Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wish for Christmas Movie Review

Wish for Christmas
Image Used with Permission via the Pureflix Affiliate Program

Wish for Christmas

We LOVE movies.  We used to spend way more that we should at movie rental stores, but then we discovered companies that let you stream movies at home.  For a small monthly fee, they allow you to watch all the movies and television shows you want.  We have saved a lot of money.  My family spends a lot less time watching “regular” TV and we have not been to a movie rental place in ages.  Most of the time, we are streaming our favorite shows and movies.  Even more recently, we learned about PureFlix.  What if your movie streaming company offered only family focused television and films?  What if you had access to a huge library of Christian films or films with Christian themes and life lessons?  PureFlix offers exactly that.

I signed up a few days ago so I am at the very beginning of my free first month.  It only took a few minutes to sign up.  Within seconds after that, I was already enjoying my first PureFlix film, Wish for Christmas.

Teenage girls can be challenging on a good day.  The teen character in Wish for Christmas made my spine crawl from the beginning of the movie.  Talk about needing an “attitude adjustment!”  Wow, I wanted to turn that little blonde tornado over my knee and give her a good old southern “what for.”  Her parents are devout Christians who have raised her in a Godly home with clear boundaries.  As a high school senior, those boundaries cramp her style.  As a self-proclaimed “queen” of the school dance party, she takes charge of the event from planning the decor to declaring herself “queen.”

Imagine her horror when she finds out that the party date has been moved to Christmas Eve.  “Little Missy” knows her parents will not allow her to attend the dance.  The Christmas Eve service at church takes first priority.  Frustrated at the thought of missing the dance and her “mean girl” reign as queen, she wishes that her parents did not believe in God.

She wakes up from her nap and heads down stairs to find that the family nativity scene has been replaced with secular decorations.  Her parents were removing all their Christian home decor and redecorating to reflect their new worldview.  Parental boundaries disappear and so does her parents moral compass.

In the absence of their former Christian convictions, her parents break a promise which hurts the one person she truly cares about.  Watching her parents make decisions that promote their own agenda at the expense of others begins to change her heart.

Will her heart turn back to Jesus?  What about her parents?  Will the character of their Godly home be restored?

Find Wish for Christmas on PureFlix along with a huge selection of other Christmas, Christian, and family films.  I think you’ll love it!

Wish for Christmas

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids

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Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids

We decided to make an old favorite – melted crayon pumpkins!  I love these because they remind me of stained glass.  It is especially pretty when you have several kids who use different colors.  The pumpkins all turn out differently and they look so pretty hanging in a well-lit window.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
First, we placed wax paper on the table.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
We used a pencil sharpener to grate crayon shavings onto the wax paper.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant-Family-Living)
We used several of our favorite fall colors.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
We arranged a clump of green crayon shavings at the spot where the stem should be.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
 We placed a second sheet of wax  paper on top of our crayon shavings.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
We placed a dish towel on top of the second layer of wax paper.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
We used an iron to press and melt the crayon shavings.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
After lifting the iron, we allowed the melted crayons to cool.  We used a sharpie marker to draw the outline of a pumpkin.

Melted Crayon Pumpkin Activity for Kids
Image Credit:  Tina Truelove (Abundant Family Living)
 Finally, we cut out our melted crayon pumpkin.

 We displayed our melted crayon pumpkin in the window.  The colors are pretty and it looks like stained glass artwork.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Raining Fools by Jackie Castle

Raining Fools by Jackie Castle
Images Used by Permission via Celebrate Lit.
Not many people love a good love story as much as I do.  The one thing I love better than a good love story is a good Christian love story.  Raining Fools by Jackie Castle intertwines two Christian love stories in one sweet tale.

Raining Fools:  The Story

Stephen Gaines and Bekka Winters reunite after years of separation.  They had been high school sweethearts until Bekka’s protective brother, Ethan, put a halt to their relationship.  Ethan and Stephen had been music partners until a twist in their relationship sent them down separate paths.  Now Ethan and his love, Haley, are working hard to build a future together around a warm and cozy small town bed and breakfast business.  In addition to helping Haley build her bed and breakfast business, Ethan is working on opening a recording studio, but he needs Bekka’s and Stephen’s help to get started.

Bekka and Stephen must work together to create the video needed to help Ethan open his studio.  Bekka swears she will never let Stephen back into her life.  Is she capable of keeeping Stephen locked out of her heart?

