Monday, January 21, 2019

Chosen By Christ

So if you've been following along, then you know this is the second book I've reviewed by Heather Holleman. The first one was Seated with Christ. And I read this one second, it is actually third in this series of books by Holleman on life-changing verbs in Scripture. As of my knowledge, she has written three books and 1 bible study (of which I have 1 copy of each).

So one thing I've noticed about Holleman is that as an English professor who teaches college kids how to write. She writes in such a way that if you did not know she is a college professor, you would ask. The organization and transitions are all there as one would expect of an academic paper. The thesis statement is clear. We gain the framework for the rest of the book at the end of the first chapter (pg 19).

This entire book is about recognizing and living life as though you are chosen for Christ. The way Holleman explains it is when you believe that you are chosen for Christ the way you go about life changes. Not in a way to earn it but as a result of being chosen. The book is organized into three parts: Your present situation, seven invitations, and what if I say yes. Each one is meant to address a specific part of the process of going from living unchosen to living as chosen for Christ. When you read you will notice that chosen is repeated often, to reinforce the word for the reader and remind them during each invitation that they are chosen simply because they chose Jesus and received the gift of salvation.

So I did enjoy this book albeit not as much as I did Seated with Christ. I think Seated felt a bit more of a fluid read than Chosen does. Chosen feels like I'm reading more of an academic paper that is a bit more rigid in the writing style. It was also harder for me to finish Chosen because it did not hold my attention as well. I do recommend it though especially for people who are struggling with their identity in Christ. For those who are not really struggling with their identity in Christ, this book seems to over-reinforce the idea in a way that Seated with Christ did not overuse the word seated.

{FYI: I received this book from the publisher (Moody Publishers) in exchange for my honest opinion.}

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New from Veggie Tales & Jelly Telly!

So you guys know I am always on the hunt for the great homeschooling and learning tools to use with my children and Veggie Tales' new imprint Jelly Telly has released SIX new items this January!!

There are FOUR board books:
  1. God Made the World
  2. God Made Me
  3. God Made Night & Day
  4. God Made the Animals
Check out this video!

That actually tell an interesting story, featuring brothers Clive and Ian, and explain to children about creation. We love these books. They are board books, so no worries about ripped pages. They are bright and colorful. They are biblical. From the 2-year-old to the 7-year-old, we enjoy reading them.

Then, there are the Old Testament & New Testament Coloring books. 
  • Buck Denver's Bible Coloring Book Old Testament Stories
  • Buck Denver's Bible Coloring Book New Testament Stories

My kids LOVE them! There are 60 pages in each book. And the pages are perforated which is awesome since we have 4 kids who often want to color the same thing, I can neatly take the page out and make copies of it. And voila! Everyone can color the same page without any arguing over the page.

What's also awesome is that Jelly Telly is this amazing kids resource that's like a biblical Netflix just for kids. It's about $5 a month or $50 a year. They have access to over 122 shows and movies that are bible based and created specifically FOR children.

After perusing their online store, I realize I cannot wait to order some of their resources, they have a complete bible series called What's in the Bible that goes with the coloring books I received. They also have Bible curriculum which is great for churches' children's ministries and homeschoolers, like us. You can also buy toys and games as well as VBS materials. It's like a one-stop shop for a children's pastor.

I highly recommend! Like, get it asap!

Also here are a few FREE downloads for your kids too!!

Old Testament Coloring Pages
New Testament Coloring Pages

{FYI: I received these books from the publisher in exchange for my HONEST opinion.}

Monday, January 7, 2019

Morning and Evening Prayer Book

This is my first time ever reviewing a prayerbook and I couldn't be more thrilled. It is meant to last the entire year and it has prayers to start the day and end the day. The prayers come from throughout history. There are Old Testament prayers and New Testament Prayers. There are prayers from the Eastern Orthodox church, prayers from the catholic church, prayers from Martin Luther, from Spurgeon. There are prayers from just about every walk of the Christian faith and every era of the Christian faith. And its amazing. It's refreshing and invigorating to pray the prayers of those before us. To have that as a inspiration towards more personal & intimate prayers. And THAT is the purpose of the book.

This book comes as a beautiful deep purple hardback, with a ribbon marker. The paper is fairly thick parchment. It doesn't feel like your usual book paper. Rather it lends an air of ancientness to the book as if to set it apart from any other book you may pick up. The parchment reminds me of what I think a book from hundreds of years ago might be like.  There are also pictures throughout the book, they're usually found depicting an event on the Western Church Calendar (many of the daily prayers follow along with the Church Calendar). Something super helpful to me as I have decided to follow along with the church calendar this year (starting with Advent 2018).

I highly recommend. Especially for those who may struggle to pray. Some days there is no struggle for me to pray and other days I need the assistance.

Below are a few excerpts:

{FYI: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.}

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Praying God's Will for Your Life

Stormie Omartian is highly regarded in Christian circles for her writing and so I was quite interested to finally review a book by her. 

One thing to note from even the beginning chapters of this book is that it is quite personal. It's as if Stormie walks her audience through her life and how she became a Christian. Guiding the reader through becoming a Christian as well. She guides the reader through praying for salvation and if the reader is already a Christian, she guides them through recommiting themselves to Jesus. She recounts how she became a Christian so that others who may be on the fence about becoming a Christian can have that encouragement. 

 The book is organized into three sections: The Intimate Relationship, The Solid Foundation, and the Obedient Walk. Each section focuses on a specific part of the believer's life. The first section is helping the believer come into relationship with Jesus. The second section is to help pour the firm foundation of faith. The third section is living out that faith; obediently walking out the faith.

The chapters are bite sized and have a prayer section at the end of each.  The first four chapters have two prayers: one prayer for the new believer & one prayer for the seasoned believer. The bonus journaling space is at the end of the book. It would have been perfect to have it at the end of each chapter where its easier to journal in response to each chapter. There's also a tools of truth section at the end of each chapter which contain Scripture verses that relate to each chapter. 

At first I was a bit skeptical, but I see why her books are so beloved. This one is good for both the new and the seasoned believer. It requires you to put in work on your end to see results. And it prompts us to open up to the work of the Holy Spirit.

{FYI: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.}

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Silent Noisy Night

A new children's book!
Perfect for this Christmas season!

So I absolutely LOVE this book! It's so bright and colorful. And baby Jesus is a beautiful brown skin baby (won't go into a debate on this). The author takes into account that Jesus was born in a barn and laid in a manger (a feedbox for animals). So if he was born in a barn, he could have easily been surrounded by farm animals and if he was, it is quite believable that they were not quite. They may have been excited about his birth.

I love that the author uses such amazing verbs and sounds and it rhymes. So when we read it (almost every day since it arrived), I tend to sing the last few pages to my kids and (surprisingly) they love it!

And what mom doesn't love a board book. Soft enough for little hands to hold yet sturdy enough that those little yet rowdy hands cannot destroy it.

Look below for an excerpt:

Definitely recommend!! Why not read it during advent with your children?

{As always, I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.}

Preparing Your Heart for Marriage

This is like only the second couples devotional I've ever come across and yet the first one that is specifically for engaged couples. 

Gary Thomas is known for his Christ-centered books for families. Most of them (especially the ones I've read) are on marriage. My favorite is Sacred Marriage. It has really progressed how I view marriage. 

So recently Gary Thomas released this devotional. It is for 30 days prior to marriage and has a day of the wedding devotional for both the bride and the groom. What I love is that the devotions are not expected to be read by just one person, they are expected to be read by both the bride and the groom. AND there are reflection questions for them to discuss. Also, the devotions are about 3 pages each. The devotions are broken down into 3 groups: God's Plan for marriage, Preparing for your vows, & The wedding vows. If you look below at the photos, you'll see the titles of each devotional in each section. One thing to note is that Gary Thomas is addressing the marriage, not the wedding. He isn't addressing the literal wording of the vows BUT the meaning behind those vows and what it looks like in action. He's addressing engaged couples' headspace going into marriage. He's giving them a tool to help them succeed. To know that marriage is full of forgiveness and grace and service unto each other. 

Table of Contents pg 1
Table of contents pg 2

Back cover

This back cover captivated me because it made me think, was I spiritually ready for marriage when I got married 8 1/2 years ago? Honestly no. I was not ready on spiritually and while I thought I was ready emotionally, I actually was not. And because of that, my marriage suffered a bit under my immaturity. There are days now, when it still may suffer from my attitude.

So I recommend this book along with good godly pre-marital counselling (preferably by a neutral party).

{As always, I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my HONEST opinion.}

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Seated with Christ

At first, I was a wee bit skeptical about this book as it is the first I've read by this author. However, I can say it will not be my last.  It is TOO raw and it gets beneath my skin in a way that requires me to self-examine.  This book is organized by section and feature Sit & Savor questions at the end of each chapter. The Sit &  Savor questions take it from being a regular book to one that intreats you to highlight, study, and glean what is shared on the pages. 

So I've learned a few things while reading this book:
  • To be seated in Christ is to be secure in who Christ says you are. He says that we are loved, that He has prepared a place for us in the heavenlies, that we are heirs with Him in the kingdom of God.
  • As one who is seated in Christ, I am not striving for affluence or appearance or attention. I am resting in the Father, knowing that Jesus must become greater and I lesser.
  • Once I accept that I am seated in Christ, it frees me to serve others and share the gospel. It frees me to do what God has called me to do. 
I love that Heather addresses the rat race to be rich. She realizes that God didn't call us to be rich on this earth. He called us to HIMSELF. And if He chooses to bestow riches then so be it but money is NOT an indicator of being within the will of God or salvation. 

There's also a section of the book on living at 60%. To live at 60% means we prioritize what's important and learn to say no to quite a bit so that we are not overextending ourselves. A lot of times as moms we are exhausted and snappy and overwhelmed because we take on too much. We live at 99% so when something does not go according to plan we lose our minds and snap. Our kids feel it and so do our significant others. I think the same can even be said of our finances. (Chapter 9)

Heather also addresses discipleship (although not directly in this term). She started a fitness night and walk to school tradition in her neighborhood which has opened the door for her to be available and to share bible with those within a 1-mile radius of her. (Chapter 9) It's an inspiration for hospitality and creating community. Something that the early church did so well.

A list of questions to ask yourself before making decisions.

I found this list of questions to be quite useful as I often like to rush headlong into decisions without stopping to question if the decision is good. And there is always the ever-present difference between good and almost good. But moreover, these questions allow me to put Jesus at the forefront of everything I do and to reject those things that would not bring Him glory.

quick excerpt

another quick excerpt

This book gets ALL thumbs up! Excellent writing, excellent organization, excellent message. A necessary message. I definitely will continue to recommend (already have done so on social media).

{FYI: I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my HONEST opinion.}

Chosen By Christ

So if you've been following along, then you know this is the second book I've reviewed by Heather Holleman. The first one was Seate...