Your Faith Has Made You Well, by Barbara Hosbach

Thank you Barbara Hosbach for writing, exclusively for me, “Your Faith Has Made You Well.” I’m amazed at how you know me so thoroughly, and I realize that you must have spent hours or even days meditating on each of these scriptures in order to develop such marvelous insights and probing questions, just for me. I don’t mind if others read her latest book, just so they know it’s mine.

Humans require constant healing—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We submit to all sorts of indignities and expenses to obtain wellness. Barbara Hosbach has culled stories of healing from the gospels as illustrations how we may approach Jesus, the Healer. We can expect the unexpected. Jesus will touch us, test us, and turn us from our habitual paths. Like the multitudes who followed Him, we know that Jesus can and will give us what we really need, even if we fail to recognize that need.

Every person that Jesus healed eventually died, so the physical healing wasn’t the most important outcome of their meeting. Barbara Hosbach underscores Jesus’ practice of granting forgiveness of sins before healing a petitioner. She reminds us that in Revelations (12:10), Satan, the “Accuser” will condemn us before the throne of God, while the merciful Jesus will advocate for us. How easy is it for us despair as Satan reveals each of our dark secrets? We may someday stand like spiritual lepers before the Father. Barbara Hosbach reminds us of Jesus’ words to the ten lepers, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” Certainly, this is a veiled recommendation that we seek spiritual cleansing in the confessional.

Do you cry out for help, but can’t let go of your self-destructive habits? Are you afraid to trust Jesus who gave up everything to save you? Are you overwhelmed by your sense of unworthiness? Are you bound by rigid rules and regulations that prevent you from loving God, your brothers and sisters? Do you see the sins of others rather than their love and goodness? Do you rely on your talents and intelligence to solve your unsolvable problems, rather than pray unceasingly for God’s guidance and intervention?

Strengthen your faith so that Jesus can make you well. These daily scripture readings, meditations and questions to ponder offered by Barbara Hosbach will advance the healing process by bringing you closer to the Healer and disposing you to receive His healing touch.

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In the Midst of Wolves, by Karen Kelly Boyce

William Shakespeare fans will see “In the Midst of Wolves” a modern extension of his tragedies. After Karen Kelly Boyce leaves you raw with the cruel machinations of Queen Regina, she soothes her readers with her spiritual insights and wisdom. This FIVE STAR novel will grip both adults and young adult readers. It’s made for discussion groups.

If Lady Macbeth would trade her breast “milk for gall,” so would Regina, “Queen” Kagan— the most tragic figure, in Boyce’s latest novel. Young Regina abandoned her humble beginnings for a status, wealth, and power. She used, discarded, and stood on anyone who could advance her fortunes—her family, her friends, and her true love. She exploited her husband, in-laws, children, and grandchildren as pawns in her quest to gobble-up her longtime business rivals.

Besides Regina’s similarity to Lady Macbeth, shades of other Shakespearean tragic figures populate “In the Midst of Wolves.” Romeo and Juliette, Hamlet and Ophelia, Othello, Iago, Desdemona, Brutus, and King Lear appear in the generations of Kagan family and household members. Regina, the classic “nasty,” dominates and deforms the psyche of her children and grandchildren. She, and sometimes they, with their lies, blackmail, bribery, and intimidation spread misery wherever they go.

Romeo and Juliette, Hamlet and Ophelia, who were likely teens during their tragic years, resemble the younger characters in Boyce’s novel. Parental or grand-parental rejection, bullying and social pressure led the unloved children to seek solace in vengeance and sex. Out-maneuvered, they found that revenge furthered Regina’s plans and that sex wasn’t the love they craved, especially when it led to an unexpected pregnancy and added rejection. They endured the sting of condemnation from the self-righteous who lifted not a finger to help, while committing far more grievous sins.

“In the Midst of Wolves” speaks to the adults of today, reminding them of their power to influence the lives of their children and grandchildren. Adult readers witness Regina and her ilk use their wealth and position to bribe, influence, and manipulate the world around them. Regina reaped gains while she “destroyed” her enemies, among them, members of her household. “In the Midst of Wolves,” explored the evils of too much wealth in the hands of those shockingly devoid of compassion. Adults must set a life-affirming example, especially as the Regina Kagans of the world grow in dominance. The young adult readers will resonate with this tragic tale of the younger Kagans, especially since they experience the same struggles and are prone to the same mistakes.

Since “In the Midst of Wolves” is a YA novel with adult appeal, I could see its wide use in adult and youth discussion groups. Karen Kelly Boyce set the tone for each chapter with a scripture selection, instead of a chapter title. As narrator, she shared meditations rich in wisdom and spiritual life to launch each chapter. This timely, yet classic novel will stand out among recent YA offerings. Boyce dares to buck the trend. She offers her unique and hopeful perspective to modern teens.