Friday, September 29, 2017

When you say "Hallelujah" . . .

Please welcome my special guest, Dvora, who has graciously shared some deep, thought-provoking thoughts on a word we use often, sometimes, I daresay, without thought about what it really means. Sit back and be enlightened. Hope you find it as interesting as I did.

  Thoughts on the Word Hallelujah

 by Dvora Hemstreet, aka Dvora Elisheva 

You would think that writing about so simple a word as “Hallelujah” would be easy. But it’s not. I remember years ago hearing a respected preacher say that the root of the word meant “thousands” and so “Hallelujah” means to praise the Lord a thousand times. I objected and was told that obviously my Hebrew was lacking!

Yes, my Hebrew is lacking. However my understanding was not. I decided to see what others are saying about the word Hallelujah, and found so many different spins on this word, that my head was spinning! Since that incident, I’ve heard and read many other misrepresentations of the literal meaning of this word, and catch myself wondering—is it due to an over exaltation of the Hebrew language?
Clearly, since so many people are talking about the “real” meaning of hallelujah, it’s time to take a look at it and see what all the fuss is about.

My favorite Bible search program, Accordance Bible Software, helped me learn another interesting fact. Hallelujah appears 27 times—28 if you count the one time the word is hyphenated. Coincidentally, there are 22 standard letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with 5 special “ending” letters—27 letters in all. “Hallelujah” is appears ONLY in the book of Psalms, and then, only from Psalm 102. From here it appears in various places through to Psalm 150. Hallelujah is actually two words in Hebrew: “Hallel” (praise) and “yah” (a short form of the name of God the creator of all). This short form of “Yah” actually appears for the first time in Exodus 15:2 (The Lord is my strength and song…”).

But now it gets interesting. In the New Testament, Hallelujah appears only in Revelation 19:1,3,4,6, ending with the resounding statement of God’s total reign: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the almighty reigns.” There is nothing remarkable in the Greek word—it is a transliteration of the Hebrew word. What is remarkable is this: It is the ONLY place the word appears in the New Testament!

We all know what “praise” means, but let’s be sure we are all on the same page: to say or write good things about someone, to express approval of, to express thanks, love, or respect to God. (Note to my readers, the Webster learners dictionary is MUCH better than the standard one!)

We all think we know what “yah” is, but let’s think again. This specific shortened form of God’s name appears only 50 times in the Old Testament, and in each instance, it refers only to the holy name of God, the ‘YHVH’ (Jehovah/Yahweh). This is important because there are many names in the Old Testament that incorporate the name of God, for example, Elijah, is My God is Lord. (Eli+jah). But this is all one name, not a separate stand-alone instance of “yah.”  “Yah” is a word that would have caught the reader’s or listener’s attention. Perhaps they would have looked up in wonder considering what a mighty God they were in relationship with—the One who created the sun, the moon, the starts, and themselves.

The next time you say “Hallelujah,” slow down. Split it into two words and picture it in your mind, “hallelu” “yah” – Praise —God——the creator of the universe who revealed His unique name so long ago, the one who IS. He never was not. He was and is and is to come. The only God worthy of being praised.
I’ve learned that Hallelujah is a serious word. It should not be said lightly, for I am offering my thanks, my reverence, and respect to God, saying He alone is worthy of true praise and that there is none beside Him.

As the Psalmist said, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, Praise the Lord (Hallelujah).” (Psalm 104:35 NASB)

Prayer: Father in heaven, help me not to take your words and make something more or less of them than what they are. Thank you for this reminder that you are not just a god—you are the God of creation, the one who formed the universe with your hands, the one who fashioned me uniquely, with knowledge and wisdom no one else has. When I consider your wonders, how can I not join with the Psalmist and cry out to you Hallelujah! Truly You alone are worthy to be praised. May the wonder and glory of who You are fill my heart with a song of praise. In Jesus name. Amen.

This devotional has been modified from a longer and more detailed blog post, “The Power of Words: Hallelujah” on, Dvora’s blog.

Dvora Hemstreet (aka Dvora Elisheva), is an author, blogger, and technical communicator. She is passionate about communication, and loves to see how good communication can touch people’s lives—from the communication of God to humankind through the Bible—to our own communication of His message to others.

She has written an autobiography, testifying to God’s greatness in her life (Connecting the Dots of a Disconnected Life: Hope for a Fractured Soul), and maintains an active blog, “Hope for the Hope-Challenged). Her prayer is that her writings would encourage others and point them to a deeper walk with God through Jesus Christ. 

You can connect with Dvora via her blog ( or author website (

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Author Toni Shiloh New Book Release

♦♦Whispers in Purple is all about connecting writers with readers. So it is my pleasure to spotlight a new release from author Toni Shiloh, Toni and I both hope you'll find this introduction to Returning Home enough to check it out as a possible 'Want to Read' selection for your bookshelf. 

Thanks, Toni, for sharing this with us.

**For one of this blog's readers, Toni is offering to give away an eBook copy. See below for details.**

Returning Home Back cover Blurb –

Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.

Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.

Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from? 

Book buy links –

Author bio –

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at

And on the following Social media links –

Blogs Toni is part of:  

**The Book Giveaway:

Entering Toni's giveaway is easy. Just leave a comment below, including your email contact info(e.g. you at abcxyz dot com) —in case you're the winner—and your name will be added into a random drawing. Giveaway ends one week from today, Thursday, October 5, at Midnight, CDT. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Birth of Rescued Hearts ♦ Hope Doughtery

Peg Here, Whispers in Purple is happy to bring you guest blogger Hope Dougherty and another fun, 'story behind the story' post.

Welcome, Hope!

 How Rescued Hearts Came into Being

by Hope Dougherty 

I live in the country on land my great grandfather owned. For exercise, I ride my bike on our two-lane roads. One afternoon a couple of years ago, I took a detour off the paved road and onto a dirt path not too far from my house.

The lane meanders by the vacant location of a distant cousin’s house. Trees and a few bushes still outline the phantom house’s parameters, but no boards or bricks mark the spot. Farm equipment rests under two or three nearby shelters.

As I passed the lonely trees and silent tractors, a creepy sensation tickled the back of my neck. My imagination kicked into gear. What if a bike rider rode by an abandoned house? What if she saw a kitten entangled in a honeysuckle vine at the porch steps? What if, while she tried to free the kitten, someone grabbed her and dragged her inside where she was beaten and threatened with rape?

My pedaling picked up speed, and I reached home in record time.

Those questions continued popping up in my mind, however. I began seeing the characters, then hearing them speak every night as I dropped off to sleep. I’d never written a romantic suspense story before, but the characters refused to leave me alone.

Those initial questions led to the first chapter of Rescued Hearts.

 About the Book:
Children’s clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball’s soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Beaten, bound, and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.

Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Weighing the difference of ruining his three months’ investigation against the woman’s safety, Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.

When Mary Wade’s safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again. This time, her personal safety isn’t the only thing in jeopardy. Her heart is endangered as well.

About the Author:
Hope holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her publications include two novels, Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, as well as nonfiction articles. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Sisters in Crime (SinC), she writes for She and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons.

Where to find Hope 'out there':

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Christmas Surprise

Greetings from the Pacific Northwest!

A guest post with the 'story behind the story' by Kimberly Rose Johnson

Way back in 2012, I received news that my entry in the ACFW Genesis contest was a semi-finalist. That book went on to be my first contracted novel. I sold it to Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line. Jump forward to 2017, the imprint is closed, I received my rights back on the series and I have re-pushed that book under a new title along with all the other books in the series. Whew! It’s crazy for me to think about how hard I worked for that first contract and then how hard I fought against self-publishing, due to fear, only to self-publish my first traditionally published books. LOL I suppose my writing has come full circle.

