Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“90 Days with the God Who Speaks” by B&H Publishing Group

Content

90 Days with the God Who Speaks, by B&H Publishing Group, is a 90 day devotional for men and women of all ages.

This particular devotional focuses on Christ throughout the Bible, through the storyline of Scripture and essential biblical doctrine.

Interestingly, this devotional’s content is based on “The Gospel Project” curriculum. This is a widely known biblical curriculum.

As well as great foundational content, this book includes biblical narrative, personal application, personal reflection questions, and prayer prompts.

Each day is only 2-3 small pages long, easy to fit into anyone’s busy schedule.

Review

For myself, I liked that this devotional’s content is biblically focuses, doctrinally accurate, personally applicable, and teachers the reader doctrine and biblical truth.

I also thought it was clever for the publisher to use the wi-fi symbol to draw the audience in. The book itself is small, yet durable – great for on the go devotionals in the coffee shop. I highly recommend this devotional.

About the Author

B&H Publishing Group, an imprint of LifeWay Christian Resources, is a team that believes Every Word Matters®. We seek to provide intentional, biblical content that positively impacts the hearts and minds of people, cultivating lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ.

Posted in My Faith, Uncategorized

Motherhood – “I need a vacation!”

A shout out to all you mamas (and dads) out there. Our job as parents is incredibly hard!

Today was a Nightmare!

Today, for example, my kids would not stop nagging, whining, and screaming over EVERY LITTLE THING! My brain literally feels like it is frying as the days goes on.

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As a mom, staying at home, an author working from home, in ministry with my husband – my jobs are never done.

I want to crawl into the fetal position and never get out of bed, when I think of all the things I should be doing, have gotten done, or will have to do.

I NEED A BREAK!!!!

As my mom always says, “Stop the world, I want to get off!” Yes, that about sums up how I feel this very moment.

“Mom’s Night Out”

From Youtube.com

Now, I’m picturing the movie, “Mom’s Night Out,” when the chaos of four different moms’ lives implodes all at once.

“I love my kids, I love my husband, I love my minivan – my mini van rocks! Then why do I feel this way (so unhappy)?”

Again, I love my family, I love my jobs, but some days are just too much.

Encouragement

sunset beach people sunrise
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All I wanted to say was I hear you, I’m with you, and we can survive this season of our lives.

Let’s encourage one another in our victories and check in on one another regularly.

crop person touch palms with newborn baby on gray backdrop
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Above all, seek God’s peace and wisdom for ourselves and our parenting in the Holy Bible.

If you don’t know where to start, Proverbs or Psalms are good ones to try.

Be blessed, get rest, and give your children over to God. Only He can change their hearts.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“Where is Wisdom?” by Scott James

Where is Wisdom by Scott James, is a great book for elementary aged kids.

Content

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.

Video: Where is Wisdom? from Scott James – Look Inside

Recommendation

When I read it to my own kids, they couldn’t stop saying, “Wow! That book is amazing!” I’d highly recommend this book.

About the Author

Video: Where is Wisdom? from Scott James

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.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“Mercy for Today: A Daily Prayer from Psalm 51” by Jonathan Parnell

Mercy for Today: A Daily Prayer from Psalm 51, by Jonathan Parnell, is a great dive into Psalm 51!

Content

Parnell’s focus in on the mercy of God, and seeking God in daily prayer.

He talks about Psalm 51 being written by King David, when the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adultery and murder.

Parnell digs deep into Scripture, while reflecting on his own personal experiences and applications of the psalm.

Review

I like the unique publishing format of this book and I learned a lot from it. I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling to see God’s mercy in their lives, it will change you!

About the Author

Jonathan Parnell is the lead pastor of Cities Church in Minneapolis-St.Paul, a church he and his team planted in 2015.

Jonathan Parnell

He is the Send Network’s City Missionary in the Twin Cities, where he also serves as a church-planting trainer.

He is the author of Never Settle for Normal: The Proven Path to Significance and Happiness (2017) and coauthor of How to Stay Christian in Seminary (2014).

He and his wife, Melissa, live in the Twin Cities with their eight children.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

“Letters to My Students” by Jason K. Allen

Letters to My Students, by Jason K. Allen, is meant to equip pastors and missionaries for their ministries.

Content

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.

Review

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

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.

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith, Uncategorized

“I Still Believe” Movie, 2020

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.

During Quarantine

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.

Scripture

“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.”
‭‭

2 Timothy‬ ‭1:6-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/2ti.1.6-10.niv

Continue reading ““I Still Believe” Movie, 2020”
Posted in Book Reviews

“Big and Little Activity Devotional” by Rachel Swanson

Big and Little Activity Devotional by Rachel Swanson, is a great book for all ages!

Content

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.

Recommendation

I highly recommend this activity book for families seeking to do fun, interactive devotionals for their kids.

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Habit Reflections

I have been doing a study lately, called “Habits” by Life Church, on the YouVersion Bible app.

Habits Devotional

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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.

Habit Loop

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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;

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Be Encouraged

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.

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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.

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Call to Action: Use Your Voice

My Voice

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.

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Anyone else struggle the same way? You have so much to say, but are too afraid to say it?

The Struggle

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?”

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The struggle is real. The struggle is constant. The struggle is exhausting. The struggle is depressing.

Steadfastness Develops

“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. …

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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.

(James 1:2-8, 12 ESV)

Scripture Reflection

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.

Really?

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!).

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Challenge:

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!

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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.

Let your voice be heard!

Posted in Book Reviews

On-the-Go Devotional: 200 Devotions for Teens by Leslie Hudson

Book Review

On-the-Go Devotional: 200 Devotions for Teens, by Leslie Hudson, is a great book to get teens into God’s Word.

Content

No matter busy they are, these short, and to the point devotionals are organized in an appealing and user-friendly way.

Each day is focused on a topic, and includes a verse of Scripture, explaining the passage and how to apply to everyday life. It also gives teens actions steps for that day.

Topics include, for example: humility, worry, joy, freedom, faith, hope, friends, family, salvation, etc.

Recommendation

It only takes one to two minutes to read, but is quality content, highly valuable for teens today.

I highly recommend this devotional for any teen!