Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges {A Review}

51JAXctyoTL._AC_US218_The late Jerry Bridges is known for authoring many books on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His books include: The Practice of Godliness,  The Pursuit of Holiness, and many others.

I had not read any of his works before reading Transforming Grace. I might have to change that.

Transforming Grace is simply the best book I have read on the topic of God’s Grace toward us.  I have read many books on the topic of grace by many different authors, but none hold a candle to this one. So much of the book resonated deeply in this heart.

If you want or need a good book on the topic of God’s grace go to your local Christian bookstore and purchase this one. An added bonus there is a study guide in the back of the book. This book would work well for an individual, personal study of grace or it could be used in a group study.

Jerry Bridges, as much as any man could, had a handle on grace. He tenderly teaches us that our salvation is all Jesus and not at all us. It’s isn’t Jesus + Whatever I do, but it is simply Jesus and His great Grace.

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“This instantaneous act of God by which He beings sanctification in us is just as much a gift of God’s grace as justification. God does not wait until we ‘surrender all’, make a second commitment to Christ’s lordship, or anything like that. God give sanctification by His grace.” (page 117)

And another one.

“Our love for God, expressed through obedience to Him, is to be a response to His love, not a means of trying to earn it.” (page 92)

One last one.

“God is worthy of my loving obedience because of who He is, not because of what He does.” (page 89)

What did I love about this book? In short, everything. It put into words what my heart believed and couldn’t articulate. So many times I was inwardly shouting, “YES! This is exactly right!!”

It opened my eyes and brought out many questions, hard questions that I needed to answer.

What did I not like about the book? Nothing.

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges will change your life and is a necessary addition to your library. It is published by NavPress and is available through your local Christian bookstore or your favorite online seller.

 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my my own.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Murder in Disguise by Donn Taylor {A Review}

murderPreston Barclay is normally a History professor, but every now and again he puts on his detective hat and solves crimes.

Even when he claims he isn’t investigating anything, as is the case in Donn Taylor’s new mystery, Murder in Disguise. His friend, Jordan Collier is the History Department Chair when he commits suicide.

Or does he?

And is Preston really investigating? And if he is, what does his investigation uncover? Does it show a seedy side of his friend who is caught in a web of evil?

You know I’m not going to tell you those answers. That would ruin the book and trust me, you will want to read this book!

Murder in Disguise has all the best elements of a mystery novel. Characters, romance, intrigue and humor. Oh my soul this book is hysterical. The best kind of hysterical, the kind that creeps up on you until the laugh burst from your lips. You can’t help but laugh out loud while reading this book.

What did I love about this book? In short, everything. The characters were well developed, the story line moves along at a nice pace. The funny parts are, well as mentioned before, hysterical. Donn Taylor is a masterful storyteller.

This was my first time reading his books and you can be sure I will be reading more of his books. If you haven’t read any of his books you should start now.

What did I not like about the book? Very, very little. Only one small, small, minute detail. And since I’m not a detail person the simple fact that I noticed this is amazing. The one thing I noticed was Preston had a thing for a ham sandwich and coffee. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m nuts about coffee but with a ham sandwich? Ham sandwich and coffee for breakfast. Ham sandwich with coffee for lunch. And a ham sandwich with coffee for supper. Not all in the same day, but you get the idea. He had it a lot.

So as it all goes down, I love this book and I give it 50 out of 5 turning pages. Yes. It’s that good.

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse for the purpose of review.

Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

Big and Little Coloring Book {A Review}

Artists run in my family. Down throughout the generations there have always been those souls so talented. I am not one of them. I struggle to draw stick people. As a girl I always wanted one great talent, something I could say, “I do this well!”

I remember trying so hard in art class. And failing so miserably. I would look at others and feel a pang of jealousy for their wonderful creations while knowing mine was destined for the trash heap and it looked like an infant created it.

So I threw myself into coloring. I could color for hours. I would put myself in the pictures and mentally tell myself stories.

20171108_142431I still enjoy time spent coloring. So when I saw this book was available from B&H Publishers I knew it would be something I loved. What could possibly be better than coloring with your child and sharing a devotion?

This book is designed in a way that you have a page to color and your child has a page to color. Each page also has a short devotional to read and discuss with your child. The adult coloring page is much more intricate in design, so you can use this with even very young children.

The adult page has a verse at the bottom and this corresponds to the child’s color page and the devotional. The devotional is on the parent’s page and only takes a minute or two to read.

20171108_142500

The child’s page, as I mentioned, is less detailed, meaning it would be great to use with young children. The devotionals seem to be geared more towards adults and seem very incomplete.

What I liked: I liked the way it is designed, to open flat so you can color at the same time.
I liked the Scripture and that the child is coloring the words of Scripture.  It is a great way to renew our mind.

What I didn’t like: I wish the devotionals were longer and pertained to more than just adults.

If you’re looking for a devotional to use with your child, you should check this one out! You could add meat to the devotionals, or just talk about them while coloring.

I give this 4 out 5 turning pages.

I received a free copy of this book from B&H Publishers for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions re my own.

