About Marie

Happily married to the same awesome guy for 47 years. Love God, reading, cats and travel. Avid crafter, especially counted cross stitch and crochet.

The Promises of God – Storybook Bible – Review

The Promises of God Storybook Bible is not just another children’s Bible but one that proves God is always in control, can always be trusted, always loves His children, always provides, always cares, always…

It’s very interesting to read children’s versions of the Bible, especially after having read and taught the ‘adult’ version for so many years.  Because God’s Word is alive and active, any retelling of the story should reiterate those truths that we know so well and allow ‘new’ truths to become real.  For instance, why did Joseph cry when he saw his brothers again.  We’re often taught that it was because he missed them so much, but could it also be that even though he had forgiven them their betrayal still hurt.

God’s sovereignty is a consistent theme throughout the stories, helping children (actually, anyone who reads it) understand that God is in total control of all aspects of life.

I’m always cautious with Paul’s part of the story and presenting it in such a way that children understand that he is being used by God, through his writings, to help the Believers, both then and now, understand God’s Word, Jesus’ life and sacrifice, and how it applies to our everyday lives. Jennifer Lyell does this beautifully. Check out his quote from her words on 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

Paul wrote these letters to the church in Thessalonica thousands of years ago. But God put them in the Bible because they’re also promises for us today, and they have been for followers of Jesus from the beginning.  We are all to wait for Him to come back and not worry about when it will be because God knows the perfect time.  And we are to listen only to teachers who teach what matches the things Jesus taught.  And we should encourage one another to work hard telling people about Jesus like Paul did! (pg. 255)

I shared this book with a delightful family to read and review for me.  Their comments were very positive with only one suggestion which I found quite interesting.  They felt that sometimes the titles were misleading and should have better matched the story and the concept of God’s Promises.

I would have liked to see some of Mrs. Lyell’s stories of the other New Testament writers, like James and Peter, included in this book.

I highly recommend this book.  Jennifer Lyell is an awesome storyteller. It will be an excellent resource for family devotions, Children’s Sunday School and small group teachers.

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.” Should you click on a link and purchase this book I receive no remuneration.

 

 

6 Biblical Ways To Have A Life That God Will Bless

Every time I read through the Bible  I find new and usable insights.  Isaiah is telling the Israelites to get their act together because their lives are not what God expects. In the middle of Chapter 33, I came across six solid, Biblical ways to have a life that God will bless.  (BTW, I don’t try to read through in a year.  I like to do it at my own pace, without the pressure and stress of specific assignments.)

Raise your standard of living

1 – Live right.  Simply said make the right choices.  Know God’s voice and really listen.  As Proverbs 3:5 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.

2 – Speak the truth.  The concept of truth is in so many verses but my favorite is in the 10 Commandments.  Exodus 20:16 says no false witness.  In other words, don’t lie.

3 – Despise exploitation.   How about some synonyms here; misuse, abuse, unfair treatment, oppression.  Take a stand on these issues.  This world is full of people who mistreat others.  Don’t let yourself get caught up in thinking your way is the only way.  Only God’s way is the only way!

4 – Refuse bribes.   If you ______ , then I _________.  Bribes are not always about monetary gain.  Actually, in the simplest way to explain, a bribe tries to get a person what they want by whatever means they can.

5 – Reject violence.  This one is so simple, but so hard to accomplish in this world.  Can you walk away from television, computers, movies, books, magazines, newspapers?  Can you walk away, not read, not listen.  It will be hard, but if you want to raise your personal standard of life then you may have to take a serious, personal inventory of what you are reading, seeing, and hearing. Then make the hard choice to reject violence.

6 – Avoid evil amusements.  Entertainment, pleasure, interest. Essentially we are to avoid those activities that cause us to sin or fall into sin.  There are several lists of these types of activities.  Check out 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-6, or Revelation 22:12-15.  Then do what you have to.

Your standard of living and my standard of living are two different things.  I think we can agree that if we add these six to that standard we can be ‘safe and stable’, ‘nourished and satisfied.”

