Morning Comes Softly

Morning Comes Softly

4.3 123
by Debbie Macomber

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Exploring the Story

A Reference Companion
By Adam T. Barr


Copyright © 2011 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-32699-1

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Exploring the Story

A Reference Companion
By Adam T. Barr


Copyright © 2011 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-32699-1

Chapter One

CREATION The Beginning of Life as We Know It

Plot Points

God, the main character of The Story, is revealed as the absolute sovereign of creation, totally distinct from yet intimately involved with all he has made.

Nature is not simply a collection of random, meaningless matter in motion; it is a carefully crafted revelation of a loving God.

Humanity, made in God's image, occupies a unique role and position in this creation, a place of dignity and responsibility.

Humanity's tragic rebellion against God's command impacts everything.

God has a plan to redeem his fallen creation, giving us a hint of the good news to come in his promise that a descendant of Adam and Eve will crush the serpent.

Throughout the New Testament, the flood story forecasts God's future and final judgment (e.g., Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27; 2 Peter 2:4-10).

Cast of Characters

Abel. Son of Adam and Eve; younger brother of Cain; a shepherd and devoted worshiper of the Lord; killed by his brother; name means "vanity, breath, vapor."

Adam. First man, made from earth; husband of Eve; like his wife, Eve, made in God's image; tragically disobeyed God's prohibition and affected all of human history; name can mean "man" and is closely related to the Hebrew word for "ground" (adamah).

Cain. Son of Adam and Eve; older brother and murderer of Abel; ancestor of Lamech, who killed indiscriminately (see Gen. 4:23-24); name sounds like the Hebrew for "gotten," conveying the sense of optimism Eve held for his life.

Eve. First woman, made from man; husband of Adam; tempted by Satan in the form of a serpent, disobeyed God's command; name means "living."

God. Creator of all things and central character of The Story; God chose to reveal himself to us through his creation.

Noah. Descendant of Adam and Eve; a "righteous man, blameless among the people of his time" (Gen. 6:9); commanded to build a great boat to save himself and his family from the flood God sent to wipe out everything having "the breath of life" (Gen. 6:17); name sounds like "rest" in Hebrew, expressing his parents' hope that he would help bring rest from the effects of the curse.

Shem, Ham, Japheth. Noah's three sons; called to help "increase in number and fill the earth" (Gen. 9:1) after the flood.

Chapter Overview

The first nine chapters of Genesis have raised questions throughout church history. What kind of literature are these passages? How do the events described here relate to the theories formed by contemporary scientists and archaeologists? Are the "days" twenty-four-hour segments or ages, long periods of time? Was the flood local, covering the known world, or was it global, covering the entire planet?

These questions are significant. They lead us to think deeply about the purpose of Scripture, and Christians who take Scripture as seriously as Jesus did will not be content simply to write these questions off as "academic." To work toward the answers we seek, it is helpful to begin by reflecting on the central narrative intent of these chapters. For the people of Israel and for us today, they reveal why the world we see and know is the way it is. They help us grasp what it means to be human and the causal forces that shape our lives. These are questions of existence and meaning.

Think about the fall and the disobedience of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. The fruit of their rebellion against God is a series of curses, each of which takes a good, God-ordained source of blessing and twists it into a form of heartache—work is now toil, marriage a battle, childbirth a painful ordeal. Consider the flood as well. In this story we see a reversal of God's work in creation as the life and the land that had come from the sea is now covered and destroyed by the waters of chaos and judgment. The stunning beauty and heart-wrenching tragedy of our world is explained and understood through these stories, helping us understand why something good has gone terribly wrong.

God's Word invites us to consider the powerful connections between the original world God created, our disobedience, and our ongoing relationship to God. We are invited to consider how human disobedience has universal implications. Although we often think of our choices as individual decisions that don't impact other people ("If it doesn't hurt anyone else, it's not a problem"), this chapter shows us that the simple act of eating fruit, if done in disobedience to God, can lead to suffering and death—for everyone. The choices and decisions we make in this life are writing a moral drama, and our every deed illustrates how we embrace or reject our Creator God.

One more thing: consider how this chapter reveals God as the supreme storyteller. Unlike a human author who relies on words and print to convey a story, God is enacting a grand narrative in flesh and blood, neutrons and nebulae. Throughout the course of your study, remember who the central character is and what he is saying in this story.

Section Commentary

The Creation of All Things (Genesis 1-2)

Just as the Creation story stood against the polytheistic myths of the ancient Near East, today it provides us with an alternative to the materialistic myth of evolution. Much of the current debate between proponents of creation and evolution can be simplified to one question: Where do we come from? If human life is ultimately the product of an unguided, cause and-effect chain reaction stretching back to the Big Bang, then concepts like human rights and moral norms are just code words for majority opinion. If, however, we let the Creation story set the stage of our existence, then we are the product of a powerful, creative God. We are not here by accident, and we ultimately are accountable to the God who put us here. He stands as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong, not us. These worldviews present us with two contrasting answers to the question of our origin and lead to two very different ways to live.

The Tragic Fall (Genesis 3-4)

"What is wrong with the world?" Everyone is trying to answer this question, whether he or she realizes it or not. At some level we all sense that something big is broken. Cosmic scales are waiting to be balanced. We understand what it feels like as we constantly try to change something about ourselves but find that we fail every time. What is wrong with the world? And what is wrong with us? Why are things so "out of joint"?

The story of Genesis 3-4 answers those questions. We read that things are the way they are because humans, at the very beginning, chose to live life on their own terms. Humankind chose independence and rebellion rather than trust and obedience.

Humans constantly try to come to grips with the world we inhabit. On the one hand, we sense that much about this world is good. People are capable of amazing heroism and selfless sacrifice. On the other hand, unspeakable tragedy occurs and horrific evils are committed every day all over the world. The story of the fall tells us why things are this way. The goodness of God's creation could not be wholly destroyed by our sin and rebellion, but until the story is over, we cannot experience the good life God intended apart from the taint of sin and the curse. We live in a fallen world, waiting to be redeemed and made new by the Creator.

The Great Flood (Genesis 6-9)

In the creation story, we saw the Lord separating light from darkness, the waters below from the waters above, and the land from the water. In each case God was refining his creation and crafting the perfect environment for creatures. After setting the stage, God began filling it with life!

In the flood, however, we see a reversal of this process. The heavens rain down. The earth is covered in the waters of chaos. A world teeming with life becomes a global graveyard. Everything with "the breath of life in its nostrils" is destroyed (Gen. 7:22). Later in Scripture the apostle Paul will write that the "wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). In this passage we discover just how true that really is.

Discussion Questions

1. What words would you use to describe the God who is revealed in the Creation narrative?

2. The story of the fall indicates that every part of God's good creation was fractured by Adam and Eve's rebellion. As you observe our world, what evidence do you see that the world was created to be a good and beautiful place? Where do you see evidence that it is broken by sin?

3. In the flood story, we encounter a God who takes action to prevent the spread of human rebellion and sin by destroying most of his creation. The flood is both an act of judgment and salvation. How do you see these two activities of God reflected in the story? How do these themes differ from the "popular" picture of God that is often presented in this passage?


Excerpted from Exploring the Story by Adam T. Barr Copyright © 2011 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Morning Comes Softly

By Debbie Macomber

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Debbie Macomber
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061080630

Chapter One

"It isn't a housekeeper you need, Mr. Thompson, it's a wife."

"A wife." The word went through Travis like a bullet, and he soared to his feet. He slammed his Stetson back on his head, shoving it down so far it shadowed the starkly etched planes of his jaw and cheekbones. He paled beneath the weathered, sun-beaten tan.

It had been two months since his brother and sister-in-law's funeral, and he'd barely stepped outside the ranch house since he'd been appointed the guardian of their three children. He might as well forget thirty-six years of ranch life and take up being a full-time mother. All he seemed to do was cook, wash clothes, and read bedtime stories.

The worst of it was that according to five-year-old Beth Ann and the two boys, Jim and Scotty, he wasn't doing any of those jobs worth a damn.

"Mommy wouldn't like you saying the 's' word," Beth Ann announced each and every time the four-letter word slipped from his mouth. The kid made it sound as though his sister-in-law would leap straight out of the grave to reprimand him. Hell, she probably would if it were possible.

"Mom used to say 'yogurt' instead," Beth Ann announced, her eyes a soft cornflower blue. Janice's eyes. Everything about the bundle-size youngster reminded Travis ofhis petite sister-in-law. The thick blond hair, the gentle laugh, and the narrowed, disapproving look. The look that spoke a hundred words without uttering a one of them. Janice had had a way about her that could cut straight through an argument and silence him as no one else had ever done. Travis stared at Beth Ann, and his heart clenched. Godalmighty, he missed Janice. Nearly as much as he did Lee.

"Your mother used to say 'yogurt'?" Travis had asked, confident he hadn't heard her correctly.

Jim nodded. "Mom said yogurt was a much better word than the 's' word."

"I think yogurt's a fine word," Beth Ann added.

"If one of us got into something we shouldn't," Scotty, who was eight, was quick to clarify, "Mom would say we were in deep yogurt."

That was supposed to have explained everything, Travis guessed.

His language, Travis learned soon enough, was only the tip of the iceberg. Within a week he discovered that washing little girls' clothes with boys' clothes damn near ruined the girl things. Hell, he didn't know any different. Okay, so Beth Ann wore a pink dress, one that had once been white, to church on Sunday. It could have been worse.

