Monday, November 3

Dried Out - Jewels of Encouragement

I've been feeling spiritually empty and disconnected lately. Join me at Jewels of Encouragement today to read about how an obscure and confusing Bible story is helping bring my relationship with God back to life.

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." 
Psalm 18:24 (The Message)

Saturday, October 4

Got Faith?

As much as this subject nagged at my spirit and my conscious this month, I'm thinking someone needs to hear this message. Or am I the only one? I did my best to express what God laid on my heart to share. I pray it blesses you.

You gotta have faith...

Thursday, September 4

Jewels of Encouragement: A Treasure of a Psalm

I have treasured Your Word in my heart, that might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11

It's not unusual for the yammering voices in my head to be quieted by one of those treasures in my heart - Bible verses that could no more forget than I could forget my own name.

I'm know I'm in good company when I claim the 23rd Psalm as one of my treasures. It has been my security blanket on sleepless nights, my comfort and counsel in the midst of chaos, my assurance that the Almighty is ever present. Many times, my whirling thoughts have been interrupted by a gentle whisper, "The Lord is my Shepherd." And that's enough to calm me and remind me Who is in control.

Way back in 2001, when I was in a one of my rare journaling phases, I wrote out my own prayer as I meditated on Psalm 23. I'm sharing those words with you today on Jewels of Encouragement,

(The story of how I found it buried in 13 years worth of scattered clutter is a blog in itself).

Be blessed in His presence today -

Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 

Saturday, August 30

Book Review: "Ismeni" by Tosca Lee

Ismeni: An eShort Prelude to The Legend of ShebaIsmeni: An eShort Prelude to The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I awaited the official release of Tosca Lee's newest masterwork, "The Legend of Sheba", I was thrilled when she snuck in a surprise - a 52-page morsel of prose to appease my cravings and whet my appetite for what was to come.

Ismeni sets the scene for Sheba, but could also stand alone as a short story. Fans of historical fiction and Biblical fiction alike will appreciate this glimpse at the life of woman literally born under the wrong stars However, much like Esther, circumstances worked to place her in a position of influence to the kingdom.

Tosca Lee managed to tell a fascinating story chock full of details and description in a brevity of words, and that takes talent. Because of the lightening speed of the storyline and the proliferation of ancient (i.e. hard to pronounce) names I got confused as to who was where and who was who a few times.

Ismeni's romantic bend caught me by surprise, but then I guess you can never really know what to expect from Tosca Lee's imagination and pen. As Ismeni herself said, "I should have known by then that nothing ever happened as I anticipated."

Legend of Sheba releases September 9, 2014. You can pre-order your copy today, but if you'd like a small appetizer while you wait, download Ismeni today. You won't be sorry.

View all my reviews

Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Friday, May 23

Book Review: The Miting

The Miting: An Old Order Amish Novel
by Dee Yoder

Even though Amish fiction isn’t my “thing”, I was looking forward to reading Dee Yoder’s debut novel “The Miting”. Being familiar with Dee’s ministry to former Amish, I knew I was in for an education. But I didn’t expect to be utterly blown away. Not only was the story compelling and the characters life-like, Dee Yoder’s novel is an eye-opening look inside Amish life and faith.

For example, I didn’t know that there are different Amish groups who are as diverse in custom, tradition, and religious doctrine as Baptists are from Catholics. The novel’s main character, Leah, grew up Old Order Amish – one of the strictest of the strict.

What I love about Leah is that she doesn’t resent her home, her chores, or the expectations laid upon her. She doesn’t even resent the rules we would consider unreasonably strict. She loves the church and her family, enjoys her life and her work, and overall is satisfied. All she wants to know is why the rules aren’t consistent among the Amish, and why she can’t read what God says for herself. And the yearning to know burns in her heart, refusing to be quenched.

But reading the Bible in English is forbidden.

For the first time in her life, Leah rebels against her Amish faith and her parents. She digs out a dusty Gideon Bible she was given as a child and searches out the answers that no one is willing (or able) to give. Torn between the Truth and Life she finally finds in Scripture, and her heartbreak at her parent’s anger and unwillingness to understand who Jesus really is, Leah faces a decision she never imagined she would have to make.

Dee Yoder has created characters so real, they almost became a part of my life. The Miting is a fabulous novel, and I’ll probably read it again. And again.

