Category Archives: Faith

A relationship with The Lord through Jesus Christ, expressed in the disciplines of Bible Study, Prayer and Service to others.

Book Review & a Giveaway: The NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible

Do you remember when you first began reading the Word of God? Do you remember the feel of the soft pages and the excitement of your newfound faith? Imagine giving that gift to a girl in your life!
Zonderkidz has come out with a compact Bible, perfect for carrying to school or church or a hike in the outdoors. The Leathersoft cover features an embroidered heart with an embossed reminder to “Follow your heart.”
The Faithgirlz Backpack Bible includes:
• Fun pink color in Leathersoft ™ design
• Twelve full-color pages of Faithgirlz fun that helps girls learn the “Beauty of Believing!”
• Words of Christ in red
• Ribbon marker
• Complete text of the bestselling New International Version


Zonderkidz™, the children’s division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As a leader in Christian children’s communications, it creates products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 12.”
I promise the gift of a Bible can make a lasting impact in a preteen. Hidden within its pages are the treasures for a full life and the key to understanding God’s purpose for daily living.

Enter the drawing! I am giving away a gift pack of the NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible and Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You, courtesy of Zonderkidz Publishers, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) and answer this question, “What is your earliest memory of learning from the Bible?” You will be entered into the drawing to be held six days from today, September 27. For an extra chance to win the drawing, leave a comment on my review of the Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You!
Sally
Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The BlogAbout Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: God’s Easter Miracles

Author, Lee Ann Mancini and Illustrator, Dan Sharp have done it again, in creating adorable caricatures that are relatable and entertaining. In God’s Easter Miracles, sea creatures in vibrant colors tell a story in the saga of the Sea Kids.

Easter has come to the coralhood. The Sea Kids are looking forward to the egg hunt after church. One Sea Kid, Paul, is sad because he didn’t find an egg marked for the special prize. Jimmy has a dilemma when he is asked to share one of his eggs. All of the Sea Kids face a crisis when Brian’s brother is in a boating accident. How will they respond?

God’s Easter Miracles provides a story arc, problem solving for children, learning practical ways to care for others, and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It even has a hidden symbol that adds a puzzle to solve. I am delighted to recommend this gem to parents, grands, and all who love children. It tackles tough topics like autism, trauma, and the way God answers prayers, with sensitivity and compassion. And it opens the door for conversations with the little ones in your life, as you read about Jimmy the seahorse, Lenny the manatee, and all of the Sea Kids at Beneath the Sea Play Park. This is a book that extends beyond a holiday, to year-round faith-building fun!

Sally

Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Snow Day

For the first time in 22 years of living in western New York, the Governor declared a State of Emergency before a storm actually hit. All of the weather maps show a major snow event colliding with an air mass coming from the opposite direction.

A trip to get groceries is due.

The gas tank needs to be filled up.

It feels good to be prepared.

Yet the storm didn’t come as predicted for our area. And people scoffed. “We’re hardy New Yorkers,” we said. “We can take a few feet of snow.”

In 2,000 years of proclaiming the message of Christ’s birth, repeatedly the warning has been sounded, “Get ready. Christ is coming again.”

But the storm hasn’t hit yet, and so people are doing business as usual. “We’re strong,” we say. “We’re gonna live forever.”

What’s in my pantry?

Is there salvation?

Compassion?

Devotion to God’s Word?

Have I filled up my gas tank with God’s presence in my life?

It feels good to be prepared, yet, what about my neighbor?

Does the gal in the checkout line know the message of Jesus?

How about the boy who put gas in my car yesterday?

We weren’t put on this earth to go our jolly own way. It reminds me of Mordecai’s words to his niece, Queen Esther, “Maybe you have been positioned in this place, for such a time as this.”

We were born into this generation for a reason. There are people next to us every day who yearn to know the purpose of life. Jesus said He came to bring fullness. If we don’t tell them about Jesus, then who will? They need to know there is a Resurrection Day coming, when we will give an account for our lives. And the One who is coming, is the One who loves us most.

