Chasing Vines – – Book Review

I love it when a book relates to my personal life and circumstances. (Don’t we all?) I am a farm girl/gardener at heart. I know the taste of milk straight from the cow, cracklins fresh from the hot grease, tomatoes, and green beans hand-picked. Yet, grapes, the how and why of them, and their relationship to my Christian growth, is a new concept.

Using John 15:1-8 Chasing Vines covers our growth as branches of the One Vine. She covers such topics as, personal growth, abiding, bearing fruit, pruning, fertilizing, manure, and much more. In her matchless style, she brings these eight verses to life, giving insight into the growth process of the grape as it relates to our own lives as Christians.

Beth’s comment, “I’m pretty sure most people who serve an unseen God for enough years, trying their danged hardest to obey His inaudible directions and love His confounding people with their own contorted hearts, live a quarter-inch from sheer madness much of the time,” (pg. 56) resounded with me.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re a celebrity preacher/teacher or sojourn with a small group of Believers, people are people.  They’re difficult, demanding, denying, disturbing, dusty, deliberate, defying…  I get it.

Throughout the book, the reader is made aware of the need to be a good fruit producer.  Ms. Moore contends it is not only possible but probable that the branches (believers and unbelievers, alike) can produce bitter and bad fruit.  Her solution: Galatians 5:22-23. If these 9 qualities are in any way being compromised it’s bad fruit.  If, on the other hand, they are supported, then the fruit is good.

Although I highly recommend this book, and since this is a review, I must say that I did find a bit of insensitivity to the elderly in her discussion of pruning.  From time to time I also found way more discussion of a concept than was necessary.  But as I said before, all in all, all of it, is worth it.

I want to leave you with these words, directly from Miss Beth, “If you’re in Christ, He is your true Vine, whether you realize it or not. But a whole new way of flourishing begins when you know it. When you count on it. When you live like it. When you let go of the vines you thought were giving you life.” (pg. 129)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

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.

 

 

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.”

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.”

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Forever, Lately – – Book Review

How hard it is to find good fiction that isn’t full of steamy romance and unnecessary violence but this delightful book certainly fits the bill. It’s the perfect solution to a stormy, snowy, can’t get out of the house afternoon.  Once you get into it you’re not going to want to put it down.

It’s a love story that transcends the boundaries of time as it moves between the 1800’s and the 21st century. In a storyline that doesn’t always go where you expect it to you’ll find horse drawn carriages and cars of the modern era playing a very important role that helps tie the two eras together.
Such delightful characters fill the pages.  The protagonist is portrayed as a modern writer with no personal style whatever, but when transported back in time becomes a beautiful young woman who fits in well, except for the fact she looks like another woman. There’s even a villain or two.
Of course, in time travel, there always has to be a catalyst.  In this story, it’s a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl. At one point it gets torn in half and… I guess you’ll have to read the story to find out what happens then.
I hope you’ll thoroughly enjoy, Forever, Lately by Lenore Rose Burkhard.  I have!