My Rating: 4½ stars.

Available in e-book or paperback at AmazonChristian Book, and other fine retailers near you. 

Click here to meet Dee Yoder  Learn  about her mission to the former Amish and why she wrote this book

Peace be with you,

Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Sunday, May 4

God knows...

Four weeks ago, I knew exactly what I was going to write about for Jewels of Encouragement this month. Three weeks ago I told a few people exactly what I was going to write about. Two weeks ago, I started writing. One week ago I had struggled through about 250 words.

Today it hit me.... I SO wanted to share a certain message, and I was SO sure God wanted me to share it , I think I forgot to ask him. (Ironically, forgetting to ask God is part of what I was TRYING to communicate.)

But THIS is the message I wrote in 5 minutes, and edited in 10.

So THIS is the devotion I posted. I set aside MY idea, and went with God 's instead..That decision has never failed me yet.

Love and blessings,

Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (The Message)

Friday, April 18

Oh, the Suffering

From my archives... originally posted in March of 2009.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8

Much focus is put on Christ's resurrection (and rightfully so!), but I tend to dwell more on His sacrifice. Romans 5:8 is one of my favorite verses. The words that strike me to the core are "while we were still sinners". Not after we turned our lives around and decided to be good; not after we have made great strides on the road to holiness; but while we were rotten to the core.


I didn't realize the extent of Jesus' sacrifice until I read "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Mr. Strobel spells out, quite graphically I might add, the horror, the pain, and the suffering the man-Jesus endured. He didn't have to endure it. He could have called a legion of angels to protect Him. He could have called on His divine nature to avoid it. But to save us, He DID endure it, with all of the emotional and physical agony any man feels. I haven't looked at the Cross the same since.

Take a moment to reflect on what Christ's gift to us cost Him, and don't forget to thank our Father for His Love, His Grace, and His Mercy.

In His most Holy and precious name,

Friday, April 4

Jewels of Encouragement - A Thorny Confession

Who remembers this song from the classic TV show "HeeHaw"? Come on, sing with me!!

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

On a similar note (see what I did there?), I'm posting about a prickly subject today at Jewels of Encouragement.   Please come visit -- we have a first aid kit with a big cross on it. :)

Peace and love,

Tuesday, March 4

Book Review: Angels of Humility
Angels of Humility
A Novel
by Jackie Macgirvin

Oh. My. Wow.

If you’ve ever doubted the power of praying… read this book!

If you’ve ever thought that your imperfect prayers didn’t matter, read this book!

If you are a prayer warrior, praise the Lord! And read this book!

And if don’t believe in prayer, or even know who to pray to, I hope you will consider reading this book.

When I see a Kindle Freebie with 18 reviews and 17 of them give five stars, I can’t help but be skeptical. Especially when the majority have a common thread. In the case of Angels of Humility, that thread was “I’ve never read anything like it… A life changing book… My prayer life will never be the same.” I don’t let skepticism stop me, however. I like fiction about spiritual warfare, and there were enough positive words NOT in common to sway me to pick it.

About four chapters in, I had decided this was a 4-star book. It’s extremely well written, and it’s readable. The story and the characters drew me in – I wanted to keep reading. But I felt the plot wasn’t entirely original, and I considered it to be heavily influenced by Frank Peretti’s “Darkness” duo. (Not a bad thing!)

It wasn’t long, though, before Angels of Humility set itself apart as something different, and my rating climbed to 5 stars. By the end of the book, I knew why all of the Amazon reviews were high. I was gasping in awe and wonder.

Many of us have no idea what an overwhelming gift of responsibility and power we carry – untapped. And, though it sounds cliché, I can honestly say … “I’ve never read anything like it… A life changing book… My prayer life will never be the same.”

(This review is completely unsolicited, unless you count the promptings of the Holy Spirit.)

Blessings and prayers!

Tuesday, February 4

Jewels of Encouragement: Indisposable

Has it really been since before Christmas that I've posted here? Wow, I need to get my rear in gear.

I haven't been writing much lately, but I do have a new devotion to share with you today at Jewels of Encouragment. The original title was Disposable, but when it came time to type it in the Blogger "title" block, I thought about what I wanted you to "take away", and  typed Indisposable instead.  Click through and tell me if I made the right choice, even though  spellchecker says it's not a word. :)

Love and Blessings,