Stephen comes into town with problems of his own.  His life is complicated by a few real world realities to which many readers are bound to relate.  Can he become the man Bekka deserves?  Can he break the barriers she has set in place to protect her heart?

While Stephen and Bekka work together on the video, they notice Ethan’s peculiar habits that reveal a big secret.  What are Ethan and Haley hiding?

What I Like About the Book

I like that most of the characters in Raining Fools seek God’s plan and direction for their lives.  Young readers will surely be impressed by the example of the young people in this book.

I like that Mrs. Castle weaves real world problems and spiritual battles in her story.

I like that the reader will witness a steadfast faith in some characters and changed lives in others.

I love that the reader will realize that a person’s past holds no stronghold over his or her future when he or she allows the Lord to rule the heart.

About the Author

Raining Fools by Jackie Castle
Jackie Castle, Author of Raining Fools
Jackie Castle looks for the extraordinary in every ordinary day that she experiences. She is the author of The White Road Chronicles a fantasy series, The Sentinel Archives for school-age readers, and newly released Madison Creek Bed & Breakfast romance series. She has also published articles and short stories in numerous magazines. She’s enjoyed many crazy adventures from working as a hairstylist, to her bravest quest: teaching children in daycare and elementary schools. Eventually, she settled down to a somewhat safer pursuit of being a Story-weaver.

Now she lives in her comfortable Texas home where she spins entertaining tales and enjoys relaxing in the evenings with her husband Bob, their children and grandchild.

Her favorite pastime, besides reading, is traipsing through her imaginary worlds in search of another story.

Find out more about her shenanigans over at Jackie Castle’s Story World: www.jackiecastle.com. There you can also sign up for her monthly newsletter.

Guest Post from Jackie Castle

I’m best known for my fantasy series, The White Road Chronicles, and I love the make-believe world of Alburnium. But as these stories have traveled towards the ending, I’ve decided to venture into a more modern world. I enjoy a good, clean romance as much as anyone else, and I love writing stories about communities where people band together for the greater good.

So, I came up with Madison Creek, a small town on the verge of dying out. But the people there aren’t ready to give up. They decide that if they band together, maybe they can revive their little lakeside town and make it thrive. 

My husband is from Michigan. I’m from California. We met in the middle: Texas. He’s adapted quite well to the south, loving the hot summers, hot food, and well, he simply likes being warm. Though I miss my moderate California, I’ve also grown to love Texas. Whenever we travel up north to visit his family, we lament over to lack of flavorful food and the ability to stay warm. (Even in the summer we’ve had to wear winter coats!!) 

We are often teased by his family for how we put two syllables into words such as fire, dead and y’all. (Yes, he’s been in Texas long enough now to have developed a bit of a twang). I don’t know how many times we’ve talked about moving up north to open a BBQ joint so there’d be somewhere good to eat. Except, we both hate the cold and I’m sure I’d never survive a Michigan winter. I spent two weeks up there once in December, and swore I’d never do that again. I mean, 4 feet of snow in one night? Good Lord have mercy! 

Basically, that’s how I came up with Haley Madison, the blond Texas gal who inherited her grandpop’s farmland in Madison Creek, Michigan. Her life has been one big mess after another and she’s determined to take this opportunity to set things right. She’s lived on ranches for over half her life and loves to cook a lot of food for folks. (My family was always big on cooking lots of food at holiday gatherings, so it just seems natural.) 

Haley ends up meeting Ethan Winters, who she calls the handsome Yankee that plays a violin. The first book, Snow Belle is about how they meet. The second book, Raining Fools, continues Ethan and Haley’s story in the background. But in Raining Fools, you’ll meet Ethan’s sister Bekka and his best friend, Stephen Gaines who have a history with each other that neither cares to remember, except those old feelings they had for each other refuse to go away. Bekka, though strong in her faith, is uncertain about what God wants her to do with her life. Stephen, a playboy with a troubled past, appreciates his friend’s strong faith, but believes God doesn’t care about the ‘little people.’ At least, not until a series of mishaps has him taking a second look at the Winters’ beliefs.      