Posted in Book Reviews, Jesus

The Bad Habits of Jesus by Leonard Sweet {A Review}

If you’re like most people I know and have talked to about this book, the title scares you. It probably conjures up thoughts like, “But MY Jesus didn’t have any bad habits! He was God!” And you are right.

Leonard Sweet is in full agreement with your statement, but in this delightful book he encourages us to look at Jesus in a different way. He wants us to take off the Sunday School glasses we tend to wear when we view Jesus and read the Word.

He points out that Jesus did things and said things that we would not dare say or do today because it is considered bad.  A few examples:

Jesus spit.  Think about that. He spit and made mud. If that wasn’t bad enough, He then smeared that mud on a man’s eyes.

Jesus procrastinated. His procrastination led to a man’s death, and He was completely unbothered and unapologetic about it. He simply kept on being God.

I loved this book. I have been reading Leonard Sweet’s books since “A Cup of Coffee at the Soul Cafe” was published in the late 90’s. When I see a book with his name on it, I gravitate towards it like a moth to a flame because I know I will be challenged by it.

This book, The Bad Habits of Jesus, did that. It challenged me to look at Jesus and what He did in a whole new way. I was encouraged to think outside of the box, or even to throw away the box, when looking at Jesus and the familiar stories. In a world full of fluff books that preach to the Millennial “me first” gospel, this book was refreshing in it’s simplicity but also in it’s meat. This is not a milk-toast, watered down gospel book. This book will require the brain to be fully engaged. Leonard Sweet does not offer milk, but steak and he doesn’t feed you.

I love the cover. I’m a Harley-loving woman and the resemblance to the Harley-Davidson logo on the front is eye-catching.

I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Posted in Life as it happens.

Scripture Doodle by April Knight {A Review}

About the books:

ScriptureDoodle: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, October 2016)

With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.

Often, in the busyness of life, Christians forget that God created them to enjoy creativity. With guided instruction and completed examples, this beautiful book invites readers to draw closer to God through their own art.

More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle.
Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, ScriptureDoodlegives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader’s imagination and helps integrate God’s Word into everyday life.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2gUdlHF
ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, December 2016)
Some of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God’s promises and faithfulness to His children.

ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God’s Word in all circumstances.

This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2gUhyLR

About the author:
 
April Knight is a worship artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Knight’s work includes live worship painting and leading ScriptureDoodle workshops online and at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally. Her family of four is her greatest joy, along with serving alongside her husband at their local church.
My Thoughts:
I love to doodle. I’m not any good at it but I love to do it. I pretty much stick to flowers, squiggly lines, and boxes.
I loved all her instructions and tips!  Every page has a Scripture, devotional, and instructions for doodling. The facing page has space for you to try it out.
I haven’t gotten brave enough yet to really venture into much Scripture doodling, but I hope to soon! I know my 16-year old loves the lettering techniques in the books.
This would be a great gift for the doodle-er in your life!
I received a copy of these books from Litfuse.
Posted in Book Reviews

Life Is____. Forty Day Experience by Judah Smith. {A Review}

judahsmithbook(NOTE: My 13-year old read this and here is her review. My comments will be in italics)

If I’m being honest, I’m not really a devotional type of girl. I think it has something to do with only being allowed to read a chapter a day. (Me here. This is not a house rule. But with devotionals there is a part to read every day and often we just can’t stop.) That revelation doesn’t sit with me. I’d much rather read the book a day devotional. (Okay, I had to ask her to explain that. She said she would rather read a devotional series of small books…one a day.) I’m pretty sure if someone wrote one of those it would make millions.

But that’s beside the point. The point is that this book is amazing! Fact. End of story. The fact that one of the chapters is titled Amazing probably contributes.

Have you ever wondered what the purpose of life even is? If so, then this book is for you. And I don’t mean that in a creepy, self-help book featuring a corny title like: “7 Easy Ways to Discover Your Destiny” way and all that.

No, Judah Smith directs you to the all-powerful Creator of the universe. With compassion and wit, Judah will introduce you to the Revealer of the Mystery. So go ahead and read it. You won’t be disappointed.

(Thank you, Judah Smith, for writing books that my teens can read!)

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Posted in Book Reviews, Life as it happens.

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey {A Review}

unnamed-3About the book:

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom (Abingdon Press, August 2016)

Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:

-Self-acceptance
-Self-care
-Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
-Generosity
-Presence
-Forgiveness

In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2dPEdIC

About the author:
 
 

Often considered a dreamer and silly heart, Sarah Humphrey uses inspiration from her most beloved career, motherhood, to fuel her passion for writing, creative movement and teaching. She has and is authoring several books and children’s books. Sarah currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three beautiful, bouncy kids.

My Turn

I’ve always been a fan of coloring. In college a couple of friends would often give me new coloring books and crayons because I love coloring.

I have a couple of “adult” coloring books and if I had the time I’d spend more time coloring.

I LOVE this book! It is a great way to nurture your soul while you create a little space for quiet contemplation of our GREAT God! He is so faithful to nourish our souls with His grace, His love and His very presence.

If you need to create a little space for a little joy in your mothering, you’ll want to get this book!

I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse. All opinions expressed are my own.