Brick Builders Illustrated Bible For Children – Review

I have just spent a delightful two hours reading through God’s story.  As the Word always has and always will, this version of the Bible speaks the simple, yet profound, truth in the language of children.

Storytelling is the favored method of Bible writers to point the way to the truth, particularly in the New Testament in the many parables used by Jesus.  In this collection of Old and New Testament stories, by Emily Dammer, the same thing is accomplished in the language of children.

I’m sure young children will love this ‘Bible’.  The illustrations, by Antony Evans, use brick-like figures to illustrate each story.  Each page colorful and eye-catching.

The building blocks at the end of each chapter give life applications in children’s language.  For instance, in the story of Moses God keeps His promises and He will keep you safe are the takeaways.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Brick Builders and can imagine parents and children reading the stories to one another over and over.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Volcanic Momentum – Book Review

How are you spending your time?  Do you have a plan, a goal? Where is your focus?  What is most important to you?  Can you honestly say you are totally aware of the moments you have on this earth?

Volcanic Momentum answers these questions, and more, with valuable words of wisdom from author Jordan Ring.  I found this book to be one of the most usable and sometimes profound books I have read this year.  I’m going to order it in paperback just so I can have this valuable resource at my fingertips.  I know I’ll be reading it again and yes, maybe again.

One of the things I do each year is to select One Word to focus on.  I was delighted to find that recommendation straight away.  One word, one focus, one idea, one goal…  If we don’t know what we’re looking for (i.e., our focus), we have little chance of growth and change.

Being a person who loves lists and being aware of where I am in whatever process I’m involved in, I was delighted with the ones that are in this book.  Some are prompts to get the thought process moving, others are questions to put concepts and goals into focus.   (However, this is not a book of lists.)

Being still, sitting quietly, getting away, whatever you call it is necessary to the creative process.  Our busy world will rush in and take over if we’re not careful.  Sometimes we waste time by being so busy we’ve lost our direction in life.  Finding, actually making, time to know and plan out our direction is hugely important to success and well-being.

One of the most important sections in this book is about being mentored.  Mr. Ring suggests that we meet every week with a mentor.  Interestingly, he makes the point that a mentor doesn’t have to be a live person.  It can be in the pages of a book (Daily Bible reading is mentoring from God.), videos on YouTue or CDs of a favorite speaker, TED talks…  Anything or anyone that encourages you is necessary to your personal growth and needs to be deliberately pursued.

As I commented before, this book is worth the time to read more than once and use as a continuing resource.  Well done, Jordan!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author.  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.”

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Gifts – Book Review

SPIRITUAL GIFTS, WHAT THEY ARE & WHY THEY MATTER

This book was not at all what I expected.  That is not a bad thing because it caused me to think about a concept that is outside my box.  However, I must say, right up front,  this book is not for everyone.  By that I mean if you don’t already have a strong grasp of the Word, and believe it to be totally inerrant, this book is not for you.

Thomas R. Schreiner, the author of Spiritual Gifts, makes a strong case for nuanced (gradual) cessationism (ceasing or stopping) of said gifts.  What does that mean?  He makes the case that there are some gifts that are no longer necessary to the church and therefore, are no longer given to the members.

Prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing, and miracles are those Mr. Schreiner proposes have passed away.  He believes prophecy was needed and necessary while the apostles were alive because the prophets were the foundation of the church.  The words they spoke were directly from God. There are no prophets today because Word has been given and all that’s left is the interpretation of it which is the job of those gifted with preaching/teaching.

He makes a very strong case that speaking in tongues, as practiced by those who believe that various and spontaneous utterances constitute this gift, is not what was meant by the Word and is no longer a gift that is needed by the Church.   He determines that this gift was actually the supernaturally given ability to speak in the languages of those who would be listening.  With the ability to instantly translate any language using cell phones and the internet I would suggest that he’s right on target.

As for miracles and healing, he suggests that people no longer perform in this capacity.  Through prayer and confidence in God’s ability to do all, they are accomplished.

In my opinion, these are the types of discussions that Paul warns us against in Titus 3:9.  No matter where you stand on this issue let me say with total confidence that God is who He says He is and God can do what He says He can do.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B & H Publishing Group. 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.”