What I hope people take away from my story beside an entertaining tale, is that God loves them. That they belong to a kingdom that’s bigger than themselves. That we are stronger together than apart. These are themes that readers can find in my stories. 
I have several more ideas for novels and novellas that will continue Haley and Ethan’s story while we meet various people who visit the B&B when they come to Madison Creek hoping to start a new life. My hope is that readers will come to enjoy visiting this quirky little town as much as I do when I write the stories. Texas might have its spicy food and natural ruggedness, but I do love Michigan’s wild beauty and kindhearted folks. I just love it more in the summertime.
Blog Stops

November 3: Quiet Quilter

November 4: Bibliophile Reviews 

November 5: Daysong Reflections

November 6: Proud to be an autism mom

November 7: Reviewing Novels Online

November 8: Janet Pecorella

November 8: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

November 9: Moments Dipped in Ink

November 10: A Greater Yes

November 11: Blogging With Carol

November 12: inklings and notions

November 13: Carpe Diem

November 14: Abundant Family Living

November 15: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner 

November 16: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations


Amazon Gift Card
In honor of her tour, Jackie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a81d

You’ll find Raining Fools by Jackie Castle here.

Raining Fools by Jackie Castle
Images Used with Permission via Celebrate Lit.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

God’s Plan is Revealed by His Voice (from Discerning the Voice of God, Week 5)

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God’s Plan is Revealed by His Voice
Image Credit:  Matheus Ferrero - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos
In our 5th week  of our Bible Study, Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer, we discussed how God’s voice reveals God’s plan.  We learned that God’s voice is purposeful, invitational, timely, challenging, and interconnected.

The following is my summary of our study in week 5.

God's Plan is Revealed by His Voice

Day 1:  God’s Voice is Purposeful in Revealing God’s Plan

God had a plan for our lives before we were born.  His plan is always best.  We have to decide whether to seek out God’s plan or proceed to follow our own agendas.  While seeking out God’s plan, we must know that God’s voice, His Word, will never ever contradict His character.

Day 2:  God’s Voice is Invitational in Revealing God’s Plan

God wants us to join Him as His plans are revealed to us.
When you see evidence that God is moving, take it as your cue to jump on board and join Him.  The Holy Spirit reveals God’s plan to us as He orchestrates the circumstances of our lives.  When our spiritual eyes are open to see His divine activity on earth, He has allowed us to see them as a way to personally invite us to participate with Him. – Priscilla Shirer
Day 3:  God’s Voice is Timely in Revealing God’s Plan

As I progressed through this part of the study, I remembered the story of David.  I was reminded as we went through Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed (by Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur) that it was 22 years between the time David was appointed to be king over Israel and the time he actually became king.

God’s timing is perfect.  His voice is timely.  God reveals His purposes and His plans in His perfect time.

His timing is not just about me or you.  God’s perfect timing involves His purpose and plan for everyone involved.  His timing is perfect for the development and progression of our own ministries and also those connected to us.

Day 4:  God’s Voice is Challenging in Revealing God’s Plan

God’s plan is not always easy.  He wants us to see what He can do when we admit we can’t do it on our own.  Sometimes God calls us to do things we don’t think we can do.  I’m reminded of the phrase, “God doesn’t call the qualified.  He qualifies the called.”  I don’t know who originally said it, but it is true.  God does not call us based on our own earthly abilities.  He calls us.  Then, He equips us to do what He has called us to do.
His Word causes me to step away from the comfort zone of my natural abilities and into the realm of His supernatural possibilities. – Priscilla Shirer 
 Day 5:  God’s Voice is Interconnected in Revealing God’s Plan

Christian brothers and sisters need one another.  We need to encourage one another and build one another up.
God can and will speak to me and direct me to His will using members of the church. – Priscilla Shirer

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
his has been a short summary of our Bible study for week 5 of Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer.  I encourage you to get your own personal copy and go through the Bible study on your own or in a small group.

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here.

This item is available here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

God’s Character (from Discerning the Voice of God, Week 4)

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God’s Character
Image Credit:  George Hiles - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos
In week 4 of Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer, we learned that God’s voice reveals His character.  The following is my short summary of this week’s lessons.

 God's Character

Day 1:  The Holy Spirit’s goal in revealing God’s will to us is to glorify God.
Anything that doesn’t reflect the character of God is not a message from Him. – Priscilla Shirer 
In this lesson, I was reminded that when I hear God’s voice, it is His call for me to grow closer to Him.

Day 2:  The character of God’s voice is Loving
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1 
The enemy’s voice (Satan’s voice) brings condemnation.  God’s Voice brings conviction.  In this lesson, I was reminded that God wants me to stop dwelling on my past mistakes.  He wants me to focus on His plan and purpose for my future.

Day 3:  The character of God’s voice is peaceful.

The world can only offer peace based upon current circumstances.  God offers a peace that transcends our human understanding.  Through Jesus, we can enjoy peace in spite of our circumstances. 
These things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace. – John 16:33
Day 4:  The character of God’s voice is truthful.

God will not and can not lie.  He only speaks truth.  We can know if we are hearing God’s voice if what we believe He is telling us directly lines up with scripture.  If what we are hearing does not line up with scripture, then we are not hearing the voice of God.

Day 5:  The character of God’s voice is powerful.
The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.  The God of glory thunders.  The Lord thunders above the mighty sea.  The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. – Psalm 29:3-4 
There is so much more to learn in the full Bible study.  I encourage you to think about going through Discerning the Voice of God on your own or in a small group.

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here.

God’s Character
This item is available here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Voice of the Holy Spirit (from Discerning the Voice of God, Week 3)

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The Voice of the Holy Spirit
Image Credit:  Samuel Scrimshaw - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos
We just completed week 3 of Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer.  This week’s topic is The Voice of the Holy Spirit.  The following is my short summary of this section of the Bible study.

 The Voice of the Holy Spirit

Day 1:  The voice of the Holy Spirit is persistent.

God is persistent about turning the hearts and actions of His children toward Him.  Priscilla directs us to 1 Samuel 3 where we learn that it took Samuel a little while to respond to God’s voice.  The Bible tells us that the Lord appeared to Samuel again.  He was persistent.

Day 2:  The voice of the Holy Spirit is personal.

Our God is a personal God.  He seeks to know us personally and individually.  We learned that each individual might have personal convictions that differ from other brothers and sisters in Christ.  Right is right.  Wrong is wrong.  Truth is truth for all believers, but some Christians feel some personal convictions that differ from others.  We should always respect one another’s personal convictions.

Day 3:  The voice of the Holy Spirit is peaceful.

God expects us to nurture peaceful relationships with others.  There are times when we need to state a particular case and this might cause disagreement.  In some circumstances, this cannot be avoided.  We cannot compromise truth just to avoid hurt feelings.  There are times, though, when division might cause a person to fall further from knowing Jesus.  We need to speak the truth in love and pursue peace as much as possible.

Day 4:  The voice of the Holy Spirit is verifiable.
Scripture provides the boundaries into which all of God’s fresh words will fall, even those words concerning our everyday lives. – Priscilla Shirer 
Anything God’s Spirit reveals to you will always match up with what is in the Bible, because all scripture has been given by the Holy Spirit (Timothy 3:16).  He will never contradict Himself – no exceptions. – Priscilla Shirer 
Day 5:  The voice of the Holy Spirit is authoritative.
Like the scribes of Jesus’ day, our own human conscience will seek to reason with us and explain the “why” by presenting factual evidence to support its decision.  When the Holy Spirit speaks, His words come with such sudden, passionate authority that they will produce a holy amazement in you.  The authority of His message will strike your inner man with such a blow that it will shake loose your old agenda and replace it with His new one. – Priscilla Shirer  
You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here.

The Voice of the Holy Spirit
This item is available here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

When Chronic Illness Steals Your Joy

When Chronic Illness Steals Your Joy
When Chronic Illness Steals Your Joy by Tina Truelove

I never expected it.  I never expected to be diagnosed with a chronic illness.

For years, there were signs . . . but I ignored them.    Several of my relatives have Crohn’s Disease so I knew this was something I didn’t want to deal with.  I just wanted it all to go away.

If I ignored my symptoms enough, maybe they would go away.

But they didn’t.

Finally, just a few months ago, I became so sick that I had no choice.  The fevers, the fatigue, the stomach cramps . . . all the signs and symptoms that go along with this dreaded illness became too much for me.  I made the doctor’s appointment.

That doctor’s appointment led to many more doctor’s appointments.  Soon, there was a CT scan, a colonoscopy, an ultrasound, an MRI, and what seemed like countless visits to the gastroenterologist for blood-work and followup visits.  Then, the medications.  I wasn’t happy about the possibility of taking medications for the rest of my life.  But this was my new reality.

Relatives warned me that it might take time to find the right medications and the right dosages.  Time went on and the medications didn’t seem to help.  I knew that it might be hard to say if they helped or not, given how sick I had become, so I had no choice but to take one day at a time.

After awhile, it all started to wear me down.  I was tired of the symptoms.  I had been dealing with them for several years.  Now, I was also tired of the doctor visits, the medications, and being stuck all the time for blood-work.