Oh, LORD, I live in this world.  I know what You want. Help me to take a stand.  Help me to model what is right.  Plant your Word in my heart, nourish me with it, guide me to a healthy, satisfying, moral life.  Make it so in Jesus’ name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Perservere

Each year I choose “One Word” to help focus and define the days ahead.  This time I was quite challenged.  I had prayed and thought and talked and listened and waited.  Finally, the word was made plain to me.  It would be a year to perservere.

I was quite surprised at the many different words that mean the same thing as I looked for the One Verse that would underscore 2020 for me.  I chose James 1:4 and found that persevere can be translated as patience, endurance, steadfastness, strength, and wait(ing).

Although the NIV is my preferred translation for memorization (as seen above) the VOICE Bible with its preceding verses was quite interesting.

The MESSAGE, another favorite of mine adds to the meaning, also.

The New Living Translation says it like this,

It looks like I’m going to have an interesting and busy year. Hopefully, the joys and the challenges will be tempered with a new sense of perseverance.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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.

That Darn Snake

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 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.

Blessings to you and yours!

Part 1 of the Jesse Tree Devotional

Fresh Start Bible Review

As a Small Group, Bible Study leader I was (and am) very excited about this new resource, the Fresh Start Bible.

There are many kinds of study Bibles. Some are historical and archeological. Some are topical. Some are word referenced, giving the reader specific guidance as to meaning usage. Some are paraphrased into modern language usage for better understanding. All are intended to point the Believer to a better understanding of His Word and how it applies to daily life. The Fresh Start Bible is no exception. Using the New Living Translation it has hundreds of articles written by various people that enhance and provide understanding. Several short ‘side-bars’ provoke deeper thought about known concepts and stories. It includes many articles about questions that both the new and seasoned believers might have. Personal comments, historical facts, and suggestions for personal, everyday use abound.

I decided to use this Bible as my main resource in preparing and teaching a series of lessons on how the Tabernacle of the Old Testament applies to contemporary worship. It was helpful and informative, leading not only me but also my fellow learners to new insights and thoughts about the subject.

In a future upgrade to this work, I would suggest more ‘side-bars’, commentary and articles for the Old Testament portion.

I highly recommend this resource for both Bible study leaders as well as learners.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy free from Gateway Publishing. 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.”

Simeon and Anna

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

     

Anna by Rembrandt

Anna by Rembrandt

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith.  Simeon means obedient and listening.  Anna means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.  Tradition has it that he was one of the 72 translators of the Septuagint.  If that is truly the case he was over 200 years old at the time of this incident.

So, what is in this story for us.  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waiting for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and waiting and waiting…  Second, a life of prayer is important in seeing God’s work.  Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God.  He is everywhere!  And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises.  God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear — Book Review

Sometimes laughter, sometimes tears, sometimes a fervent prayer for forgiveness. Sometimes affirmation, sometimes kind remonstrances, sometimes silence.  Relationships are forged within these behaviors and so much more.

Affirmation comes from considering, really thinking about, what your spouse needs and even wants to hear.  Have you taken the time to think about those areas of everyday life that we so often take for granted? Perhaps it’s time to do so.

Such things as saying yes, being careful of the other’s feelings, pulling back when you really want to argue (and win), and letting them know you really like and care about them, make all the difference in any relationship.  Although this book focuses on wives affirming and supporting their husbands there is much that applies to all good and growing relationships.

I found 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear thought-provoking and inspiring.  Lisa Jacobson‘s life experiences and words of wisdom are timely and much needed in this season of negativity and put-downs.

Much is written in this volume about affirmation and support. Which of course is what the title implies. I would love to see, from the same author(s) what they, as individuals, want to be affirmed, supported, and thanked for. Would there be a difference?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

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.”

This post may contain affiliate links.  When you use them I may receive a small commission that helps support the costs of maintaining this blog.

Last

“Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” Luke 13:30

Jesus first! Others next. Yourself last.  Pure JOY!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie