Monday, November 28, 2016

Jesus Today (Sarah Young)




Sarah Young is the author of Jesus Calling and now her new book Jesus Today. Jesus Today was written during a very difficult time in Sarah's life when she was going through some unexplained illnesses. During this time she never gave up hope in Jesus.

Christians go through tough times just like the rest of the world. But, what we have is very different than what the rest of the world has...Hope. Hope in Jesus. This new devotional was written to inspire Christians to keep pressing on in those hard times and keep our eyes on the cross. When we take our eyes off of Jesus we start to lose hope. Hope is only found in Him.

Most of you know that I suffer from chronic pain. I have been in severe and debilitating pain for 4 years now. My last pregnancy pushed me over the edge (or so I thought). Through these last few years I have almost lost all hope in ever being well again. I have seen countless doctors who tell me nothing is wrong with me. I finally got an appointment with specialists at Johns Hopkins that only took 6 months of waiting to get. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Jesus Today came in the mail at just the right time. It has inspired me to have more hope in this journey. The book is hardbound with a ribbon bookmark.  The devotions are numbered and there are 150 of them. Each devotion includes some words from Sarah Young that are inspired by God as well as several Bible verses to read that go along with the theme.

The devotions are short and simple yet very encouraging. I felt God's presence as I read the words each day and feel better about my own situation. Reading Sarah's testimony about her illness at the beginning of the book gave me such optimism. Her story sounds so similar to my own (although we have completely different issues). It made me realize that I am not alone in this world. There are others who struggle just like me. Christians all around the world are going through their own trials.

Knowing that my hope is not found in any man or doctor or diagnosis but in Jesus gives me such inspiration. No matter how hard times get, God's got my back. This book helps the reader to gain a better perspective of what it's like to go through trials and still keep hope alive.

*Many thanks to BookLookBloggers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

31 Verses To Write On Your Heart (Liz Curtis Higgs)



Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs has done it again. Her newest book, 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart, is amazing and inspiring. It is a very easy book to read and understand.

The book is written with the intention of getting the reader more familiar with well known Bible verses. These favorite verses were chosen very carefully to urge the reader to dig deeper into their quiet time. Many verses you will already know. But, there are few unexpected ones throughout the book as well.

31 Verses was written to inspire, impact, and stir your heart for God. There is a study guide included for a group study. Each of the verses serves as a daily devotion. So you could use this for one whole month of devotions. That is what I did and I truly feel refreshed and enjoyed it very much.

Each verse has a theme. For instance, Proverbs 29:25 has a theme of "Afraid Not". Since the verse speaks about fear being a snare for man. Liz takes you through each verse word by word. She gives Biblical examples of each theme and word. She also gives Hebrew definitions of certain important words so that we know the true meaning behind the verse.

At the end of the devotion there is a short prayer that goes along with the theme. I love reading prayers. Sometimes words fail me. Having the prayer written out for me already helped me to get a better grasp of the theme for the day.

There are "Tips" throughout the book for helping you to memorize scripture. These tips help you to be able to memorize verses quicker and be able to find them with ease. She offers the reader the chance to write out that days verse in their favorite translation of the Bible as well. I loved this part because some translations of the Bible are harder to understand than others. Having a favorite translation of the verse written out makes it easier to memorize as well.

I encourage you to take a look at this sweet book. It is such a good book with many helpful tips throughout that encourage you to dig deeper into your faith and memorize scripture. That way, when you are facing a situation you can pull that Bible verse right out of your head and pray it.

*Many thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Blessings of Unity (By: Richard T. Case)



Marriage is the most important relationship I will ever be in (besides the one I have with Jesus). My husband is my partner in life. He is my strength when mine is failing, he my rock when I am weak, he is my shoulder to cry on. He is my best friend. When we are at odds with each other it feels like everything else is going wrong too. The Blessings of Unity by Richard T. Case is a marriage saver. My marriage is not in trouble but we have very troubling times for sure. This new book gives you a Biblical perspective about divisiveness and unity.

No matter how "safe" you think your marriage is, no marriage is too good that issues arise that try to divide. Humans are, by nature, self-centered. We have a "me" attitude that says: I am right, you are wrong. That kind of thinking causes much heartache and separation. In The Blessings of Unity, Case gives us Biblical advice about how to love like Christ, especially toward our spouses. There are many blessings that come from marriage including walking in the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit God is literally with us.

Creating Godly unity in marriage takes work. There are two key ideas that he focuses on in this book: 1. Abiding in the Vine and walking in the Spirit and 2. Learning and applying the concept of unity.

At the beginning of the book, the married couple is instructed to take a "test" of sorts. There are about 10 questions that are answered on a scale from 1-10. Each person gets there own section (one for the husband and one for the wife). Then, you discuss your answers with one another. This is where it gets tricky. Being honest about how calm your partner is during a disagreement is tough. Telling them they get defensive during an argument can be hard to hear. But, the truth must be told in order to reap the blessings that come from unity.