My joy was gone.

As a Christian, I place great value in spending time with the Lord.  I went to Him in prayer and He placed it up on my heart that He has a plan and a purpose for my suffering.  I asked Him to reveal to me opportunities to use my condition to encourage others.  My joy returned.

Immediately, I began to write down ideas for a devotional geared toward people who suffer from chronic illnesses.  Crohn’s Disease can be a debilitating illness and not something that’s easy to talk about.  There are many other chronic illnesses that are worse.  I wanted others to know the Hope that I know in Jesus.

So, I wrote my first devotional.

When Chronic Illness Steals Your Joy

The topics I cover in my 10 day devotional include the following:

Day 1:  Why Me?
Day 2:  When I Can’t Do the Things I Want to Do
Day 3:  When Other People Don’t Understand
Day 4:  When Treatments Don’t Work the Way I Need Them To
Day 5:  When I Get “Down in the Dumps”
Day 6:  When God Seems Silent
Day 7:  When I Feel Abandoned
Day 8:  When Embarrassment Looms
Day 9:  When Joy Returns
Day 10:  When I Realize My Purpose in My Circumstances

Download my very affordable pdf version here.

When Chronic Illness Steals Your Joy
This item is available here.

Whether you or someone you love suffers from a chronic illness, I hope you find comfort in this little devotional.  If you do find comfort, I would appreciate it if you would leave a short review on the Amazon site.  You are also welcome to leave your thoughts in the comments below.  Let’s encourage one another.
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Holy Spirit (Week 2 Summary from Discerning the Voice of God)

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The Holy Spirit
Image Credit:  Tessa Rampersad - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos

 The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit:  In week two of our ladies Bible study, Discerning the Voice of God, we covered the topic of The Holy Spirit.  God speaks to us through His Spirit of Truth.  God uses whatever means He chooses to speak to His children.  If a person believes God is using sensational means to speak to him or her, it will only be to confirm what His Word and His Spirit says.

In the second day of this week’s study, Priscilla wants us to remember the 5 Ms of correctly hearing God:

1.  Look for the message of the Spirit.

2.  Live in the mode of prayer.

3.  Search out the model of scripture.

4.  Submit to the ministry of Eli.  (This means we should seek wise counsel.)

5.  Expect the mercy of confirmation.
What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things.  It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. – Oswald Chambers
Since the Holy Spirit seeks to fill you and control your conscience in an effort to direct your decisions, He will confirm what He is saying in the small details as well as the major decisions you have to make. – Priscilla Shirer
As we spend more time with God, learn more about Him, and seek a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him, it is much easier to hear His Spirit speak to us.  When we hear Him and desire to obey and please Him, our desires will fall in line with God’s plan for us.
Often, the Spirit’s leading will contradict our logic and feelings; but when we submit, we will experience a deep-rooted peace about our decision. – Priscilla Shirer
One of the things that stood out to me during this week’s study is realizing that God is doing everything He can to reveal His will to me.  I need only listen.

To summarize – Priscilla’s 5 topics for this week’s study of the Holy Spirit are:
  1.  The Miracle of the Holy Spirit
  2. The Conscience and the Holy Spirit.
  3. The Guidance of the Holy Spirit
  4. Transformed by the Holy Spirit
  5. Led by the Holy Spirit
As with all my ladies’ Bible Study posts, this has been a brief summary of the knowledge and wisdom Priscilla Shirer has to offer in her study, Discerning the Voice of God.

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here.

I encourage you to purchase your own copy and go through it with a small group or individually.

The Holy Spirit
This item is available here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

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Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer
Image Credit:  Sarah Diniz Outeiro - Public Domain Image - via Freely Photos

Discerning the Voice of God:  How to Recognize When God Speaks

We have started a new Bible study at church on Wednesday nights.  We are studying Discerning the Voice of God (How to Recognize When God Speaks) by Priscilla Shirer.  The following is a short summary of our study.

One of the very first things Priscilla wants us to know is that to hear Him, we must be His true sheep and He must be our true Shepherd.