I look back at how much I resisted self-publishing and laugh at my fear. Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes it’s not cheap, but it’s not too much to handle like I imagined.

A Christmas Surprise is the first book in my Love in the Cascades series. These stories take place in Leavenworth, WA—a quaint Bavarian village nestled in the Washington Cascades. When I decided I wanted to set the series there, I planned a research trip. My mom and I took Amtrak from Oregon to Leavenworth. My husband has extended family there and they were such a help to me. They drove us around and told us all sorts of stories. I got a real sense of the spirit of the people there through them.

When I began this journey, I had no idea what the story would be about, only that it would be a Christmas story and it would be set in Leavenworth. As I wandered the village and began to get a feel for the town, ideas began to percolate. I decided I wanted my heroine to own a candy store. Then the puppy idea came to me, and I decided my heroine should be a veterinarian.

As they say the rest is history. Here’s a quick blurb about A Christmas Surprise.

Veterinarian Pete Harding doesn’t date single moms.

After showing up to a blind date to find he left before she arrived, Keira is reminded why she doesn’t date. She had true love once but a tragic accident ripped him from her and their son, who’s now four and only wants a puppy for Christmas this year.

Although off limits since she’s a single mom, Pete determines to help Keira find the perfect puppy for her son.

Keira wonders about Pete. He says he doesn’t date women with children, yet she can’t help but notice he behaves like a man who has more on his mind than finding a puppy.

Will love break down Pete’s walls and bring more than a puppy for Christmas?

Disclaimer: A Christmas Surprise was originally published in 2013 as The Christmas Promise.

NOTE: A Christmas Surprise is available for FREE on Amazon from Friday, Sept 22 through Tuesday, Sept 26. Click on the link below to get your copy now! Hurry! 

Kimberly Rose Johnson
Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at:

Amazon buy link:

Friday, September 22, 2017

One Mouthful at a Time

One Mouthful at a Time

By Donna Schlachter

A shepherd and his sheep

, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction."
Psalm 23:1-3 The Message

If you’re anything like me, life is rushing past you at supersonic speed, seeming to scatter in all directions like a herd of squirrels. And if you’re anything like me, there is no slowing down in the near future. Despite all our technology, we seem to push and stretch to do more with the hours we have, cramming more doing in, despising those moments when we can’t do because of a line up or a break down or a need to just be.

And then God reminds us, in poetry meant for our hearts, that He is the One who provides all we need. When we look at the shepherd of King David’s day, a lush meadow for him was a rocky hillside where tufts of grass grew in a clump here, a clump there. Seed, watered by the dew and the night fog from the Mediterranean, sprang up overnight and burned off in the hot afternoon sun. If the sheep didn’t find it before then, it was gone. And so the shepherd led them across the dry ground to a mouthful of food here, a mouthful there.

And only good shepherds knew where to lead their sheep.

How blessed we are to follow the Great Shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep. Who tends the flock so that not one is lost. Who sleeps across the gate to the sheepfold so none wander away and the destroyer doesn’t get in.

Today, if you are like me, you need a quiet moment to stop, breathe, think, then act.
Take that moment now.
Stop. Breathe. Think. Repeat.
And plan to come back tomorrow.
God’s got a place reserved for you.

Heavenly Father, thank You for leading me beside still waters when the waves threaten to overwhelm me. Thank You for filling me when I feel empty. Thank You for being all that I need in every circumstance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. Her current release, Echoes of the Heart, a 9-in-1 novella collection titled "Pony Express Romance Collection" released April 1. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. Donna recently taught the popular Don't Let Your Subplots Sink Your Story, an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers, and will teach another course in May 2018 on The Middle MuddleDonna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.
Echoes of the Heart:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Solve by Christmas, by Amber Schamel

Solve by Christmas, by Amber Schamel

Peg here. I am so excited to focus the Whispers in Purple spotlight on author Amber Schamel, and her new release,  Solve by Christmas. Intriguing title, isn’t it? Amber also shares the ‘story behind the story’ with us … at my request.

About the book:
Solve by Christmas, by Amber Schamel
When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?

 “Amber Schamel's engaging prose weaves together not one, but two edge-of-your-seat threads in this historical mystery. With the hero racing against time to solve the two cases readers will be kept guessing as they attempt to crack the case.”   ~ Review by Laura V. Hilton, author of Christmas Admirer (Whitaker House)

A peek behind the scenes:
Where did this idea come from? This is one of the most popular questions that authors get asked about a new release, but I think I’ve heard it more with Solve by Christmas than any other book so far.

It was one of those ideas that just popped into my head, then took on a life of its own and evolved over several weeks. I wanted to give my readers a new story before the year was out, but I didn’t have a specific plot in mind yet. I did know I wanted to write a Christmas story. So, I had that much. Then I decided I wanted something with a firm deadline.” If this doesn’t happen by this date, everyone dies” sort of thing. Then “By Christmas” popped into my head and flicked on a light. What if Christmas was the deadline?

I’ve always loved detectives and mystery stories, and they go perfectly with deadlines. So, then I thought, what if a detective must solve the case by Christmas or death wins?

Sometimes, as an author, there are ideas and thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. Almost like God dropping a card into your mental mailbox. The next point of Solve by Christmas was that way. What if a detective was assigned a case that he had to solve by Christmas, but it wasn’t a real case –at least not the type of case he wanted—but something completely different? From there, the story began to really take shape.

The next step, of course, is to come up with a character to be the detective. I wanted the story to have a Sherlock Holmes feel, so I started by studying his character a bit. But my story also has a less serious side since it isn’t a murder mystery and takes place at a sugar factory. I wondered…what would happen if you took Sherlock Holmes and meshed him with Barney Fife?

Now THAT would be hard to pull off. But I was determined to try. So, I made a list of Sherlock Holmes traits, and one of Barney Fife’s traits. I began to see that they actually have several similarities. They’re both a bit socially awkward. They both have a very similar flavor of pride. And they both have this air of authority…although Sherlock can back his up while Barney struggles in that area. Then I began to pick and choose between the traits that were left, this Barney trait, this Sherlock trait, and pretty soon I had Detective Jasper Hollock forming on the page. Whether you will get a Barney Fife and Sherlock feel when you read Solve by Christmas, I can’t say. But I do believe I was successful in creating a unique, quirky character that will bring this Christmas mystery to life.
There you have it. The scoop behind Solve by Christmas.

I would love to hear of two book or TV characters that you would like to see meshed! Leave me a comment for your chance to win an eBook copy of Solve by Christmas! Comment by Midnight, CDT, one week from today, with your contact information, to be eligible.

About Amber
Amber, reading
Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites.  Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Where to find Amber:
Twitter - @AmberSchamel

Purchase Links for Solve by Christmas:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rest in the shade ♦ Devotional ,4 Michelle De Bruin

Rest in the Shade
a devotional by Michelle De Bruin

"I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love." 
Song of Songs 2:3-4

Over the years, I have developed a chronic condition known as fascination of the life and ministry of the prophet, Elijah. Lately, the Lord has been speaking to me through his story in the books of first and second Kings.

The Bible gives a narrow window through which we glimpse the life of this Man of God. He lived in Israel. Although Elijah was such an influential voice during this era of Israel’s history, only a brief span of his life is exposed to us through the stories in the books of Kings. The king of Israel, Ahab, had led the nation so far away from the worship of God that now the time had come to begin reaping the consequences. We all know who God chose to deliver the bad news–Elijah. Lucky man.

Elijah became the enemy. The king placed high priority on getting rid of him. The word of God came to Elijah again. This time it was meant for Elijah’s comfort and not for the rebuke of a wayward king. “Leave here. Turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there” (I Kings 17:2-4).