Case bases this book solely on scripture. He quotes the Bible very often throughout and gives examples as well. He guides you through evaluating your marriage (the first part I spoke about above), what division and discord are according to God's word, unity and the keys to unity. I think my favorite part was the chapter about "Unity Comes Through Abiding in the Word". If we don't base our marriages on God's word, we have nothing. He gave us the Bible as a guide to life and every relationship we will ever have.

Another very important part of this book is the chapter on "How to Handle Disagreements and Differences of Opinion". Yikes! This hit home for me. I am VERY opinionated. I have tried very hard to reel it in over the years but I have had many years of training in that department growing up. Handling disagreements in a Godly manner is so important. Humans want to win every battle and argument. As we become more unified, we will start to view these disagreements and differences in a new light. God can use these things to bring you closer than ever before to one another.

The author then goes on the give us ways to pray through unity. Praying is the most important way to connect with God and one another. It's our way of communicating with God. Praying with one another also makes us vulnerable. That can lead to a closeness that only God can provide. He also gives Biblical examples of unity. There are many examples of unity in the Bible. Some of them I was not even aware of and am thankful to have read this book to know them.

Richard Case closes his book with very simple instructions about the blessings that come from unity. He uses Psalm 133 as the premise that we should all be unified through Christ Jesus.

This book is very easy to read and understand. I gave me hope for future disagreements with my husband (as well as others). I learned a lot about what the Bible has to say about unity. A marriage is two people always forgiving one another. We are humans. We are sinful. But, with God's help (in which he tell us how to get in the Bible), we can over come our differences and love one another as Christ loves us.

Here is a free ebook called Unshakeable, from the All For Jesus ministry. This will help and support your growth in Christ. http://allforjesusunshakeable.gr8.com/

You can purchase a copy of The Blessings of Unity at:
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Blessings-Unity-God’s-Best-Marriages/dp/1943425108/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474726271&sr=8-1&keywords=blessings+of+unity+richard+case

*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Where Jesus Slept (By: Norma Lewis)



My boys love books about Christmas. They especially love them if they tell the true story of Christmas that includes Jesus' birth. In the new book, Where Jesus Slept, Norma Lewis brings to life the stable where the Messiah was born. Katy Hudson, the illustrator, did a beautiful job of giving animating each scene.

The story begins with the straw that Jesus slept in. Then come the animals and Mary, Jesus' mother. The shepherd and angel and wise men are all there too. The story builds as you read on and is repetitive (which my boys LOVED). The repeating words help children with their vocabulary and reading skills. Some of the words are in all caps. That gave me the idea to use those particular words for copy work with my kids.

I truly think this book is adorable. I appreciate the fact that actual Bible verses are included at the beginning and the end of the book. When a child knows that what they are reading is based off of actual events from the Bible it becomes more real to them. My kids understand that some stories are completely made up but the Bible is God's true word to us. The story of Jesus being the most important of them all.

Having the story repeat was very helpful with having my oldest son (he is 8 and just learned to read not long ago) the chance to read to his brothers. Since the same words were on each page as the story built up to the end, he could easily identify the words and sound them out.

I will be reading this book each Christmas (especially on Christmas Eve). It is a sweet story and puts Jesus back into the meaning of Christmas. He is the Messiah who was born in Bethlehem in the city of David. No matter how much we try to secularize Christmas, Jesus is still at the heart of it and the reason for the day. His birth brought the world great hope and love. We must never forget that and Where Jesus Slept gives children a glimpse of what that night was like.

The recommended ages are between 4 and 7. I have a 3 year old and an 8 year old (with a 6 year old in the middle) and they all enjoyed it. Kids young and old will enjoy this book.

If you need an idea for a gift for Christmas for a little one, Where Jesus Slept is a great one. It brought joy to us as we read the sweet words of Jesus' glorious birth through a child's point of view.

*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NKJV Word Study Bible Review (Thomas Nelson)



Studying the Bible is one of the most important parts of my life. Understanding the original language and the meaning behind each word gives me a better appreciation of God's book. The new NKJV Word Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson gives you just that. It is a Bible with 1,700 key words and their original meaning defined and elaborated on.

This Bible includes:
  • Paragraph-style text with in-text subheadings
  • Translators' notes
  • Book introductions
  • Words of Christ in red
  • Word studies
  • Indexes
  • Concordance
The features that I enjoyed the most were the book introductions and the translators' notes. The book introductions give a place, time, and purpose for that book in the Bible. It also gives you the main ideas for that book. For instance, in the book of Ephesians the introductions tells the reader that the group of people Paul was writing to were rich and living as beggars. I didn't know that until I read this commentary.

The translators' notes were very informative. They give you an in-depth description of each word that is being identified and also help you to better understand why that word would have been used. They also provide other passages in the Bible where you may find that word being used in a similar way.

The word studies include those from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic languages. Having these words explained gave me a new sense of the idea behind "Bible Study". Digging deeper and unveiling familiar words to become new and fresh. I absolutely love this Bible and use it for my primary Bible at home now.

This Bible has helped me to experience scripture in a whole new and exciting way.

*Thank you BookLookBloggers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*