Church was another thing, Travis mused darkly. Generally he attended services when the mood struck him, which he freely admitted was only about once every other year, if then. Now it seemed he was expected to show up every week in time for Sunday school with three grade-school children neatly in tow. It was less trouble to wrestle a hundred head of cattle than to get those youngsters dressed and to church on time.

Raising God-fearing children was what Janice would have wanted, Clara Morgan had primly informed him on the first of her proven-to-be-weekly visits. Dear Lord save him from interfering old women.

God, however, had given up listening to Travis a good long time ago. No doubt it was because he swore with such unfailing regularity.

Everything had come to a head the day before. Heaven knew Travis was trying as hard as he could to do right by Lee and Janice's children. He'd damn near given up the management of his ranch to his hired hands. Instead he was dealing with do-good state social workers, old biddies from the local Grange, and three grieving children.

The final straw came when he'd arrived home with a truckload of groceries a few days earlier. The boys, Jim and Scotty, were helping him carry in the badly needed supplies.

"You didn't buy any more of those frozen diet dinners, did you?" Jim demanded, hauling a twenty-five-pound bag of flour toward the kitchen, helped by his younger brother.

"No. I told you boys before, that was a mistake."

"It tasted like . . ."

"Yogurt," Travis supplied testily.

Scotty nodded, and Beth Ann looked on approvingly.

Travis dealt with the fencing material he'd picked up in town and left the three children to finish with the groceries. That was his second mistake in what proved to be a long list.

When he entered the house, it was like walking into a San Francisco fog. A thin layer of flour circled the room like a raging dust storm. Beth Ann, looking small and defeated, held on to a broom and was swinging madly.

"What the hell happened in here?" Travis demanded.

"It's Scotty's fault," Jim shouted. "He dropped his end of the flour sack."

"It was heavy," Scotty said. "It caught on the nail."

The nail. No one needed to tell Travis which nail. The blunt end of one had been protruding from the floorboard for the last couple of days . . . all right, a week or more. He'd meant to pound it down; would have if it had been a real hazard, but like so many other things, he'd put it off.

"I tried to sweep up the flour," Beth Ann explained, coughing.

Travis waved his hand in front of his face and watched as a perfectly good bag of flour settled like a dusting of snow on every possible crevice of the kitchen. "Don't worry about it," he said, taking the broom out of her hand. He leaned it against the wall and surveyed the damage.

"If Scotty wasn't such a wimp, none of this would have happened," Jim said.

"I'm not a wimp," Scotty yelled, and leaped for his brother. Before Travis could stop them, the two were rolling on the floor, wrestling like bear cubs, stirring up the recently settled cloud. Travis broke the two of them up, ordered Jim out to the barn to do his chores, and did what he could to clean up the mess in the kitchen.


Excerpted from Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber Copyright © 2007 by Debbie Macomber. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Morning Comes Softly 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 123 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read this nook on my Nook. It's a great read. A compelling story that was hard to put down. I was sad when I reached the end because I wanted it to go on. First time to read a Macomber book and it will not be the last!
Donna777 More than 1 year ago
Great book! But all of the books that I have read by Debbie Macomber have been great. They draw you in from the very beginning.
gleGE More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book....I love the way that Debbie Macomber writes. She keeps me coming back to her books. I've never been disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, I couldn't put it down once I picked it up. Not only do Mary & Travis catch the attention, but the three kids are great and funny. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this very heartwarming story, with characters you truley cared about This was my first book read by this author and has made me a fan that plans to read her other books I highly recommend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put this book down! I will be reading this one again and again. A keeper.
slf49 More than 1 year ago
Don,t want to give the story away just read it you will love it as much as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heart warming. I loved every minute of it from beginning to end. I only wish it was longer.
AConstantReader More than 1 year ago
My favorite book of all time!  When Travis becomes the guardian to his brother's three kids, he has NO idea what he's doing, and he's angry.  Mary comes into his life, and he's still angry.  While Mary tries to put his house in order, Travis tries to find who killed his brother.  He puts Mary at the bottom of his priority list, and she finally finds the backbone to tell him how she really feels.  They make an effort, and with a lot more than a few bumps in the road, they find their way into each other's hearts.  This book is one of the best I have ever read, and it never gets old.  The characters make you care about them, and you fall in love with each and every one of them.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun could not put down
RRPNC More than 1 year ago
Another exceptional book by Debbie Macomber!!  Recommend Very Highly!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book, wish there was a part 2.
Meg0412 More than 1 year ago
Great book as always!
kate36 More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Debbie Macomber. i wish she would write more books on these characters. I think this book is fine anyone that enjoys a good love story. I have read a lot of her books and this book gives a little hope of finding someone.
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Read her cedar cove series loved the series. This book ok.
m123 More than 1 year ago
is a good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago