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Monday, February 20, 2017

Explore By The Book: 90 Days in John 14-17, Romans, and James

Timothy Keller and Sam Allberry sit alongside you as you open up the treasures of three enriching parts of God’s Word. These inspirational readings are presented in beautiful hardback format, complete with ribbon marker and space for journaling.
Carefully-crafted questions, insightful explanations and helpful prompts to apply the Scriptures to your life will take you to the heart of God’s word and then push God’s word deep into your heart.
These 90 devotionals in John 14-17, Romans and James, taken from the Explore Quarterly range, are a great way to start reading the Bible. If you already spend time each day in God’s word, this book will take you deeper in to the riches of Scripture, drawing you closer to the Lord and gaining fresh appreciation for His love for us in Christ.

Meet the Authors:
Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was pastor of West Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Virginia, for nine years before founding Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons.




Sam Allberry studied theology at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford and has served on staff at St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, and St Mary’s, Maidenhead. He is now part of the team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and also works as UK Editor for The Gospel Coalition. A popular conference speaker, Sam has written several books, including James For You, Is God Anti-Gay, and Lifted. Hobbies include reading, watching The West Wing and anything to do with South-East Asia.



My Thoughts:
So many devotionals are more "story" than substance and Scripture-focused.  I was pleased to see that 90 Days In John 14-17, Romans, James was a refreshing departure from this norm.  Carl Laferton, Editorial Director for The Good Book company, in the introduction encourages users of this resource to view each devotional in the book to be viewed not "as snacks, view them as meals" and encourages taking at least 30 minutes for each.  Carl even gives helpful insight into how to approach the scripture given for each day.
While some guidance (devotional thought) is given each day, the greater focus is given to helping the reader focus on giving keen eyes and thought toward God's Word.  Readers will find helpful introspective questions that guide you through a study and personal application of the Scripture focus for that day.  Each day also includes a whole blank lined page for notes or written prayers.
90 Days In John 14-17, Romans, James would be a perfect devotional/study guide for personal use or would even be a good resource for a one on one discipleship guide or small group study.
*I was given a complimentary copy of the resource.  All opinions are my own.

Blessings,
Jennifer

Friday, February 10, 2017

Control Girl

About the author:

Shannon Popkin is a wife and mom, a speaker and teacher, and a leader of small group studies. She's been published by "Family Fun," "MOMsense," "Focus on the Family Magazine," and other outlets. She is a contributing blogger for True Woman.com and has blogged for several years at shannonpopkin.com. "Control Girl" is her first book.
Find out more about Shannon at shannonpopkin.com.
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About the book: 

Tension, anger, fear, anxiety-it all begins with a heart that craves control.
Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God's, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.
Thankfully, there is a better way.
Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and
about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.
Learn how you too can lay down this burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who truly is in control.
To see what others are saying about the book visit HERE.
My Thoughts:
In Control Girl, Shannon Popkin uses the examples from seven women in the Bible to show first how control is a burden in our lives and how we can overcome it.  Through a spotlight on the lives of Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Miriam, Popkin teaches readers how "surrender to God is what guards us against lives of white-knuckled misery...Jesus invites us to follow Him on a path of surrender to a place where God is in control and we are free."
I think we as women have a natural desire to "mother" and control so that everything stays alright for everyone around us.  At least it begins that way.  I have found in my own life that control quickly turns into worry which is ultimately a vote of no confidence in the Lord.  Popkin's book is so helpful!  Each chapter is divided into "lessons" where a portion of scripture is given to read and focus on followed by teaching, questions for personal study (more scriptures included) and ends with a scripture for meditation and personal prayer.
Control Girl is a biblical look at the issue of control and trusting God for outcomes. Popkin is a patient teacher guiding readers through the Word of God and not just her opinions.  This resource would be perfect for small group or personal study.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Control Girl Shannon Popkin
Blessings,
Jennifer

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Finding Forgiveness: Discovering the Healing Power of the Gospel



Stanely D. Gale (MEd, MDiv, DMin) has served Christ and congregation as a pastor for thirty years.  He has authored books on prayer, spiritual warfare, the Christian life, evangelism, and biblical worldview (Ecclesiastes).  His ministry website is www.CHOPministry.net.






Finding Forgiveness by Stanely D. Gale is a small 120 page book that packs a powerful punch.  Published by Reformation Heritage Books, Finding Forgiveness covers Forgiveness and the Gospel, Forgiveness as Kingdom Currency, Practicing Forgiveness, Authentic Forgiveness, and What about Forgiving Others?

The thoughts Gale presents in the book are deeply gospel-centered and stand on the solid foundation of God's Word.  The concepts are presented concisely and are deep truths but written so that all can understand them.

"Our sin as believers affects our fellowship with God but not our relationship....We as believers confess oursins not as sinners to a judge but as children to a father.  Confession does not return us to God's good grace but turns us to God's face, from which we turned to follow after sin."
Finding Forgiveness would be an exceptional discipleship tool or even for a special emphasis Sunday School study resource.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Mark of the King



Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman.  Jocelyn lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.

Connect with Jocelyn at www.jocelyngreen.com.





Life in this new world requires more strength than she ever imagined.

After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption.  Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana.  The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects.  The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin.  When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace - and love - can overcome the stigma of the king's mark upon her shoulder.

