Thursday, August 27, 2015

Praying The Bible by Donald S. Whitney (Review & A Giveaway!)


Praying is one of those things that many of us do not know how to do naturally. I have struggled with prayers since I became a Christian when I was 16. I have studied many books and the Bible. I have also listened to many sermons and speakers about this subject. Finally, I was gifted this book by Family Christian for review. Praying The Bible by Donald S. Whitney is a fantastic book about how to pray using only scriptures.

Praying using only scriptures seems easy enough but there is more to it than opening your Bible and saying the passage. It's about finding the right passages and using them to glorify God in our prayers. This little book is hard bound and very simple to read. It can be read in an afternoon while sitting under a shade tree on a quilt. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of praying.

Praying The Bible starts off with The Problem with how we currently pray. We get side tracked very easily, we become robots just saying what we always say, we get tired and bored. Then the author brings us The Solution. He writes about what we can do about the problems to have a more satisfying prayer life. Finally, he writes about The Method in which you can obtain this new and profound prayer life.

In the later part of the book, Donald Whitney gives examples of praying the Bible. There is a chapter on Praying The Psalms, Praying Other Parts Of The Bible, and so on. I love to pray the Psalms. It is one of my favorite ways to pray and with the help of this new book I am able to communicate with God better.

I absolutely loved reading Praying The Bible and I know you will too. That's why Family Christian has allowed me to give one away to a reader on my blog. Please enter to win a copy for your very own home library below. Blessings to you in your prayer walk!


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Things Not Seen {A Review & Giveaway}




I know you have all probably heard of the website desiringGod.org. I go there often to look up sermons and read articles pertaining to current events with a Godly perspective. Jon Bloom is the cofounder and president of desiringGod.org and the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith. His new book called Things Not Seen gives you a fresh look at old stories from the bible and the promises that God has made to us.

You can read this as a regular book with short stories in it or as a devotional like I did. I have an obsession with devotionals. I just love them because you can get your time in with God and feel refreshed for your day in a short amount of time. Things Not Seen gave me hope and a new perspective about what the Bible says about God's promises and trusting Him.

Jon Bloom goes through 35 Bible stories and retells them very creatively. He captivates the audience by giving each story a real life feel. Sometimes it is hard to relate to some of the stories and people from the Bible but this book allows you to get a closer glimpse of what life would have been like in that time and how it can relate to your life now. Each story comes with the actual Bible passage and then a retelling from Jon Bloom's perspective.

Some of the stories that are retold in this book are:
  • Abraham and Sarah and what to do when facing the impossible.
  • Moses and the feeling of inadequacy when facing trials.
  • Mary and Martha and who you really serve.
  • Joseph and his brothers and extending grace to all.
  • Judas and the love of money.
  • Gideon and why God does give us more than we can handle.
  • Samson and how weakness can make you strong.
I devoured this book when I received it for review from Family Christian. I have used it for my daily devotions and even read a few of the passages to my children and husband. It has opened up conversations and had us asking questions. We searched the Bible for our answers and as well looking in our hearts to seek God's peace and wisdom.

Family Christian is gifting one of my readers with a copy of Things Not Seen by Jon Bloom. Please enter below for your chance to read this book for yourself.


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Berenstain Bears' Harvest Festival {Review}


I just adore a good Berenstain Bears book. The newest addition to the collection is also a Living Lights book. It is called The Berenstain Bears' Harvest Festival. It is full of hope, love, and God's beauty.

The whole family is out helping in the garden on the first day of fall. The children are noticing the new changes such as the colorful leaves and the squirrels gathering nuts. Mother suggests they go to the Harvest Festival at their neighbor's farm where their church congregation will be also.

As they walk along the road on their way to the festival they all see how beautiful God created the fall season. The colors, the animals, and even the insects. When they arrive at the farm the children see all of the wonderful vegetables and fruit that have been growing for the fall season. There are apples, pumpkins, and corn stalks.

The festivities begin with apple picking and pumpkin picking. They soon take a hayride around the farm where they see all of God's wonderful creations. They end the evening with a big harvest meal and a prayer from their pastor.

It is such a delight to read a book to my children that is focused on God and seeing God in all things. I love Berenstain Bears book and always recommend them to anyone with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, etc.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Crash The Chatterbox by Steven Furtick {Review}


Crash The Chatterbox is a new book written by Pastor Steven Furtick. He is the founder and lead Pastor for Elevation Church based out of Charlotte, NC. It has grown to about 10,000 people in attendance per week. Steven Furtick has written other books (Sun Stand Still and Greater), which became New York Times best-sellers.

