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

 

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.”

Thoughts on the Book of James

I have been honored with the privilege of reviewing a new Study Bible. Each time I agree to do one of these I read my favorite books first and note anything new. The Fresh Start Bible is jam-packed with great side notes throughout.  Here’s what I’ve gleaned from the Book of James. (Yes, my absolute favorite book of the entire Bible.)

Robert Morris referring to James 1:17-18:

Understanding God’s goodness makes a huge difference in our relationship with Him. (pg. 1094)

The only reason why we aren’t immediately destroyed the first (or hundredth) time we sin is because God is good. (pg. 1094)

Robert Morris referring to James 3:1-12

The default setting of the tongue is to destroy, and unless we change this setting, we will always do more damage than good. (pg.1095)

The good news is that our tongue can produce good fruit. You can use it to bless your job, your finances, and your family. (pg. 1095)

Robert Morris referring to James 4:3

God gives to us so we can have the joy of imitating Him and giving to others. (pg. 1095)

Next, we’ll look at what is interesting in the book of Esther.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Amazon Affiliate Commission Earned

Pre-ordering is happening right now at http://gatewaypublishing.com/bibles and if you pre-order it from the publisher you will receive it in mid-November rather than Amazon’s release date of Dec. 1st.

 

Always We Begin Again – – Book Review

I’ve been enjoying reading through a devotional that really isn’t a devotional.  Does that make sense? Not really, but yes, it does.  Always We Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley is a series of short essays on the many ways we start over every day of our lives. They’re not only relatable short stories but they include a guided writing prompt that can help each reader deal with their own beginnings.

Here’s what I’ve learned, am learning or have found to be true:

  • The profound yet simple concept that we are constantly starting over is part of daily life.
  • God speaks to us in many ways during our stressful, busy days. Focusing on the issue of the moment, with God as our partner, until we discover the way through, will help calm our minds and lead to a solution.
  • We are held securely in God’s arms. No matter the circumstances He keeps holding on.
  • There are multiple opportunities in our days and lives to begin again, to start over. Just as the sun rises new each day it also sets and gives us the opportunity to rest and reflect.
  • We are all addicts of some sort. Here’s the thing, we can’t pretend to have conquered the problem. Whether we eat, drink, spend, talk, criticize, complain… too much or too little, it can be controlled through God’s grace and our willingness to take each day as it is.

One of the things I really liked about this book is each short essay/story is simply numbered but not dated.  That way if I don’t read it each day I don’t have the pressure of being behind or having to catch up.

This collection is relatable and encouraging. It is reassuring and supportive. There is hope woven throughout its pages. Thank you, Leeana Tankersley, for writing and sharing.

Best quote from the book: “Growth and healing start by giving ourselves the permission to pursue them. If we aren’t willing to show up and participate, then chances are, our souls will be lost on some level. And chances are, it will affect the people who want to share life with us.” (pg. 210)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revel, a division of 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.”

Who Sang The First Song – Book Review

Have you ever given thought to ‘Who Sang The First Song?’  Did you know there’s a constant sound in the universe?  That sound originates from the sun, neutron stars, black holes, and more.

From the beginning of time, there have been sounds all around.  God has not only put the beauty of sound everywhere but He has given each of His creation their own song.  Each song is individualized and determined for each one of us to use in furthering His Kingdom on Earth.

Now I recognize this is a bit ‘heavy’ for children. However, Ellie Holcomb, in her book Who Sang The First Song?, covers the concept in words and questions that children can understand.

After all, didn’t God tell us to make a joyful noise?  And what is more joyful than a song straight from the heart.

So, if you need a really great children’s gift, or want to enrich your home library, I highly recommend this delightful book.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Broadman Holman/Lifeway Publishers. 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.”