If we put so much effort into preparing for a snow storm, wouldn’t we do so much more for an even greater day, The Day that will determine where we spend eternity?

Sally

Book Review: 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart

Liz Curtis Higgs brings a bouquet of verses to the table and delicately places them on a banquet of lace. Her words soothe and cajole. Her illustrations reaffirm. As she serves up 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart, she also offers up sage wisdom: “When you spend time in God’s Word, life starts making sense. The broken places inside you begin to heal. Darkness and discouragement give way to hope.”

Beloved author and speaker Liz Curtis Higgs has learned the beauty of that advice. A seasoned student of the Bible, Liz has authored more than 30 books with 4.6 million copies in print.

When used as a daily devotional in collaboration with the Study Guide tucked into the back, this little treasure will unlock God’s Word in a new way and stimulate your thirst to dig further. Incorporating over 30 translations of the Bible, Liz dissects each verse in order to glean the rich fullness packed therein. She also references the Hebrew and Greek words, in order to mine out the original intent.

One example that shone for me, was the chapter based on Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Liz talks about the meticulous process a blacksmith follows to sharpen an iron blade. A metal file is drawn across the blade to create a sharp edge. The blade is rubbed against an oiled whetstone to smooth away the rough edge. Then heavy sandpaper blends the edge with the rest of the surface. What does that have to do with people? When we care about each other, we use words to open gently, polish and smooth over old wounds. We sharpen each other’s faith “with a timely word.”

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart is a delightful tool to put to work month after month. From 31 passages to 31 tips for absorbing them into your life, 31 Verses will equip you to carry God’s Word with you wherever you go!

Sally

FTC disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

 

Book Review: Teach Us to Want

Do you wonder if ambition is ungodly? Do you think you shouldn’t chase your dreams because they don’t feel “spiritual?” Jen Pollock Michel tackles questions of how to understand the desires that move us, in her book, Teach Us to Want.

Jen is gifted at unwrapping Scripture in understandable language. Her writings appear in Christianity Today, Beautiful Orthodoxy, The Gospel Coalition, Today in the Word and The American Bible Society. Jen asks, “Is it true that the hardest, least desirable choice is the most obviously holy? Is it true that personal desire must never be trusted?”

The process of finding answers to her own questions, leads us down a path of introspection and searching. She ponders the place of self-salvation and the one where we embrace God’s will.

How important is this topic? Life-changing. Because it is the difference between trusting God, or demanding control. Jen says, “Holy prayers of desire don’t simply aim to get something from God: they’re ambitious to get God in us.”

If you’re human, you can relate to this book. We’ve all experienced disappointment and dashed dreams. But Jen Pollock Michel offers something more: hope and the knowledge that the Lord has a good plan in store for us. She unpacks how the desires of our heart can impact the expression of our faith. And desire is a wanted characteristic, instead of taboo, because it unveils opportunities the Lord wants to use through our God-given gifts.

Read it and be blessed!

Sally

Almost Home

On our return from Africa, our Mission Team flew into Toronto for the last leg of driving home to Jamestown, just south of Buffalo. The 17 hours of flight had only served to make us more homesick, as we longed for sweet sleep in our own beds.

Finally, with luggage gathered, tired bodies accounted for and vans retrieved, we settled in for the three hour drive home.

As we approached the Canadian/US Border, we noticed traffic slowing. And then it came to a standstill. We could see the flags of our own country, but could not advance to it.

photo

In these tumultuous days, we’re watching the effects of sin take a toll on our planet. War, hatred, abuse, the sex trade, people hungry for power, poverty, drought and all sorts of evil in between. And it makes us long for our Heavenly Home. Jesus said we would face trouble. But He also promised His presence would comfort and guide us. This is the time to stand firm and pray. When you hear the news, pray. When you see bad things happen, pray. And when you think you can’t take any more, pray.