Honestly, Crash The Chatterbox is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of hearing God's voice above all the worldly noise. I could not put this book down. I read is very quickly because it was easy to read and it kept me saying "Amen!" the entire time.

The author refers to all the voices in the world that tell you anything different from God's word as the "Chatterbox". He also refers to Satan as the "Chatterbox". I love that he used hashtags throughout the book. It helped me to be able to promote the book easily.

Here is some more info about Steven Furtick:
  •  "Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church.

    In just under seven years, Elevation Church has grown to more than 10,000 people in weekly attendance, meeting at seven locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Elevation has been named one of the fastest growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.

    Pastor Steven has been privileged to minister to a global audience, speaking at conferences and churches around the world, including Catalyst Conference, Hillsong Conference, and the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, Greater, and the nationally acclaimed Sun Stand Still.

    Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    He and his wife Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey."
Here is more about Crash The Chatterbox:
  • “I used to think that someone who struggled with the kinds of weaknesses I deal with daily was useless to God. I felt so often like I was drowning in internal dialogue I couldn’t control. It had been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I could remember.

    Yet everything changed when I began to realize God has given us the ability to choose the dialogue we believe and respond to. And once we learn how, we can switch from lies to truth as deliberately as we can choose the Beatles over Miley Cyrus on satellite radio.

    This is the key to pressing ahead and doing God’s will anyway, even as you are bombarded with thoughts, feelings, and even facts about why you can’t do it.

    I’m now awakening to the reality that we can access the power of God’s promises to constantly crash the system of our broken beliefs. I’m learning how to overpower the shouts of the Enemy by bending my ear to the whisper of God’s supernatural truths about my identity in Him and His strength in me.”
    -STEVEN FURTICK, from Crash the Chatterbox
     
    Includes discussion questions for individuals or groups.
    Inside your head and heart is a chatterbox. Its lies are keeping you from realizing your God-given potential. But what can you do about them?
     
    The Voice You Listen to Will Determine the Future You Experience

    In Crash the Chatterbox, Pastor Steven Furtick focuses on four key areas in which negative thoughts are most debilitating: insecurity, fear, condemnation, and discouragement. He asks, “What great deeds are in danger of remaining undone in your life because of lies that were planted in your past or fears that are looming in your future?”

    With personal stories, inspiring examples, and practical strategies, Pastor Furtick will show you how to silence the lies and embrace the freeing affirmation of God.

    Learn how to live out God’s truth no matter what is going on in your life or thoughts.

    Learn how to crash the chatterbox…and hear God’s voice above all others."
Knowing how to hear God's truths over Satan's lies takes a lot of practice, prayer, and bible knowledge. I felt God leading me, through reading this book, to quit listening to anyone and anything (including my own thoughts) if they do not align with the bible. One of my favorite quotes is "My joy is not determined by what happens to me, but what Christ is doing in me and through me." (pg. 170) That is such a powerful statement. I am going to type it up in bold letters and laminate to put above my desk in the school room.

Another of my favorite quotes is found on page 184, "Don't let what you expected keep you from what God wants you to experience. God has plans for you that you know nothing about right now. That means He may take you down paths that seem to lead to nowhere. Believing God means assuming that He is always working, even when our faith and prayers and love don't seem to be working at all. Realizing this opens our hearts to accept what God has allowed in each season of our lives without being overtaken by discouragement..." (emphasis my own). These are very important words and we should dwell on them.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. I will be gifting this book to others who may be struggling to hear God's voice above the crazy noise of the world. Please go out and buy this book. It will change your spiritual and mental life. I am already speaking more positively to myself and of myself.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A New Adventure For The Three Amigos & School Room Pics


It has been such a wonderful summer so far. I have participated in the HEAV (the homeschool convention for my state) as a blogger and met some amazing ladies. We have gone to the beach, pool, local parks, had and gone to a few birthday parties, and celebrated 11 years with my Hubby. Over the course of the summer I have also reorganized Jensen Family Academy and redecorated it. I will share a few pics at the end of this post.

I also wanted to share the new about our new homeschooling adventure. The Three Amigos will be starting Classical Conversations (CC) in just a few short weeks. Last spring I was invited to attend an Open House held at my home church for Classical Conversations. Throughout the Open House, my children were able to sit in on the lessons and I was able to observe the lessons as well. We all fell in love with this method of learning. All three of my boys enjoyed it very much.

