Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Devotional for Women by B&H Publishing Group

I am a lover of devotionals. I'm that girl that needs to be surrounded by the Word and reminded daily to focus on Jesus. I love when women share with other women in such a transparent and down to earth way. These ladies have brought us a devotional for every woman. 

The topics are applicable to every women of every age. Young women will too enjoy this devotional. Each devotional covers two pages. Scripture is shared, the devotional, prayer, and then the reader has a space created for them to reflect. This is an aspect that I truly love. How awesome to pick up this devotional later down the road of our journey and look back, seeing just where we were and how Jesus moved in our lives. LOVE it!! 

This is a great way for us Jesus girls to grow daily, knowing more of Him, and understanding more of ourselves through prayer and reflection. This too would make for a great gift!! 

The leather is soft and the inside of this devotional is very inviting with the soft hues of purple and beautiful design. I love having a devotional that takes me straight to scripture and stories of the Bible. Stories that still resonate with us today. Life lessons that will give us encouragement and inspire us to keep our eyes upon Him as we journey through this life creating our own story of legacy. 

This devotional was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Rhonda Harrington Kelley is President’s wife and Adjunct Professor of Women’s Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a frequent speaker for women as well as an author of books including Divine Disciple, Life Lessons for Women of the Bible, and Personal Holiness: A Biblical Study for Developing a Holy Lifestyle. She is co-editor of the three volume Women’s Evangelical Library including Women’s Evangelical Commentary: Old Testament, New Testament, and The Study Bible for Women. Her husband Chuck Kelley is President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


Dorothy Kelley Patterson is Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a homemaker, popular speaker, and successful writer, editor, and compiler of numerous books including A Handbook for Ministers’ Wives, The Family, BeAttitudes for Women, and Touched by Greatness: Women in the Life of Moses. She is co-editor of the two volume Women’s Evangelical Commentary:Old Testament and New Testament. Her husband Paige is President of Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary.Chuck Kelley is President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Owls (Our Most Charming Bird) by Matt Sewell

I seen this for review and chose it for a friend who absolutely loves owls. I knew it would make for a great gift for her. Once I opened up this book I was surprised at just how much I too would enjoy it. 

I mean who doesn't love owls, right? I found this book enchanting. The artwork is wonderful. Each page contains a different owl and a short little snippet about each one. Just by picking up this book one can learn a great deal about owls. If you have never really pondered the owl this is a book for you. After reading it you are sure to fall in love with these beautiful creatures. 

This would make a great gift for anyone really. Children would enjoy this book. Although not a lot of information is shared about each owl it is enough to encourage you to learn more on your own. 

I was pleasantly surprised by this choice and can't wait to get it wrapped up and sent off to my friend!!

This book was a gift from Blogging for Books for sharing my review with you. This book is published by Ten Speed Press

MATT SEWELL is an avid ornithologist, regular contributor to the Caught by the River website, and the author of several other illustrated bird books. His work has been exhibited in London, Manchester, New York, Tokyo, and Paris.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

Wow!! As if "Waiting Here For You", didn't bless me enough, I open up this blessing of workmanship and am once again stirred to the cross.

"While we're waiting and trusting in the Lord for the plans and purposes of our lives and saying, "God, I trust in you," the task for us to do is to dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. This implies that we don't see all the purposes of God fully unfolded yet. That's okay, because most of God's plans are unseen to us anyway. In this journey of faith, our confidence comes from God's character, what's been revealed about him in the Bible. And our confidence also comes in trusting that God is working even when we don't understand or see what's happening around us. Hebrews 11:1 says our faith doesn't rest on what's seen, but what's unseen."

"You see, all our comebacks are swallowed up by this ultimate comeback. Because Jesus is alive again, we can come back from anything the world throws at us:

  • The deepest kind of sin
  • The devastation of crumbling relationships
  • The rejection of job loss and failure
  • The general disappointment of life
  • The pain of bereavement
  • The hammer of betrayal
  • Whatever, you name it
Jesus' ultimate comeback trumps all our comebacks, but it also makes it possible in a general sense for us to come back from anything, from anywhere, at any time. The secret is in how Jesus' resurrection life infuses our ordinary lives with the same kind of power."  

If that was all I read of this book it would be enough for me. This is one powerful dose of real!! I soaked up this book, underlined, and highlighted. I love how Louie is so transparent. He shares of himself here in these pages. He brings these black and white penned words to life by sharing scripture and story after story of Biblical people who have come back. He too shares of people today who have faced tragedy and have come back. It doesn't mean they didn't hit bottom. Doesn't mean they didn't make mistake after mistake. It surely doesn't mean they overcame in a moment's prayer, although praise Jesus, it can happen!! He brings to light that through Jesus EVERYTHING is possible and we can come back. Not of our own doing, but ALL because of Him.

These pages are great reminders for us. Each day we face battles and may we never forget that Jesus is right there in the midst of those battles fighting for us!!

"The big hope ahead is that when we're at a low, God offers us a hand up. He holds forth a better way of living, a way filled with freedom, strength, peace, and Jesus. Through fires and trials, God offers us a closer walk with him."

This is a book that will encourage and inspire. It certainly stirred my heart toward trusting Jesus more and more as I focus on Him and not the circumstance facing me. His grace is always bigger! This is a gem of a read that will give you a greater insight to the love of Christ and how He is forever there for us and with us every step of the way.

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

Louie Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of Passion Conferences—a global movement of college-aged people living for the fame of Jesus Christ. A dynamic and effective communicator, Louie holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Shelley, reside in Atlanta. For more information about Passion City Church, visit passioncitychurch.com, and for more about Passion Conferences, visit www.268generation.com.

Waiting Here For You (An Advent Journey Of Hope) by Louie Giglio

The first time I had heard the name Louie Giglio was from my son who had heard him speak at a conference. My son was blown away by this man who so clearly walks the talk. My son will find this book sitting on his nightstand to once again be blown away and to grow through this season of hope.

Louie takes the reader through Advent. The days of November 26-December 24. I picked up this gem of beauty and didn't want to put it down. I actually did something totally different from any book I've reviewed. I sat by myself and read this book aloud. Sure, it was Louie's words, but it was simply me and Jesus.

"My hope is that this Advent devotion will help you hear the cries of the baby in the manger and the words of the Messiah on the cross. I pray that it will encourage and fortify your faith so hope may bloom again. For each day throughout the Advent journey you will find Scripture readings, Christian meditations, words of encouragement, and prayers. Carve out a few moments daily to embrace the gift of Christmas through reflection, worship, and prayer. As you do, there's a good chance something new will be born in your heart, so when Christmas day arrives you will be able to truly celebrate what God has done and what He has promised to do."

Each day begins with scripture. It then moves to Reflection, then on to Meditation, and ends in Prayer. Each of these are powerful and poignant. Louie's words of reflection are pondering. The meditation section is a collection of different lyrics dating years back. It was truly the prayer section that stirred my heart. Throughout the book are varying black and white photos that give the heart room to ponder.

I knew I would love this book but I just didn't know how much this book would bless me. This is a book I will carry with me for a great while. I will add this book to my purse. It's one of those books that just isn't for Advent, but a reminder for us all throughout the year. To bring us back to the manger, to the cross, to Jesus. To bring our focus back to what's really important from season to season in life.

Some of these old lyrics were brand new to me and speaking them loudly made this book all the more powerful for me. Here are a few that truly stirred my spirit:

The Day is Surely Drawing Near
Fear Not To Trust Me In The Storm
O Lord, How Shall I Meet You

Here are a few of the prayers that touched my heart:

"Father, in the middle of the storm I am setting my hope on You. You fight for me and You are greater than all my enemies. Nothing I face today is more powerful than You. You are the solid ground beneath my feet. Thank You for surrounding those who surround me. Give me peace in the presence of my enemies, knowing that You see me and defend me in Your love. Amen."

"Father, You alone know how hard I have searched for satisfaction in the people and things of this world. But they are broken, and I am too. You alone can fill my hungry heart. You alone have the love that is like no other. You never change. Open my eyes today. Show me Your riches and glory. Help me know You more. Let me see the feast of You that is set before me, so I may delight myself in You alone. Amen."

This is truly a wondrous book that I would suggest you grab up not only for this season, but for every season of life. There is so much to ponder. It is such a small book, but one that leaves a lasting imprint on the heart, bringing the reader to grow closer with Christ.

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

Louie Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of Passion Conferences—a global movement of college-aged people living for the fame of Jesus Christ. A dynamic and effective communicator, Louie holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Shelley, reside in Atlanta. For more information about Passion City Church, visit passioncitychurch.com, and for more about Passion Conferences, visit www.268generation.com.

Friday, November 13, 2015

May I Exchange This, Please?

Oh, what a pretty sweater! It is a must have in my bag. So, I go up to the counter with my gorgeous purchase and leave with a smile. I get home and begin looking at my find just a little better and do you know it has a hole in it? What I thought was perfect is not. What I thought I would love to have no longer makes me smile. How many times have we been there in that exchange line? Sometimes we have a receipt and we can make an exchange, but many times we do not and what happens then? We cannot exchange for something else, something better. We cannot get our money back. We are just stuck with a sweater with a hole in it. But, let's really think about this. Is it really as bad as it seems?

Hey, we are women, right? We can sew! Put a needle and thread in my hand and I can fix that hole. It might not look perfect. It might have just a ripple or two in the seam, but I can patch up that hole. Who needs a new one, I can make this one work just fine! But what happens later on after we wash it? Yep, that hole is no longer tiny, but now stretched and tattered. Really, haven't you been there too? You love the color, the fit and style. You don't want to throw it away. Look what you paid for it. It can be fixed right? Okay, maybe we just wear it around the house. Maybe we just where it to play outside in the snow with the kids. Put a jacket on over it, who will notice? Probably the only one who will notice is me. I know the hole is there. I know it's no longer perfect.

Isn't that like our lives? We didn't sign up to stand in the exchange line. We don't have a receipt. We want to fix what is broken, but can we really? The more we try the bigger the hole gets and now, does anyone really want us around? We want perfection and what do we get? A big hole under our arm! No one else can see the pain, but we can. We walk with it. We try to hide it. We learn to cover it up well. Just don't raise your arm! Just don't let anyone hug me or touch me and I will be okay. Please, don't let anyone ask me how I am. I am praying no one looks close enough to see the hole in my heart. I want to stand in that exchange line and fight until something or someone will help me!!

Jesus, please help me!! Can you hear me screaming? Can you hear me crying out to You? I DON'T WANT THIS AND I WANT TO EXCHANGE IT!! Have you been there to my friend? We think we know what we want. We are sure of what is perfect for us, but after we have worn it a while we now know we picked out the wrong sweater. Why do I go shopping anyway? Why is what I have still not good enough? Why am I always searching for something different? Something more? Am I not content?

Many times we can receive a gift that wasn't on our wish list. Many times we open it in total surprise. What do I do with this now? Oh my, this is not my color? This is not going to fit me! But do we exchange a gift? Do we wear it with a smile? Do we dare give it to another? Most of the time we wouldn't want anyone else to wear it either. We know it's scratchy. It's uncomfortable. It's just downright ugly!

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Matthew 5:3-12

Life is choice. In our choices it is our attitude that matters most. Sometimes our gifts we receive are from plan old consequences of our actions. Sometimes we just need to wear those until they wear completely out. That way we remember not to go back in that store again. Sometimes, life sends a package we didn't expect and we find ourselves wondering why someone would send something so ugly. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many times we don't understand how much time grandma put into knitting that sweater. We don't see Aunt Sally saving every dime to purchase the sweater she can while she does without. Once we take our eyes off our own sorry selves and begin to see the sweater we soon see the story behind each and every stitch. We see the love in the gift even it's something unexpected, something unwanted. Those unexpected and unwanted gifts are still gifts, they just carry different meanings. Sometimes you just have to put on the sweater and wear it for a bit to understand it really is the perfect fit.

We can go to the Lord with our sweater in hand. We can exchange our sorrow or joy. We can exchange our pain for laughter. We can exchange our bitterness for  forgiveness. Our anger for peace. Our meanness for kindness. Our complacency for zeal. Our gossip for love. Our rebellion for obedience. Our selfishness to selflessness. Neglect for faithfulness. Our unbelief to trust. Our failure into hope. Do you see the pattern here my friends?  We can exchange our brokenness for healing. We can exchange fear for faith. When we are dealt something we do not want, we can go to God and exchange it for His will. Might all our exchanges be for His will and not our own. We suffer so much in the sweaters we wear. We wear them with such anger and hate. We wear them with jealousy and envy. We can exchange our worldly desires for God's will. We can exchange our selfish attitudes for attitudes reflecting Christ. May we make that exchange line about Christ and not ourselves. Might we see those standing next to us and see the sweater within their hand too. What we want is not necessarily what we need. Our wants and needs to two totally different things. Sometimes we need to wear what we don't want so we can see what it is we do need.

Our heavenly Father paid the price for our red sweater. He stood there in line so that we didnt' have to. See, He has already made the exchange. His life for ours. May we begin to look at our sweater with a new hope, a new faith, and a new trust. Might we love the sweater we are wearing. Don't be so quick to trade it in. It might seem a little tight, a little lose, or maybe just something you would never pick out for yourself, but lets remember that God is the perfect shopper.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:8-10

"That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."
Ephesians 4:22-24

"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:31-32

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

Empty Me

Lord Jesus, empty me of {everything} that keeps me from being close to You. Don't allow the things of this world to change me. Don't allow me to be become numb. I want to feel.  I want to be moved by {everything} around me. I want to see in a new way. To hear like never before. 

Jesus, I want my life to become Yours. I want {everything} about me to shine to Jesus to the world before me. Yes! I want to reflect Your love onto everyone that crosses my path.


I want to express You through {everything} I do. I don't want to go through the motions of the day and not be aware of those around me. 

I want to experience {everything} You have for me. I want to more than talk the talk. I want to walk the walk. I want my actions to speak of You. I pray my words bring You glory. 

As You empty me of {everything} unworthy of You, Lord, fill me with {everything} that speak of You. Breathe into me what is pure and holy. Remove all that is chard. Heal the broken. Speak to my heart. Change me to look more like You, Jesus. Yes, my prayer today that is You take my life and make it new. Create in me something beautiful and unique. I don't want to follow the world. I don't want You to be hidden in my sin, but expose my sin, and free me of the chains that hold me down. Lord, I want to soar with You. I want to experience life in a new and bold way. 

Leave yesterday behind me and give me courage to stand in today and hope in tomorrow. I want to be free, Jesus. I want to escape the mold. I want to do something different. I want to stand out and be me. The me that You created me to be. 

No failures holding me back from {everything} You have for me! No fears to shame me into being stagnant. I want me feet to dance for You and only You. I want to live for an audience of One! Yes, Lord, it is my prayer that You take my life today and change me. I gave You my heart. I surrendered my life to You. But today, Lord, renew me. Allow me to walk in Your Spirit and move for You. Draw me closer to You. May I leave all the junk behind and embrace a freedom in love and forgiveness. 

Remove my inadequacies and replace them with confidence. A confidence that comes from You. May I walk in Your security and find sanctuary in Your holy place. I may I see Your glory in {everything} that surrounds me. May I be humble before You, Lord. No pride in my walk, but grace to be seen. 

May my life shout the love of Jesus. I pray grace and mercy can be seen in my life. I present myself to You today, Lord. Draw me near to You. No more wounds to bleed to me dry. I want my heart to be filled with forgiveness. No bitterness to drown me in pity. Take all of my imperfections, Lord. Take each ash of my life and create simple beauty. 

Today I open my heart my to You, Lord. I breathe in Your Word and I feel Your presence. Replace my {everything} with all of You.  

"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." 
Ephesians 5:1-2

"Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy." 
Ephesians 4:22-24



The Jury Pew

Your following the court case. Your opinion is set. Guilty, guilty, guilty. You can hear the gavel slam down as the verdict is given. You are not even in the court room. You don't even know all the details being read, but you know enough to form an opinion and to you, well, they couldn't look more guilty.

We read the headlines. We see the reports. We make our decisions not based on what we see, but on what we hear. Is it always the truth? There is the question. There are three sides to every story. What Becky says happened, what Angela says happened and somewhere in the middle beckons the truth.

Being a juror would be a difficult job. Most people are called to be a juror at least once in their life. The person who sits before you is awaiting the decision you make based on the information given. We don't take that job lightly. After all a person's life is in the depths of our decision making. We look at the person and try to judge if they are a good person or not. Do they speak with sincerity? Do they seem likable? Do we really pay attention to the facts or do we base our opinion too quickly?

After the verdict is read the jury is polled. We hear guilty read over and over again. In some cases the person sitting before them is not guilty at all. Based on the information given, the eye witness reports and the conclusions of the jury members the verdict is handed down, but not always accurate.

There are times we live our lives in a similar fashion. Call it the "Jury Pew", if you will. You know that pew. You look around to see who is there and who isn't. Then you begin to wonder, "Well, it's been three weeks since Gloria has been here, wonder what's up?" We don't call Gloria to find out if she is okay. We just assume. We hear other whispers as to why she isn't there. Instead of looking for the truth, we gather in the jury pew and make our decision. She must be going down the wrong road. "I knew it!" The gavel comes down.

The church doors close and the pews are filled. The preacher is speaking and a subject blares from the microphone. It's a touchy subject. One that you know, isn't affecting you, but you look around and wonder if John is here to hear the words. "Yep, he's the one the Lord is speaking loud and clear to today." The gavel comes down.

We do it all the time, folks. We hear the news. Patty was in a car crash last night. This was her second crash.  Our thoughts go directly to, "Was she was drinking?" Here comes the gavel once again.

Nancy lost her job last week. Instead of us seeing how we can help her, we jump in with the thoughts, "I wonder why that girl can't hold down a job?" Here is comes. Slam!

Bessy is in the hospital again. Third time this year. She's having a hard time with her health. Ready? The gavel is set. "The Lord must be trying to get her attention. Hope she listens soon."

Yes, we take on the roll of Jury Pew and unlike the jury pool, it isn't pretty. It isn't needed and it only brings shame. There is no justice that comes from the Jury Pew. In fact, most of the verdicts that come down are guilty. Guilty without a doubt. No insanity plea here. No double jeopardy. Just guilty beyond all that we have heard. We don't even have to have the person take the stand. No witness's needed. Just enough information to make our case and there you have it. She must be guilty. Why else would people be talking?

Wasn't it the same for Jesus? Wasn't He found completely guilty without reason? We look back at that time and ponder, "How could they? How could they do that to our Jesus?" Friends, we do it to those around us all the time. We place them on the cross of guilt before they even have a chance to speak for themselves. In fact, we don't even want to hear from them. We would rather hear from those who witnessed the act, or at least those who can tell us their version of what took place.

We hear a person happen to lose their temper and they say a curse word. The first thought, the first words to that person? "Your heart is not right with the Lord?" How can we make that judgement?

"You mean, you watch that television show?" The gavel comes down and as it does you hear, "Sinner, sinner, sinner!" Just who do we think we are to judge others so quickly?

Do we forget that we too are sinners? Do we forget that grace is not just for us, but for all? Forgiveness reaches all those who ask for it. It's time we put our gavel away and maybe just step out of that jury pew and find a new place to sit. One in which we can focus on our relationship with Christ. If we want to find guilt, it shouldn't be too hard if we just look into our own heart.

Before long, this just becomes part of our lives. This feel to call others guilty. It becomes so easy on the lips of those speaking that it is soon called, "I just want to know how to pray for them". Really? Do we really need information to pray for others? No we do not. God already knows the whole story. He knows the need and how to meet it. All He needs from us is to be the vessels for prayer.

You know what we can do? We can encourage and inspire others. We can pray for those that the Lord lays upon our heart. We don't need to look at others based on what we hear, but we need to look to others with the same love that Christ sees us through. Just think what could happen if there were less jury pew and more altar encouragement? We would have revival. The Lord would send down His blessings.

I have to remind myself daily. Sometimes moment by moment. My relationship with Christ is what I need to be concerned with. I need to find what He wants me to change and what He wants to shine through me. I have no business looking at others and telling them what they need to be doing. It's not for me to calculate another person's walk. God has that under control and if we are not careful we get in His way.

What happens? We end up judging others and in turn they want nothing to do with us any longer. They become hurt and so tired of defending themselves that soon they just stay clear of it all so they can find peace in God.

Praise God at the end of my life, the only person before me is Jesus Christ. No jury pew members allowed. May I give the same grace I am given each and every day of my life. May I not assume the actions of another. May I not even utter a word not worthy for God to hear. May all the words that flow from my lips be in love.

We are all on a journey. We too are all on a different page in our walk. We are all different. We all learn different. Instead of judging another, why not simply engage in prayer. Not because we think they are doing wrong, but totally because we love them.

I have sat in that jury pew. It isnt' a pretty place to sit. I too have been on the outside of that jury pew and that is downright disheartening. There is no judgement in fellowship. When we mentor others may we do so through encouragement and example. If we could just lift one another up in love, there would be no room for the jury pew.

"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
Romans 14:12-13 

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others,and you will be forgiven."
Luke 6:37

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Proverbs 31: 8-9

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Colossians 3:13

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
Galatians 5:22-23

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”"
John 13:34-35

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Girl From The Train by Irma Joubert

I love reading works from authors that are new to me and Irma Joubert is brand new to me. She has a writing style all her own. She is a storyteller, but one that is quick with scenes and at times didn't give me time enough in one area before she was leaving and heading to a new scene. I wanted to know more of the characters, see more detail, and feel more passion. 

With that out of the way, this is a gem of a read. Really, once you begin reading, and it took me a while to truly get into the story, it is a story worth reading. 

It was the cover that caught my attention. It's spectacular. The story-line grabbed me and I knew I had to review this new work. 

I love history and works that share about this time in history are those very close to my heart. This novel spans over a fifteen year period. For me, that's a lot to take in and absorb. So much story to share and not enough pages to compose to totally bring me in and allow my heart to travel to another time and place and truly behold all the characters were feeling. 

What I will do is go back and in time give this another try and I know I will walk away with something very different. Maybe that's it. This is one of those gems you just have to take your time with and with imagination and heart it then comes to life. 

Remember, this is only my opinion. This is a beautiful story. For some reason I always felt a bit distracted. But you may pick up this lovely book and gain something totally different and walk away changed. I say give this author a chance to woe you into another time and place. 

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

Irma Joubert International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She's the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa, but this will be her first novel published in English. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

I became a fan of James Rubart after reading and reviewing Soul's Gate, Memory's Door, and Spirit Bridge. Then I read, Book of Days, and I couldn't get enough of this writer who is one of the greatest storytellers of our time. His writing takes the reader on a journey, often to another place and time, but always gives the reader the opportunity to join and a part of what's taking place.


This latest, The Five Times I Met Myself, is no different. It is an unputdownable and one that will leave the soul pondering. That's what I love about James Rubart. He changes me. He makes me think. He moves me. He brings faith alive in a novel in ways most can only dream. Yes, he brings the black and white to life and this newest gem is remarkable.

Everything in this novel flows and does so in such a way that you are so captivated that you can't put it down and once it is down you want to pick it back up and start again!

He magnifies the imagination and brings to life stories that in many cases we can find ourselves in and relate to these characters that are needing something more and finding that in Jesus is everything they will ever need.

This is one of those novels that will leave you wanting more and anticipating his next release. I'm always looking forward to a new James Rubart extraordinaire!!

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms as well as Book of Days, The Chair, Soul's Gate, Memory's Door, and Spirit Bridge. He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest. Website: www.jameslrubart.com Twitter: @jameslrubart Facebook: JamesLRubart

The Winner The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer is......Shona Neff!!

Hi friends, I just wanted to share the winner of, The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer is Ms. Shona Neff. Thank you all for entering. Check in often as I will be having more give-a-ways. 

Pop in and check out my review of this amazing study. It's one that will truly bless you and set you on a course of living in Victory. 

This book and give-a-way was a gift from Lifeway and B&H Publishing for sharing my review with you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Amish Christmas at North Star by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert

I have to be honest. Amish fiction isn't doesn't usually attract me, but these authors are extraordinary and seeing them together only made me curious and I knew without a doubt this book would be a blessing and that's exactly what is was. 

Four stories connected, but all different, Guiding Star, Mourning Star, In the Stars, and Star of Grace,  all bringing something special to the heart of the reader. If you are a lover of Amish fiction you will treasure these stories that will grab your heart and give way for you to ponder the God above who is forever in control. 

These stories easily flowed, the characters were believable, and the situations realistic. Faith-based stories that brings the reader excited to turn pages and see what's next. 

This is a Christmas gem of a read. Snuggle in with your favorite drink and soak up emotions that will only have you doing some heart searching of your own. I loved how these stories began by being connected and then we get to witness their lives as God in moved in unexpected ways. 

This book was a gift from WaterBrook Multnomah for sharing my review with you. 

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.

Katie Ganshert Christy Award finalist, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime before they are fifty.

Amanda Flower is an Agatha Award-nominated author. She also writes the national bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries, including Murder, Simply Served and Murder, Simply Stitched under the name Isabella Alan.



Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae

I was totally surprised by this gem penned by this gifted woman of such grace. I didn't know what to expect. It was the cover that caught my attention. The description gave little information, but let me share that it didn't do justice to all this extraordinary book contains.

Sarah Mae challenged me to dream again. To imagine and ponder even the smallest of things. I could relate to her on so many levels. She wasn't preaching. She was transparently opening the depths of her soul to reach mine.

Oh, how I love to dream. But so much has distracted me. Satan has chased me, but here in these black and white pages Sarah brings to light our Jesus who created me and planned my life with glory and spectacular excitement for a journey that is unimaginable to me.

She shares her life, her blessings and tragedies. She shares what most keep hidden in the darkest places so no other can bring judgement. Sarah is that busy mom and wife. We get lost in titles and forget that we are much more than a title. Our dreams get lost in the piles of laundry and the stress of the day.

This book gives way for women like me who sometimes want to give up. This is one of those gems for every mother. Really for every Christian that thinks dreaming is silly or a waste of time. God gives us dreams to explore. Some are from God, some of our self desires. That's for us to work out with our Savior.

I opened this book last night and got lost within the pages underlining Sarah's words of encouragement and hope. She inspires. She's that friend you have yet to meet, but feel like you could already be sisters. Kindred spirits of Jesus chicks wanting to be everything God calls us to be.

Sarah opens with this: "What are you longing for, deep down in the depths of your soul? Take some time and think on it, getting to the root of your heart's desire. What fears do you have when it comes to your longings? Are you hurt, scared, angry, or sad about them? Offer your longings to the One who made you who are. Ask Him to teach you what you do not see. Ask Him to help you to see Him for who He is: good and compassionate and a Father who cares about your dreams, a Father who delights in you." 

Friends, it only gets better throughout this book. This is one where Sarah shares her dream of Paris. What's your Paris? It's never too late to dream and this is what Sarah shares with us.

Sarah, to you I say, magnifique!!

This book was a gift from Tyndale for sharing my review with you.

Sarah Mae  listed as one of Christian Broadcasting Network's "Six Women Leaders to Follow on Twitter," is an influential Christian blogger, conference co-host, and coauthor with Sally Clarkson of the bestselling book, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.
Because of her drive to inspire women to hold fast to Jesus and to live by faith, Sarah Mae has cultivated blogs and websites that have encouraged thousands of women all over the world. She is the author of several bestselling e-books, a contributing writer to DaySpring's (in)courage, and the founder and co-host of Alume, a national Christian women's blogging conference that has sold out each year.
Those are her street creds.
In her everyday life, she is a wife who passionately supports her husband, even on the days when he drives her crazy (and, don't you know, she drives him crazy sometimes, too), a mom to three of her favorite people whom she homeschools, and a piecrust botcher. Oh yes, she bakes, but it's never pretty.
She makes her home in the beautiful Amish countryside of Pennsylvania where she often ponders what life would be like if she actually finished all the laundry.
You can find her at sarahmae.com.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer and Give-A-Way!!!

The Armor of God is one magnificent study, but then again everything this powerful and humble woman of God does brings blessings. I've read many of Priscilla's books and each and every one has given me the tools I needed to walk this Jesus girl life with more intention, more grace, more mercy, and more empowerment through a more determined study of the Word.

You can take a peek at my reviews of The Resolution for Women and Life InterruptedDiscerning the Voice of God, and God is Able. Priscilla is that down to earth kind of girl. The girl next door that you would love to share coffee. The wisdom and transparency she brings into these black and white pages is astonishing. I am growing into the woman of Christ He has called me to be. Much of that is the blessings I have received from studying with Priscilla. 

This study is divided into a seven week study. This book is meant to go along with the videos  that correlate with this extraordinary study on the armor of God. You can purchase the leader kit. You can take a peek at any of these links I've provided to find out more about this study and what is right for your need. It would be great for a Sunday school class, a weekly study with friends, or a personal study just for you. While reading this book I found that it's incredible on it's own, but I think viewing the videos would help in giving more knowledge that could only add to this wonderful study on it's own. 

This study is divided up in seven weekly lessons along with five daily lessons to study throughout the week. Of course you can follow along with this plan or you could just study at your own pace. Soaking everything in and allowing the Spirit to speak and to move you. I found myself reading a paragraph and going back over it to read it again. There is just so much valuable information. This book is jam packed with tools that will help you understand the armor of God and just why each of us need to be determined in putting it on daily. 

My copy is highlighted, underlined, and has tons of personal notes that cover the pages. This study on Satan and his tactics is just what I needed and it arrived in God's perfect timing. Too often we blame a situation or a person, when in fact that's another of Satan's schemes to keep us focused off of him and on the problem at hand. When we take time to step back and look at everything it's easy to see he is on the attack and knows exactly where to attack. Priscilla used the analogy of a military who is gathering as much intel as possible to use against the enemy. We are Satan's enemy. But....He has no power or dominion over us when we are a child of God!! 

Priscilla gives verse after verse that empower the reader. That's huge for me when a writer/teacher doesn't just share their personal opinion. She uses the Word of God and brings her personal stories to highlight God's goodness and power in her life. 

The lessons are not super long. I give myself about an hour for each study, but that's all the readers choice. You can spend as much time as you like. But Priscilla gives the option of going deeper. Another attribute I love and admire about this woman. 

So Priscilla wraps this study around Ephesians 6:10-19, but she takes us on a journey through many scriptures that binds everything together. I just want to share a few highlights that has had an impact on me while studying:

"Remember the intel that God's Spirit is giving you is not just a list of things to know. It's a divine strategy being given by god to take into the fight. The enemy has been gathering intel to develop a strategy against you. This is your chance to gather information to craft a strategy for victory against him."

"This is the invisible, unseen realm in which the cosmic battle originates and rages, where real activity is even now taking place that directly affects our circumstances. Weapons and artillery that might be impressive and impactful in fighting an earthy battle do not work in this realm. Only those weapons divinely sanctioned and authorized by God (which are the ones we're going to learn to use in this study) can have any effect in a battle like this."

"Satan knows he cannot destroy you. Too late for that. The best he can do (and he intends to make full use of it) is to make your time on earth futile and unproductive, to suffocate you with sin, insecurity, fear, and discouragement until you are unable to live freely and fully. He can't "unseat" you, but he can intimidate you and render you ineffective and paralyzed." 

"He knows that you, as a daughter of God, cannot be destroyed. But he has other goals in the meantime: to distract you, discourage you, divide you from others, and disable you from experiencing everything that is rightfully yours as an adopted member of God's family. He wants to terrorize you until you're rendered incapacitated, miserable, and incapable of living in the benefits of a victory that has already been won." 

That's good stuff, right? There is much too much to share in this space, but Priscilla goes far beyond the schemes of Satan. She brings us to the Word and teaches us how to be aware, to stand firm, and be ready for the battle. This is one of those studies that sticks with you. One that makes perfect sense as you're reading. One that brings new insight. Priscilla gives the reader a calling to pray and pray with detail. Grab a cup of coffee, get your best study Bible and get yourself ready for a journey to fight Satan, learning to live in the victory that has already been won. 

Lifeway was kind and generous to offer me an extra copy to share with one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment along with your email so that I will be able to contact the winner!! I will announce the winner next Thursday, November 19. 

This book was a gift from B&H Publishing Group and Lifeway for sharing my review with you. 

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