Answers in Genesis opened their replica of Noah’s Ark on July 7. One of the first visitors was Bill Nye, who claimed children are being brainwashed. As I scrolled the comments of his supporters, I couldn’t believe the bashing toward Ken Ham (who happens to have the same name as one of Noah’s sons) and his Ark. And I wondered if that was just an inkling of the mocking Noah endured in his day. We are not home yet.

Our Heavenly Home is just over the horizon and our King is on His Return Trip. Stand firm; we’re almost Home.

What helps you stand firm? Leave a comment in the link just under the title, and I’ll send you 6 Tips for Talking to God.

Sally

We are not home yet

Teardrop

“What is home?”

Our class had a variety of answers; places remembered from the past, or an ideal set apart for our families.  But all I could think about was a feeling.  “You know that feeling you get on Christmas Eve?  When everyone’s in bed, asleep, and everything’s done that can possibly be done?  All that’s needed at that moment is to reflect on The Day to come, and gaze at the lights on the tree.”

That’s my picture of “home.”

Anne Graham Lotz talks about our heavenly home in The Vision of His Glory.  She says the glassy streets of gold will reflect God’s glory with every step that we take.  We will not only have access to the Presence of God (as the Israelites experienced through the priest entering the Tabernacle), but we’ll live in the Presence of God.

No, we are not home yet.  But Jesus is preparing it with painstaking detail, just like a mom would get ready for her college student to come home on break.  Anne reminds us that favorite meals would be prepared, activities planned and phone calls made saying, “My daughter is coming home!”

I can’t wait for my heavenly home!

Sally

Originally published at Sally’s Words

Review & a Giveaway: The NIV Lifehacks Bible!

NIV Lifehacks

If you were offered the key to unlock mysteries, would you take it? The NIV Lifehacks Bible extends that and so much more, in the quest for understanding God’s Word.

It contains 365 articles to explain the process of becoming more like Jesus.

It covers 30 everyday disciplines.

It chronicles 8 different categories of spiritual formation (the process of conforming to the character of Christ).

 

That’s 365 articles for each day of the year.

30 disciplines for each day of the month, on average.

8 categories to examine one a day, plus one.

But do you need to read or apply every entry? The author, Joe Carter says, “No. This Bible contains over 1,000 tips and suggestions, and no one could (or necessarily should) attempt to apply them all. My goal in writing these articles is that every reader will find at least eight things to apply to their life, one in each of the eight categories of spiritual formation.” (Seeing Jesus in Scripture, Prayer, Engaging Scripture, Communion with God, Internal Disciplines, External Disciplines, Responding to God’s Calling and Assessing Spiritual Growth.)

NIV Lifehacks 197 become like Christ

Imagine what would happen to The Church, if all Christians took it upon themselves to make Bible study and discipleship a personal endeavor? This Bible is called “Lifehacks” because we live in an age when we’re looking for tips and tools to handle life more efficiently. Ever wish you could “cut to the chase” in the way you study the disciplines of the Christian life?

This format is a work of genius! The tools draw you into the Word of God with practical clues to texts and connections to concepts. Even the titles entice you to engage your brain… before you know it, you’ve been studying the Bible!

  • When We Should (Probably) Not Agree to Pray for Someone
  • What Lambs Reveal About Jesus
  • The Essential Vocation of Burden Bearing
  • The Benefits of Handwriting Scripture
  • How Honey Helps Us to Know God
  • How 15 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life
  • Kill the Dragon, Get the Bride

Are you curious yet? Get your own copy today. Or, you can enter the drawing!

I am giving away a copy, courtesy of Zondervan Publishers, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (at the top of this post, under the title) about one of your favorite Bible study tools, and you will be entered into the drawing to be held one week from today, July 7. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Sally

P.S. Each person who leaves a comment will also receive a free pdf, “20 Prompts for Spiritual Journaling,” from the NIV Lifehacks Bible!

 NIV Lifehacks 58 (3) Scripture points to Christ

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Blog Spot Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review & a Giveaway: The NKJV American Woman’s Bible!

