as full chapters of the manuscript. Around a third of the way through, though, I was hooked. The detail of the Appalachian terrain and people (especially the Melungeons) became fascinating to me; and the parallel stories touched my heart and drew me in.

There are so many likable elements: mystery, personal connections between relatable characters, the weaving of the past into the present and back to the past, and the indirect examination of what makes a great story. As the narrative concluded, I didn’t want it to end.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.


The Woman with the Blood: Who Can Touch God?


It has been a couple weeks since I have shared from my seminary studies, because it has been so busy! But I want to share a brief insight that I think is so profound:

It came up as my classmates and I were discussing the hemorrhaging woman in Luke 8:43-48–whether there would have been an issue of defilement due to her uncleanliness. My professor shared there is halakhah that the Torah is so holy that it is beyond defilement. Thus, if something unclean touches it, the Word of God cannot become unclean, but retains its purity.

Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, so this also applies to Him. When He touches the unclean, they become clean: healed, delivered, forgiven, whole. When the unclean touch Him, they likewise cannot defile Him. The atmosphere changes for Him, not the other way around.

There is so much more to say about this story; but I’ll end here: No matter how “far gone” we are, how embarrassing our issues, how hurt, how sinful, how broken, we can come to Jesus with the faith that–because He is the unchanging, undefilable, Word of God–we can approach Him to receive healing.


Review of Biblical Healing and Deliverance by Chester and Betsy Kylstra


Genre: Healing/Deliverance

Highly Recommended.

BHDThis is one of the most helpful and practical guides to spiritual deliverance that I have come across. It addresses forgiveness, generational sins and curses, replacing ungodly beliefs, ministering healing to the soul and spirit, dealing with demonic oppression, and advice for staying free.

I particularly love how structured and to-the-point the material is. There are several well placed stories, but it is less dramatic regarding strange demonic manifestations than are some deliverance books.

The sections on forgiveness and replacing ungodly beliefs were especially strong, and I both learned a few new things, and was challenged to go deeper in my relationship with the Lord in a couple areas. While deliverance ministry in itself is about opening up past memories, hurts, and events in order to heal them properly along with the discernment of the Spirit, I felt the authors did an excellent job focusing on the need to be focused on the Lord, and replacing those old wounds with the fullness of the things of God and of the Spirit.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Chosen Books.


It’s Cake Day!


Happy Birthday to me. As of a few days ago I’ve officially graduated from my 20s! New things are in the air, and I’ve been cognizant of the transition for a few weeks now. We have been celebrating my 30th birthday all week, and today culminates the festivities with a cake and singing.

In seminary this past week, we examined the inter-testamental period: 400 years of “silence” between the active ministries of the Hebrew prophets and Jesus’ coming to the earth in bodily human form. This was also the time that the Septuagint (LXX) was written (a Greek translation of Scripture). Interestingly, the LXX uses over twenty verbs to describe the activity of the Holy Spirit, even though the Spirit was “silent” during that period. Fascinating, right?!

The inter-testament Jewish atmosphere (from what we’re reading in class) was largely cessationalist (not believing in the supernatural nature of the Spirit for their day); and many believed the Spirit had left them entirely, with exception of many rabbis who held onto the hope that the Spirit would come again in the Messianic eschatological age. Liturgy, the Scriptures, and the rabbis pulled together the Jewish people as the major focuses. And interestingly, the Jews begun to evangelize throughout all the world (due to the Diaspora) with great fervor, collecting many converts. Recall in Acts 2 when the Jews and Jewish proselytes come from “every nation” (Acts 2:5). That occurred because of this period.

The Holy Spirit, while “silent” was not stagnant: He was working behind the scenes to prepare the hearts for the exciting reconciliation of heaven and earth in a big way. When Jesus entered the scene, the Kingdom of heaven was now at hand. The focus on Scripture was necessary to build the foundation for this experience; the Spirit and the Word now and always work together for God’s purposes.

Considering this, I have been very encouraged to recognize the Spirit’s nature in application to my own life. I have prayed for healing over my chronic conditions for five years now, and have largely felt silence despite the Spirit working through me in other outlets of my life. “Silent” seasons are not always comfortable. The Holy Spirit, however, is always moving. I just learned that the words for Spirit (ruach in Hebrew, and pneuma in Greek) do not just mean wind, breath, or spirit, rather: wind, breath, or spirit in motion. The Spirit is on a mission. He is acting even in the seasons when we cannot hear or sense Him in the most tangible way.

In the last month of transition, I had a moment where friends prayed over me and I felt as if I were in the middle of a hurricane. It was nothing I have felt before. The winds were going around me so fast and tangibly, yet no one else could feel them.

In the following weeks I have begun to thank the Lord with new passion, despite not sensing any external change. Then, a couple weeks ago, I experienced another surreal experience: As my husband and I were praying, one area of my stomach began to feel very hot while the rest of my body was cold from the wind coming through the open windows. We knew the heat was coming from a work of the Spirit inside of me (I’ve had problems with a few different organs), and the sensation and supernatural peace stayed for a couple hours until we finally fell asleep.

Physically, I face the same health challenges as before. But something is moving and changing as the Spirit brings a new season.

With so much to be thankful for and celebrate, it is now time for cake!