If we want to hear God speak, then we must expect to hear Him.  We must also wait patiently for Him to speak.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay. – Habakkuk 2:3
If we are expecting and waiting to hear from the Lord, then we must also be willing to obey His voice when He speaks to us.
Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine. – Exodus 19:5
As we blatantly ignore and disobey God, we build a callous around our spiritual ears so that we don’t hear the voice of God.  He knows if we are pure in our desire to do what He says. – Priscilla Shirer
We must expect His voice, wait for His voice, be willing to obey His voice, and we must listen for His voice.
Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. – Ecclesiastes 5:1-2
After expecting, waiting, obeying, and listening to hear from God, we must have faith in what He says.
Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:22
This has been a short summary of the first week of our six week study.  Priscilla Shirer is a gifted Bible teacher.  She digs much deeper in her book study, Discerning the Voice of God:  How to Recognize When God Speaks.  I encourage you to grab a copy and go through it yourself or with a small group.

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study series here.    

 The leader kit which includes the videos is available here.

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer
This item is available here.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

From Heaven by A.W. Tozer

From Heaven by A.W. Tozer
Image Used by Permission via Moody Publishers
*I received a copy of this book (From Heaven by A.W. Tozer) from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

From Heaven by A.W. Tozer

From Heaven is a collection of sermons by A.W. Tozer for the purpose of creating a 28 day Advent devotional.  Now that I’ve read through From Heaven, I regret that I’ve never read any writings from A.W. Tozer.  His work is filled with theological wisdom and truth.  As I read, I imagined sitting under his teaching in his church.  Those must have been some powerful, life-changing sermons.  He certainly did not mind “stepping on anyone’s toes,” so-to-speak.  His teachings are direct and to-the-point.

In From Heaven, Tozer divides the days leading up to Christmas into 4 weeks, each containing 7 days of devotions.  Each day’s devotion begins with at least one scripture verse.  Then, the next few pages contain excerpts from Tozer’s sermons.

From Heaven is a great devotional for someone who wishes to study the Bible in depth and dig deeper into theology.  Tozer’s sermons are thought-provoking and will likely make the reader want to study further.  I know I do.

If you’re looking for a devotional more strictly devoted to Christmas themes, this is not the one.  Some days are more Christmas-themed than others, focusing on topics such as What the Advent Established, The Meaning of Christmas, The Reason He Came, Christmas Reformation Long Overdue, and Three Truths Behind Christmas.  However, many topics, although theologically sound, are not Christmas-themed.

To summarize:  From Heaven is a great collection of sermons from A.W. Tozer.  I would recommend this book as a daily devotional for that reason.  I would not necessarily recommend it as a Christmas devotional.  For me, it wasn’t “Christmasy” enough.  The fact that it is branded as a Christmas devotional is, in my humble opinion, unintentionally misleading.  It might not be what the reader expected.  Although, I have enjoyed the sermons, it was not what I expected as a Christmas devotional.

From Heaven by A.W. Tozer
This item is available here.

One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall

One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall
Image Used with Permission via Book Look Bloggers
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Today is October 1st.  I know it’s a little early for Christmas but BookLook Bloggers sent me One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall in exchange for my honest review.  I read it with my in-home preschoolers.  We learn about Jesus all year long so anytime is a good time to learn about His birth and the real reason for Christmas.

Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall

Pictures are important for preschoolers.  While I read with them, they love to look at the pages and imagine being there inside the story.  The illustrations in One Small Donkey are colorful and appealing for children.  The book is illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens.

The idea behind the story is to teach children that being the smallest, weakest, or different in any other number of ways doesn’t mean they cannot fulfill a very important purpose.  God has a purpose for everyone.  Everyone is important.

One Small Donkey is a rhyming book about a little donkey who compares himself to mighty stallions.  One day, a shepherd calls on him to do a very important job.  The shepherd’s wife, Mary, is pregnant and they must travel on a long journey.  The small donkey must carry Mary to Bethlehem.  Eventually, they make it to the city but there is no place for them to stay.  Shortly after the small donkey and the young couple make their way to a stable, baby Jesus is born.

My preschoolers thought One Small Donkey was a cute story.  As with many children’s Christmas stories, the authors take a few liberties at adding a few details.  This particular story mentions snow.  I wasn’t there then and I’ve never visited Bethlehem, but I doubt that it snows much, if ever, in the deserts of Israel.  I opened up my Bible and reread the accounts of Jesus’ birth as told in Matthew and Luke.  The minor details added by the author does not change the story of the birth of Jesus nor the meaning of it.

The author makes it clear that Jesus is the only Son of God, the Christ, born in a stable on that night in Bethlehem – and at the same time, makes the point that small people have a big purpose.

Little ones can do big things for God!

Get your copy of One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall here.

One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall
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