First Kings goes on to tell us that Elijah did what the Lord told him. Elijah lived there for a long time–at least three years. In a nation that had forsaken God, Elijah continued to enjoy God’s presence. During an extended season of extreme drought, Elijah feasted on God’s unending provisions. In the face of a king’s wrath–a king with the entire military at his disposal–Elijah found a place to hide away, safe and protected under God’s watchful care.

Over the span of those three years, the king looked everywhere for Elijah, but never found him. Why? Because God covered him. Psalm 91 mentions the safety found in the shade. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:1-2).

Danger couldn’t find him. The king’s anger couldn’t touch him. Hunger couldn’t weaken him.

Song of Songs 2:4 refers to a banner of love. The Student Bible says a banner was a large military flag that held a fighting unit together in battle. In the noise and dust of a fight, soldiers needed a visible sign to keep them oriented (p. 600). God spread his banner over Elijah. This orienting symbol wasn’t made of cloth with a royal crest. Rather, it was love and it came complete with God’s presence. “Fear not, I have redeemed you,” God says to Israel through Isaiah, “I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. For I am the Lord your God. You are precious and honored in my sight and I love you” (Isaiah 43:1-4).

Elijah lived in the ravine–a crevice running deep between two rocks. It became the place where he enjoyed God’s care, his provision, and his love.

About Michelle:

Michelle is the Spiritual Services Facilitator for an organization that provides services for people with both mental and physical disabilities. In this role, she plans and leads retreats, teaches Bible studies, offers care during times of grief, and writes devotions. Michelle lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Iowa. She's recently completed the manuscript for a historical romance drawn from her local history and family heritage. The story explores the themes of discerning the call to ministry, growing through grief, and discovering true love. 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

How Great is Our God ♦ Carole Brown

How Great is Our God! 

By Carole Brown 
And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

It seems everywhere you turn today, the world is a mess. I try to keep up with current events, but sometimes I find myself pulling back away from it all. The enemy of us all would drown us in disbelief, doubt and worry if we would allow it. I find my spirit beginning to flounder in that sea of distress and must need revive it with the good things of God.

In my newest WWII Spies series, in book two, soon to be released, both Jerry and Josie Patterson are rebellious, self-centered people. Neither have given much thought to God, and both have gone gung-ho after their own pleasures and desires.

·       Jerry not only suffers a serious physical injury, but his spirit is troubled over actions taken as a spy in Germany. Guilt over the death of a sweet woman, guilt over all the deceit he needed to use, guilt over the temptations that knocked, and though he didn't give in to them, nevertheless, troubles his mind and soul. Who do you turn to when you have no God in your life?

· Josie, filled with elaborate plans on becoming an Olympic participant once the horror of war is over, ignores all the people in her life—except when it's convenient for her to use them. All that matters is attaining her goal and Jerry. Running roughshod over all others, forgiving and forbearing as they are, is her usual ploy in getting what she wants. So who do you turn to when all your dreams turn to ashes?

It's only after each one of them receive a severe injury that prevent them from doing what they want, only when they think they've lost the other, that they begin to listen to what God is teaching them.

Both rebels in their own way, Josie and Jerry Patterson must figure out how to keep the other's love...and keep the German enemy at bay.

She has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Has another woman captured his heart?

Jerry has vowed to let Josie live her own glamourous life...especially after what happened in Germany. But when his wife's life is threatened, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Jerry has to risk all for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their ownselves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness.
Isn't that so in our own lives? Many times we go headstrong toward our goals, without prayer or definite assurance from God that it's what he wants for us. It seems a good thing, beneficial, and desirable so it must be good for us, right?

God is so great, so faithful, so loving in pulling us back, in teaching us that He is our all in all. Our strength in times of deep distress and trial, our anchor when the storms of life are blowing us off course, our shield when others would hurt or wound our spirits...our peace through it all.

May we, like Josie and Jerry, learn that our God IS a great God. We need have no fear; he does not fail.

About Carole:

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. 

She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?