The Ark and the Arc

The Jesse Tree – The Ark and the Arc

Time has passed since Adam and Eve.  The earth was becoming populated as God had commanded but, it was a violent, perverted place.  God was not happy at all with what He was seeing.  He had to do something about it.

He called on Noah, the only righteous person He could find.  God told him to build an ark.  Noah has no idea what an ark is but, he’s willing to do what is asked because he trusts God totally.  So, he builds the ark and puts a set of each kind of animal in it as well as his wife (Zipporah), children, and their wives.

And it rains and rains and rains some more.  The entire earth is covered with water.  All the valleys are full.  All the mountains are submerged.  40 days and nights.  No one but Noah, his family, and the animals are left alive.

Then God begins the process of drying it all out.  When everything is ready Noah opens the doors and they walk upon the earth again.  It’s a new earth.  It has new grass, new trees, new everything, including, a special promise with something never seen before.

A rainbow.  A red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet arch in the sky.  Did you know it’s not an arch but a full circle?  All we can see is part of it.  It is not only a physical reminder of God’s promise never to destroy the earth by water again, but it also represents the total perfection of God, His love, and eternity.  It is never ending!

Genesis 6:5-22

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

The Jesse Tree is all about knowing the people God put in place to point to the birth of the one who would save us all.

The Jesse Tree    Day 1    The Creation

The Jesse Tree     Day 2    Sin Enters

The Jesse Tree – Sin Enters

 

Adam and Eve were enjoying the garden (Genesis 3) when a talking ‘snake’ approached them.  Have you known a couple of those?  I’ll bet you have.

How about the ‘friend’ who talks you into doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing.  Like, just run the red light or stop sign.  Or, no one will ever know if you cheat  on …  How about, I know it’s late but just one more … Gossip, put-downs, bullying…

Rationalizing can get us into all kinds of trouble.  And yes, both Adam and Eve started the whole ‘passing the buck’, it’s not my fault, the other person made me do it.  Some no’s are meant to be no.

Have you ever thought about the fact that Adam and Eve had everything?  By God’s design, they had each other, the perfect home, great health, plentiful food and water, God’s presence…  It wasn’t enough.  It never is.  There’s always something more, isn’t there?

That’s what that darn snake wanted them to think.  That it wasn’t enough.  That they could have more.  That God doesn’t always know everything.  In fact, the snake wanted to replace God in their thoughts and lives.

Now, here’s the thing.  Any time we consider replacing God with anything, good or bad, there’s going to be a consequence.  That’s what they didn’t take into account.  The fruit looked good, smelled good, probably even tasted good.  But, God had said no!

Can you imagine the scene when they heard God walking in the garden that evening?  He was looking for them.  He wanted to talk to them.  So, here’s the rub.  It’s impossible to hide from God.  He knows where you are, always.  He knew where Adam and Eve were but, He wanted them to come to Him.

And they did, dressed in leaves.  “What have you done?”  Adam said she made me do it.  Eve said the snake made me do it.  The snake snickered at the whole thing.

God put them out of the garden.  You know the rest of the story, right?  Adam would have to work for all the things that had been his.  Eve would have painful births and would desire her husband.  Both were banished from the garden.

But God knew the rest of the story.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

The Jesse Tree is all about knowing the people God put in place to point to the birth of the one who would save us all.

The Jesse Tree     Day 1     The Creation

Hope Your Heart Needs – Book Review

I am a total fan of Holley Gerth’s work.  Her writing is always spot on for what I need.  Her new devotional is no exception.  There are 52 delightful and encouraging short stories about life and one of God’s many names with a verse and prayer to match.

This small sized book (It fits in my purse!) is jam-packed with just enough theology, just enough humanness, just enough transparency, and just enough of life’s joy, triumph, sorrow, and pain.

5 Favorite Quotes from Hope Your Heart Needs:

  • …rest is not simply the lack of activity but the presence of trust, because trust is a kind of inner leaning, an intentional reliance on someone else. pp. 209
  • Bread of Life, You are the only one who can satisfy the hunger in our lives. pp. 23
  • …He has specific assignments for us during our time on earth… They are original and only for us. pp. 71
  • Faith is not about what we want to happen; it’s about Who we’re trusting in no matter what the future holds. pp. 85
  • When we find our refuge in God, we can be who we are, do what we’re called to do, live without shame and guilt and fear.