NKJV American Womans Bible

The timing for the release of The NKJV American Woman’s Bible, and a celebration of our heritage of faith, could not be better. As we approach the birthday of our nation, we reflect on ways the Lord has intervened for our country, and the principles on which it was built. To say this book is patriotic would be true, but it is so much more. It begins with “A Woman’s Journey To Godliness,” and continues with examples from our nation’s history of women who fleshed out what it meant to embrace faith in tumultuous times.

General Editor, Dr. Richard G. Lee has done his research! Indeed, he compiled the American Patriot’s Bible and authored another twenty-one books. His works highlight the legacy of the Judeo-Christian values that created a foundation for our government and justice system. He says, “American history is no stranger to the fact that God uses humble, unassuming ‘everyday’ people to do extraordinary things.”

I love the behind-the-scenes look at our country. Sidebars are filled with quotes and qualities of virtuous women. Biographies add detail to the lives of many unknown, but influential people. And glossy inserts are packed with the stories of those who sacrificed and served their Lord and country.

In a time when patriotism is ebbing low, this book is an important standard. It lifts up the Word of God and shows how applicable it continues to be, in every generation.

The fascinating biographies include immigrants, pioneers, presidents’ wives, missionaries, writers, peasants, celebrities, slaves, singers and songwriters. Here’s a sampling of the quotes that grabbed my attention:

“You can be too big for God to use, but you cannot be too small.” – Nelle Reagan

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.” – Corrie ten Boom

“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” – Helen Keller

“Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.” – Joni Eareckson Tada

“Democracies have been, and governments called, free; but the spirit of independence and the consciousness of unalienable rights, were never before transfused into the minds of a whole people…The feeling of equality which they proudly cherish does not proceed from an ignorance of their station, but from the knowledge of their rights; and it is this knowledge which will render it so exceedingly difficult for any tyrant ever to triumph over the liberties of our country.” – Sarah Josepha Hale

”The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

Do you love stories of heroes of the faith? Hebrews 12:1 says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. They are the ones who endured hardship and overcame difficulties with a shining faith in God. The NKJV American Woman’s Bible is an inspiring look at the sacrificial ways women gave their devotion to God’s truths and the practice of those truths in a young nation.

I am giving away a copy, courtesy of Thomas Nelson Publishers, to one reader in the continental United States. Leave a comment on my blog (Comments are at the top, under the title) about a favorite hero of the faith, and you will be entered into the drawing, to be held one week from today, June 16, 2016. Side note for those from my area, there is even a biography of Mary A. Lathbury, who helped found the Chautauqua Movement in Western New York!

Sally

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the The Blog Spot Network book review program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Book Review: Miriam

Miriam

Do you ever wonder what it must have been like to experience the Ten Plagues of Egypt, and escape? Or, what cataclysmic event had to happen for the Israelites to be willing to uproot from everything they knew? Miriam, a novel by Mesu Andrews, gives a glimpse behind the scenes, to equip the mind and senses in that process.

Who is Mesu Andrews? She is a student of God’s Word and the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes and numerous other novels, including The Pharaoh’s Daughter. She uses fiction to fill in the blanks of long-loved stories of the Bible. Her imagination and research bring details that explain gaps in the passage, causing the stories to jump to life with new vibrancy.

Through the doubts of Miriam and her family, we experience the turmoil they faced in the new revelation Moses brought of God. Andrews captures the pain of unanswered questions and the 400 year silence of El Shaddai. But, like Miriam, we also experience Yahweh anew, as we learn to trust the One who leads us into the unknown.

You’ll want to experience this book, and yes, it is an experience. Through the questions asked by the Israelites, we come to understand the enormity of God’s sacrifice for us, as His Son was represented by the sacrificial lamb, slain at Passover. It sets the stage for the greatest event in history, the sacrifice and resurrection of the Lamb of God.

Miriam is a book that inspires awe and trust in the God who rescued Israel from bondage, and rescues us from a life enslaved to sin.

Sally

FTC disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”