My Thoughts:
In The Mark of the King, Jocelyn Green takes readers back to the 18th-century frontier.  With masterful description and characterization, she draws readers in and holds their attention until they have turned the last page.  If you enjoy Historical Fiction, you will appreciate the research and attention to detail in this story of 18th-century New Orleans.
Julianne's journey from France to New Orleans is one of overcoming some of the most desperate circumstances to find her true identity and one of hope.
"A fleeting smile lit Julianne's face before her gaze traveled to the Bible on the bureau.  'If we had prayed harder for peace, could we have prevented the arrow from touching you?'  "I don't know," Marc-Paul admitted.  "Certainly the hand of God could have nudged the arrow off its path= and maybe He did, for it didn't strike my heart or head.  But the greater miracle is for us to have peace and grace in our spirits, no matter what the circumstances."
I always try to read whatever book I hold in my hands with a gospel-centered lense.  Some books are easier to see the gospel in play than others.  The Mark of the King was very easy to see an underlying picture of the gospel.  Julianne begins her journey with a mark, literally a brand identifying her as a criminal.  But, she ends her journey with a mark of grace upon her life.  What happens in between is nothing short of the grace upon grace spoken of in the book of James in the Bible.  The Mark of the King should be in your personal library and Jocelyn Green is an author to be followed.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer


Sunday, February 5, 2017

All the Pretty Things


Edie Wadsworth is a speaker, writer, and blogger.  She has been featured in various media including Better Homes and Gardens.  After overcoming her difficult upbringing to become a medical doctor, Edie left her practice in 2007 to raise her family and pursue her love of writing.

You will enjoy connecting with Edie at www.lifeingrace.com.







"I don't know how old I was the night the trailer burned down - or if the rumor was true that Daddy was the one who set in on fire..."

By the ripe old age of ten, Edie Wadsworth knew how to handle a drunk with confidence and even compassion.  Edie loved her daddy with all that was in her, even as her Appalachian childhood was being colored by neglect, hunger, and how many beers Daddy had downed by noon.

When you walk through a fire like this, can beauty rise from the ashes?




My Thoughts:
Edie Wadsworth is a very brave woman.  Not only did she live through unbelievably difficult circumstances throughout her life, she wrote them down for those who choose to do so to read. She allows you and me a peek inside her life.  Edie writes with a transparency and offers readers a gift.  We get to see a real life story of beauty rising from the ashes.  Edie's story is one of perseverance, faith, and amazing grace.  While a memoir, All the Pretty Things reads like a novel.  Edie draws you into her life and writes with Southern charm and wit.  Her's is a beautiful story of redemption.  Readers will be challenged, moved and changed.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennfer

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

You Carried Me: A Daughter's Memoir



Melissa Ohden is founder of the Abortion Survivors Network and an advocate for women, men, and children impacted by abortion.  With a master's degree in social work, she has worked in the fields of substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, and child welfare.

Connect with Melissa and her work:
www.melissaohden.com
youcarriedmebook.com






What happens when an abortion survivor meets her birth mother?

Melissa Ohden is fourteen when she learns that she is the survivor of a botched abortion.  In this intimate memoir, she details her search for her biological parents and her own journey from anger and shame to faith and forgiveness.

This intensely personal story of love and redemption illumines the powerful bond between mother and child that can overcome all odds.






My Thoughts:
You will need a box of tissues right along with your bookmark while reading You Carried Me.  Melissa shares her story of surviving a saline abortion and then the journey to find her birth parents with such brave transparency.  She allows readers into private corners of her heart and life.  But this isn't a sad story of defeat!  This is a story of a brave woman who trusted the One Who holds the number of her days from birth forward.  Melissa allowed the sad and hard parts of her life to aid in molding her into the brave and beautiful woman she is today; a woman who fights for those who have been affected by abortion.  Ohden's story is a view of beauty rising from the ashes.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Blessings,
Jennifer

A Spectacle of Glory: God's Light Shining through Me Every Day



Joni Eareckson Tada is founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, and organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community.  Joni and Friends provide practical and spiritual support to special needs families worldwide.  Joni is the author of numerous bestselling books, including Joni & Ken, Diamonds in the Dust, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning When God Weeps.  Joni and her husband, Ken, reside in Calabasas, California.
For more information, visit www.joniandfriends.org.








Why did God create you?

The Bible says it plainly:  God created you to showcase His glory - to enjoy Him, display Him, and demonstrate His presence every day.

Your life is not too ordinary, your world is not too small, and your work is not too insignificant.  You can be a stage set to glorify God.







My Thoughts:
There is a plethora of "devotionals" to be purchased at your local Christian bookstore.  And sadly, many are nothing more than nice little "feel good" stories with a Scripture of two thrown in for good measure. You will not find that to be the case with A Spectacle of Glory.  In each of the 365 devotional readings, you are given a portion of Scripture (more than one verse for context), devotional thoughts from Joni and a prayer prompt directly related to the portion of Scripture given.  The devotional thoughts aren't nice sounding platitudes, but thoughts toward a Holy God born out of an intimate relationship with Him through the good, bad and ugly of life on Earth.  Spend time with Him each day and experience a spectacle of glory!

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Blessings,
Jennifer