And now,  I will go back and read the whole book again.  This time, one day at a time, savoring, sharing, and sensing the life-giving words on these pages.

Thank-you, Holley Gerth!  What a blessing this has been!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing Group. 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.”

The Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree – Day 1 – The Creation

Look at God’s Work!

In the beginning, there was nothing but water and God.

Then, God said, let there be light.  He knew the light meant nothing without darkness.  So he created that, too.  He separated the two and called them day and night, evening and morning.  The first day.

On the second day, God separated the water.  Some on the earth and some in the sky. He also determined there to be dry ground and separated it from the water.  Now, we have land and sea.  A place ready for the next day of work.

Here we are at the morning of the third day.  God tells the land to produce plants and trees that bear seeds and fruit.  And so it is.

God, on the fourth day, puts the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens and sets them in motion.  He knows the plants will need sunshine to produce as He intended.

Now, He creates birds and fish, in the sea and on the land.  He looks out over it all and says, “It is good!”  It’s the end of day 5.

Day 6 is going to be a busy one.  It’s all about creating livestock and animals that move along the ground.  Then He creates mankind.  Man and woman.  He makes them look just like Him.  He tells them to rule and subdue the earth.  He tells them what they can eat.  He looks around and says,  “It is good.”

Then God rests.

The Jesse Tree is all about knowing the genealogy of Jesus.  The people God put in place to point to the birth of the one who would save us all.  Adam and Eve were the first with many more to follow.

The Jesse Tree is a set of posts for the Days of Advent.  I am writing them for the Write 31 Days Challenge.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Friends Forever

I love to watch children as they play.  There is such a freedom to express who they really are.

childrens-play-zone-01We took our God-niece (4-year old) to Macdonald’s Playland for supper and, of course, ate with all the other brave moms, dads, grandparents, and sitters in the community.  Miss Annabelle (AB) was certainly more interested in playing than eating but was only looking at the tubes and slides.  I realized the problem when I remembered that she had commented in the car that someone had told her not to be afraid of the red slide.  I asked the mom sitting next to us if I could introduce AB to her daughter and would she help her negotiate the playland.  So, introductions done, AB and her new friend went off to explore and learn.  A short while later AB said she couldn’t find her friend, who was hiding in the bubble.  She went to find her and had discovered that she didn’t want to play because AB didn’t want to go on the red tube/slide.   A bit later AB came up with a new friend named Emma.  As they played I noticed AB still was playing on the green slide but Emma wasn’t worried about that.  She had a friend and that was what was most important to her.

What a picture of Jesus’ love for us.  He doesn’t care if we don’t want to play on the red tube/slide,  He just wants to be our friend.  What a reminder of James 2:8.  We honor the Royal Law, of which we are a part when we ‘love our neighbors (friends) as ourselves.

What a Friend We Have In Jesus

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Be sure to check out my Linky Parties page for a list of the blog hops this may be attached to.

Sunday Psalms

Psalm 3

LORD, it seems like so many are against me.  They say You are against me.

I know better.  You are my shield.  You lift me up.  I call out to You and You answer.

When I sleep and then awake it is because You have protected and sustained me through the night.  I will not fear what is all around me.

Stand up for me, LORD!  Deliver me!  Strike down my enemies!

I know You will deliver me!  Bless Your people!

 

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Sunday Psalms are the Psalms written in my own words.  They are what they mean to me.  I hope you enjoy this series. When you click on the Psalm number at the top it will take you to the NIV version on BibleGateway.com

Psalm 1

Psalm 2

Complete

…and to have knowledge of the love of Christ which is outside all knowledge, so that you may be made complete as God himself is complete.  Ephesians 3:19 (Bible In Basic English)

 …you will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God. Ephesians 3:19 (God’s Word Translation)

Most translations use fullness instead of completeness.  Both are correct but complete comes closer to the intent.  God’s completeness means that everything is finished.  Every part, bit, and nuance.

You and I are completely, completed creations because Jesus completed, finished, it. Finished in Greek is tetelestai.  It means paid in full.  Every bit of everything thing I owe because of my sin is tetelestai.  It is completed.

Being complete (in Christ) is not a someday thing. We are already complete.  We are totally, completely, whole.  We are completely redeemed, completely loved, completely chosen, completely equipped, and completely forgiven.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I’m joining a flashmob of other writers at Five Minute Friday.  Come joins us!