We will meet once a week for 24 weeks throughout September through April for Classical Conversations Day. I will then teach them the other 4 days from home using the same method and lessons. CC has equipped me to use certain materials to teach my children classically. All subjects are covered including Latin, Geography, History, English, Science, Math, and so on. The children will also be learning about art and artists, music and orchestra, and learn to play the tin whistle. We couldn't be happier with this decision.

CC's motto is "To Know God and Make Him Known". That means to learn about God for ourselves and to learn how to tell others about Him as well. CC is a Christian-based program and that was the number one thing that I look for in any homeschooling curriculum. I will be sharing our CC journey throughout the school year. I hope you will join me back here in the weeks and months to come. I will also be doing a blog post in September about our Beach Vacation to the OBX that we are taking in a few weeks. It is our first vacation in 11 years!! I am way too excited!!

Jensen Family Academy Pics:














Thursday, August 6, 2015

Luther And Katharina By: Jody Hedlund {Review}


I recently received an advanced copy of Jody Hedlund's new book Luther And Katharina. It comes out in book stores at the beginning of October. I love historical fiction especially when it involves religion. This book was wonderful. It is full of love, passion, betrayal, and rebellion.

Martin Luther was involved in the front lines in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He is the man who wrote the 95 Theses refuting much of what the Catholic church believed. He is famous throughout history for giving people a different way of practicing biblical principles and the Lutheran church was named after him.

Katharina von Bora was a nun born of noble decent. She had lived a quiet and spiritual life in the Abbey until she read Martin Luther's 95 Theses. It changed her whole life and spun her world upside down. She decided to leave the Abbey and search for Luther.

Martin Luther wanted to live by his convictions and not involve anyone else because of the danger he found himself in quiet often. Because of his beliefs he was looked down upon and was wanted by many officials. Katharina fell in love with him and their journey together is one of great risk.

So many things got in the way of their love but in the end love won. I truly enjoyed reading this book. The history throughout and the love story sprinkled in made it such a romantic book. Going against all odd Luther and Katharina found love in the hardest of places and in the worst of circumstances.

Luther And Katharina is one of Jody Hedlund's best books yet. She has written many books including A Noble Groom and has won many awards for her writing. Her focus is on historical fiction that involves women and a love story. Just my kind of book!

You can find out more about Jody Hedlund on her website http://jodyhedlund.com/ . There are excerpts from her books as well as information about herself and her blog. Check it out for yourself.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dad's Devotional Bible {Review}


I have been on the hunt for a good devotional bible for my husband for some time now. I finally came across this NIV Dad's Devotional Bible (with notes by Robert Wolgemuth) on the BookLook Bloggers website for review. I quickly grabbed it up and my husband has been enjoying it ever since. I am so glad that I chose this bible for my husband.

About the Author:
  • Robert Wolgemuth graduated from Taylor University (Biblical Literature) and received an honorary doctorate (LhD) from the same university in 2005. He is the author or coauthor of over twenty books, including Men of the Bible, The Most Important Year in a Man’s/Woman’s Life, and the notes to the Dad’s Bible. See website: http://robertwolgemuth.com
About the Book:
  • A trusted source of wisdom to help men learn how to be the type of fathers God wants them to be, this Bible provides a full year of weekday devotions along with other helpful study features.
    Filled with challenging and helpful information, the NIV Dad's Devotional Bible helps dads become fathers who honor God, live faithfully, and love their families-men whose lives will build priceless family legacies for generations to come.
    With 260 down-to-earth devotions, one for every day of the work week, as well as quick book introductions and seven insightful "Building Your Children" articles, author Robert Wolgemuth will lead readers through the blueprint of godly fatherhood. And with a helpful "Questions Kids Ask" index in the back, the hardcover NIV Dad's Devotional Bible will equip dads with the tools they need to be great fathers.
My husband is such a great father to our three boys. They are 2, 5, and 6. Believe me, we need all the help we can get. We tend to lean toward God's word for our parenting advice. The bible gives us everything we need to know about parenting. God has fully equipped us to be good parents and has commanded us to raise Godly children who grow up to serve Him.

I loved that this bible has devotions all throughout. They coincide with the bible verses that it is near in the bible. The devotions include a passage for the day, verse for the day, and a short story/devotion. The devotions can be read in about 5 minutes each day and the verses take about 5 minutes as well. So, for 10 minutes each day you can spend time with God and read His word.

I recommend this bible to all dad's or dad's-to-be or, even, grand-dad's. Leaning on God's word for your daily dose of advise and biblical point-of-view is the most important thing you can ever do. Taking time to sit quietly with God and soak in His presence is such a wonderful feeling. I pray that this bible will encourage and help someone in their walk with the Lord.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.