Where is Wisdom by Scott James, is a great book for elementary aged kids.
If you would like a book to teach your kids about the wisdom of God, this is the book for your family. With poetic descriptions, inspired by the chapter Job 28, and incredible illustrations, this is a winner.
Scott James serves as an Elder at The Church at Brook Hills. He and his wife Jaime have four children—Will, Kirstine, Benjamin, & Bethan—who served as the inspiration and original audience for this Advent devotional.
They live in Birmingham, Alabama where Scott works as a pediatric physician. Scott serves in the children’s and youth ministries at Brook Hills and is passionate about helping families grow together in Christ.
Letters to My Students, by Jason K. Allen, is meant to equip pastors and missionaries for their ministries.
As President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Allen has more than enough expertise to back up his points from the book.
Allen focuses the most on expository preaching, which isn’t bad in of itself, but as a previous Bible student myself (different college), I don’t agree with him.
Narrative preaching has it’s place, to help us understand the biblical people as people. People mentioned in the Bible are not just characters in a story. However, I do agree narrative preaching is not meant to be the main form of preaching and teaching Scripture.
I do think, however, Allen does a good job at instructing his students to be prepared for careers as preachers or missionaries. It is not a calling to be taken lightly.
I might recommend this book to other Bible students, as a resource or point of reference, as far as the sermon style debate goes. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for the average Christian.
About the Author
Jason K. Allen is the fifth president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
Since coming to Midwestern, he has led the institution to become one of the largest and fastest growing seminaries in North America.
In addition to his role as president, Dr. Allen serves as an associate professor for preaching and pastoral ministry.
More broadly, he serves the church through his preaching and writing ministries.
He is the author or editor of several books, including The SBC and the 21st Century, Discerning Your Call to Ministry, Being a Christian, and Portraits of a Pastor.
Dr. Allen regularly posts essays on his website, jasonkallen.com, and hosts a weekly podcast, Preaching and Preachers. He and his wife, Karen, are both from Mobile, Ala., and have five children: Anne-Marie, Caroline, William, Alden, and Elizabeth.
After watching I Still Believe tonight, I am in awe of the power of God, yet again!
I Still Believe
This movie is based on the true story of famous Christian singer, Jeremy Camp; of his rise to fame and his beautiful love story of him and his first wife.
My heart both hurts and is joyful. So full of the Holy Spirit, I can’t sleep without telling you all about it.
Our faith is strengthened by adversity and struggles, not cupcakes and unicorns- sorry to disappoint you.
This time in our lives is so unique in that everyone is struggling. Everyone is acknowledging a common struggle and banding together to find hope.
The problem is, anything they find that’s not Jesus will disappoint and fail them.
Now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to share your faith. Time and resources are not an excuse in a quarantined world.
What are you waiting for?
Speak up and let your faith do the talking. Be real, be honest, be faithful.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
Big and Little Activity Devotional by Rachel Swanson, is a great book for all ages!
Not only are there activities for kids and adults, the book is laid out so that the child and adult can do the same activity at the same time (and age appropriate to each one). The book literally folds open facing the adult and the child at the same time.
Not only that, each page contains a biblical devotional for you and your child to learn and discuss together.
I highly recommend this activity book for families seeking to do fun, interactive devotionals for their kids.
I have been doing a study lately, called “Habits” by Life Church, on the YouVersion Bible app.
Though it is a short, well written devotional, it is so convicting! A sword of the Spirit piercing right through my heart.
Yes, I did choose to read this on purpose, because I know I needed to hear truth about my habits from God’s Word.
Our habits don’t just happen – they are triggered by a desire or need we seek to meet.
Today’s devotional talked about the habit loop: cue, routine, and reward.
For example, you sit down to watch TV at night (cue), grab a tasty snack (routine), and your body feels better from positive chemicals released in your body (reward).
Ouch!! So convicting! This has been a constant struggle for me to break this habit.
Since our bodies store more fat from food we eat at night, and the food keeps me awake, I’ve been reminding myself of a different reward. Better sleep!
However, when I get the snack craving, mint gum works for me. It actually tricks my body into thinking I’m not hungry.
Also, sometimes you think you are hungry, you are really just tired or thirsty – same chemical in the body is so confusing sometimes!
Scriptures to Reflect
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.“
James 1:12-25 ESV
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.“
Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV
“…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.“
Psalms 26:2 NIV
“Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;“
Know you are not alone in having bad habits to break. Don’t be afraid to make the first step, just because you might mess up. Get back up, and try again. God is faithful to help you and give you a way out, to resist temptation.
Remember, life isn’t just the here and now – with Jesus, it’s forever.
Helps put your life in perspective and ask yourself,
“Will this affect my eternity?“
“Will this still matter to me later in life?”
Be wise with the time you have in this life – don’t waste it.
So I realized something today. I haven’t been using my voice.
I have been letting my insecurities and doubts and fears keep me from sharing my heart and letting my voice be heard; not letting my light shine, for the good of others.
Anyone else struggle the same way? You have so much to say, but are too afraid to say it?
Just last night, I was monologuing to my husband (I do this a lot, but he is so gracious to let me verbally process). At some point in the conversation, I asked him,
“Will there ever be a time when we don’t struggle?
Why is life so full when we try to keep it simple and slow paced?
Why is life so hard?”
The struggle is real. The struggle is constant. The struggle is exhausting. The struggle is depressing.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. …
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he hasstood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:2-8, 12 ESV)
Can I get an Amen on that one? This is my life right now! So much struggle, trial, testing and battering my faith from all sides.
Yet, I feel this inner strength I never had before.
Things that once shook me up or make me freak out, don’t get a rise out of me anymore. I’m able to show more grace, because I am more secure in the love and trustworthiness of God than I have been, for a long time.
You may be asking, really? Is that even possible? Yes it’s possible, but it takes time.
This is coming from a mama of five, miscarried one of them, and the other four are 5 yrs old and under. Trust me, the comments never end.
Again, this is coming from a woman who struggles with anxiety and depression after having said kids, but has probably struggled with it for much longer. I wish I could go back and tell me teenage self, “Don’t be so afraid to get help and admit you are struggling.”
People Need People
We are all human. This is not an excuse for our sin, it is the reason we sin, because we were born sinful, after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
One thing I’ve learned through all of this – everyone struggles with something (or many things). We need friends and family who can help and support us through these rough times. We can’t do it alone, no matter how many times we may try (ME!).
Here’s your challenge: Share one struggle with someone you trust, someone who’s been there. It might be asking a lot of some of you, but we need people we can count on, especially Jesus.
But if you really don’t have anyone to talk to, God is always there, first and foremost. No excuses, be brave and use your voice!
You will be surprised how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders!
Don’t let your fear keep you from freedom. Don’t let your voice be silenced – you have something important to say. That something could be the life changing something someone else needs to hear.
The Long Walk Home: Discovering the Fullness of Life in the love of the Father, by Matt Carter, was a refreshing new perspective of the biblical account, the prodigal son.
This analysis includes a good balance of biblical exegesis, anecdote, historical and cultural examples and weaves them together smoothly.
In addition to Carter’s touching personal testimony, woven with strong biblical teaching and application, the author mentions other well-known pastors and speakers, such as Dr. John Piper and Louie Giglio.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is struggling with their past, but desire a renewed future in Christ.
About the Author
Matt Carter serves as the Pastor of Preaching and Vision at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, which has grown from a core team of fifteen to more than eight-thousand attending each Sunday since he planted it in 2002.
Matt has co-authored multiple books including a commentary on the Gospel of John in The Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series and two group studies, Creation Unraveled and Creation Restored, which traced the gospel message through the book of Genesis.
He holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary and a Doctorate in Expositional Preaching from Southeastern Seminary. He and his wife Jennifer have been married for more than twenty years, and they have three children, John Daniel, Annie, and Samuel.
The Promises of God Bible Storybook revolutionizes the concept of a children’s Bible.
Not only does author, Jennifer Lyell, tell well-known biblical content and stories, but she also includes very important parts of Scripture not often included in children’s material.
Additionally, this Bible Storybook differs from others on the market.
It specifically focuses on the promises God makes throughout the entirety of Scripture, connecting the dots across biblical history.
I highly admire and value these sentiments.
Not only is this storybook filled with quality, biblical content, but incredible illustrations as well. The detail and the rare scenes of the Bible illustrated are quite remarkable and in a realistic style.
As an author, blogger, and parent myself, I highly recommend this book for families. Parents desiring to teach your children the promises of God, and teaching then the continuity of Scripture throughout.
This is one of the only children’s Bibles to include books of the Bible, such as Job, Isaiah, Galatians, and Revelation (to name a few).
About the Author
Jennifer Lyell has taught hundreds of children the Bible over the course of many years and finds her joy in those end-of- the-year Sunday School classes when the children teach it back to her.
Granted, teaching kiddos might be her passion, but it’s not her day job. For that she serves as Director of Book Publishing and Merchandising at LifeWay Christian Resources.
The hundreds of titles that the books business team has acquired, developed, or managed under Jennifer’s leadership include more than a dozen New York Times bestsellers, as well as multiple Christianity Today Book of the Year winners. Jennifer is an often off-the-path hiker who is happiest when adventuring (just like a child!).