Has Anyone Ever Seen God? {A Tyndale House Review}

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Sometimes we all have questions, whether we are new to the faith or have been following Jesus for a while. It can be hard to go to another person with your questions because our pride can get in the way. So, an excellent source to take your questions to can be a book. That’s the target of the new series of books from Tyndale Momentum that take a look at the questions that believers might have. I received a copy of Has Anyone Ever Seen God? 101 Questions and Answers About God, the World, and the Bible a few days ago, and I’ve been flipping through it and reading it ever since.

In this book, Carolyn Larsen takes a stab at 101 of our most common general questions about the Bible and the God of the Bible.  These questions include such questions as:

  • Can God read my mind?
  • Is God always truthful?
  • How do we see God’s power?
  • Why did Adam and Eve have to leave the garden?
  • What is a testament?

And there are many more questions besides those answered in a simple and easy to understand format.

This book is a lovely book.  It’s a hardcover with pastel colored pages and small whimsical drawings on each page. It has a slightly feminine feel to it, but it’s not so overwhelming that a man wouldn’t enjoy reading the book. I could imagine this making an excellent gift book for a teenager, a disciple or someone who is new to the faith.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Jesus and the Beanstalk {A LitFuse Publicity Group Review}

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I think that all of us who are Christ followers want to live a fruitful life. We find that sometimes because of fear, apathy or sin that we have in our life that we can’t grow spiritually and that we can’t pass on our faith in a way that leads to a a fruitful life.  I know that I have my own struggles with fear and “giants in my life.” So, when I received the opportunity to review Jesus and the Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life, I was intrigued by the author’s premise and looked forward to spending a little time exploring it.

In this book, Roeleveld begins with a simple premise. We live in a land of giants. God honors those with faith, but often we, like Jack in the Beanstalk’s mother, are so focused on our mundane circumstances and our perceived needs that we can’t appreciate the truth wealth of what we have inside our faith.  After taking this approach to looking at faith and the discouragements from faith, Roeleveld spends some time encouraging us to develop more growth oriented attitudes spiritually, and explaining how all this relates to eight character qualities relayed in 2 Peter 1.

The meat of the book is an eight week Bible study of sorts where the reader spends a week exploring each character quality.with direct teaching, inspirational essays and times of reflection.  Each day includes some small steps toward slaying giants for the reader to complete.

This is a really lovely Bible study, and as one of the discipleship courses that my church teaches is a 13 week examination of these character qualities, I found this to be something that was readily applicable to my life and where I am in my spiritual growth.  I find that I love books like this one because she constantly drives us to the Bible and has a lot of work that she wants us to complete to benefit from the writing and ideas that she is sharing. Although I read through it as a reviewer, I will certainly be coming back to it as a student and taking my time to study through it in a leisurely way.  There’s a lot of good information here, and it’s best unpacked through journaling and time spent in the Bible and prayer.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Home {A Bethany House Publishers Review}

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I think sometimes we are so busy trying to make our homes on earth happy that we forget that we weren’t made to be on the earth eternally. Instead of focusing on the here and now, we should focus on the there and then. But, how much do we know about Heaven and the New Earth? Do we have the right perspective on what our eternal home will be like? That is the subject of Elyse Fitzpatrick’s new book Home: How Heaven and the New Earth Satisfy Our Deepest Longings.

In this book, Fitzpatrick takes on the topic of eternity and we can view it. She examines the Biblical foundation of heaven. She talks about the New Earth that will be created after the Millennium. Sometimes she speculates with details. Other times, she refuses to speculate on what aspects of Heaven and the New Earth will be like.

There are many things about this book to love, and much of the book is grounded in scripture. Sometimes interpretations of specific scriptures in relation to prophecy differ depending on our own faith background and way of interpreting the Bible, and I feel like Fitzpatrick does and excellent job dealing with her interpretations of scripture.  There are many places where I agree, and a few places where I disagree, but I still feel like this is an excellent book, and a worthy read.

I also found that I really agreed with the main thrust of the book. We have a longing and a hole in our hearts that we can’t fill and that longing is one for eternity.  We long for the earth to be made whole (or recreated). Those moments of sadness and discontent that we have here in this life are meant to be there. We have them because of the eternity and longing for it that God has placed in our hearts. Just coming to that realization is worth the time taken to read this book.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal {A Tyndale House Review}

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I have a thing for Bible journaling.  Sometimes I like to color too, but for the most part I’ve had a difficult time getting into the coloring craze because writing and drawing is really my main interest.  I’m always looking for things that I can add a little bit of color and interest to though, so when I received the opportunity to review Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal, I thought I’d give it an opportunity and see if I liked it.

This book is an interesting mixture.  It has drawings on every page, prompts, room (and lines) for journaling. Some pages are full color. Others just have little touches of color, with plenty of design to color yourself. It’s a gentle book. It doesn’t demand much from the person journaling, and yet we have time to slow down, connect and journal, making this a great book for those days when you want a low pressure way to connect with the scriptures.

This book is part of a new collection from Tyndale House called the Living Expressions collection.  In the books in this collection, you color, journal, paint and draw your way to deeper faith as your express your artistic side.  You can visit this collection here to learn more about the exciting new products Tyndale House is offering.

If you would like to see some sample interior pages from the books in this line, check out Tyndale’s Inspire Creativity Board on Pinterest!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Present Over Perfect {A BookLook Bloggers Review}

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I was telling someone the other day that my life felt like a merry-go-round that is spinning faster and faster. Yet, I have spent a great deal of the past year of my life slowing down and minimizing what I have been doing, and my life still feels that way. I can remember the pain of realizing that I was looking forward to a root canal because I could count on it being a quiet day without much activity. Perhaps some of you can relate to that feeling.  It’s the feeling that Shauna Niequist taps into in her latest release Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living.

In this book, Niequist chronicles her feelings of isolation, exhaustion and her need to slow down her busy life. She does this over the course of several personal narrative essays. Over the course of these essays, she explores the themes of her feelings and changes a thematic sort of way.  It’s not a self-help book.  She’s not giving advice. Instead, she’s exploring the interior of her world and buried within are nuggets of truth that I did find myself occasionally relating to.

I would not say that this is my favorite book written on slowing down, keeping from being busy and taking control of your life. The text is slow and rambling, and if you don’t enjoy the author’s style, then you’re not going to to enjoy  this book.  This is a pleasant, slow read, but I don’t think it’s life-changing or even really helpful if you’re looking for practical tips to slow down your busyness.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Melissa Spoelstra’s ‘Total Family Makeover’ Family Fun Night Giveaway

Begin to build your family discipleship and become the key disciple-makers in your children’s lives with Melissa Spoelstra’s new book, Total Family Makeover. Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Plan an evening of fun, pizza, devotionals, and games with your family! Melissa is giving away a Family Fun Night Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 7. The winner will be announced October 10 on Melissa’s blog.

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Total Family Makeover {A LitFuse Publicity Group Review}

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It seems like discipleship is the buzzword of current 21st century Christianity. Everyone is going to make disciples and many of the books I’ve read and materials that I’ve gone through at my local church have been geared to make discipleship easier.  However, much of the discipleship information that I’ve received has been geared at going through a formal discipleship process with other adults, and the idea of family discipleship is not one that is explicitly made clear.  So, when I received the opportunity to review Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home.  After all, I have four children, so I want all the help in disciple-making that I can get.

Spoelstra’s book is based on two main ideas.  The first is that your children “aren’t your report card.” The litmus test in parenting is not according to how your children behave, whether they accept Christ or how much they ultimately retain about the Bible. After all, Adam and Eve had a perfect parent, and they still made the wrong decision.  At some point, you as a parent have to realize that no matter what tools you give your child, there is a point at which you just have to let go of responsibility for their decisions.

The second idea is that your ability to disciple your children is determined by your actual Christian walk.  You must model and directly instruct in order to be an effective discipler. So, with that in mind, all of the topics that Spoelstra takes up in the book are big picture themes for the Christian walk.  These include prayer, reading the Bible, mentoring, church community, service, rest, giving and sharing your faith.

In the book, there are admonitions for parents to help them with their Christian walk along with examples from their family on practical ways parents can instruct their children using this discipleship tool.  I found myself agreeing many times with Spoelstra and underlining many passages in the book.  There were a couple of new practical tips for us to try, but mainly, I found this to be nice refresher of how my walk can be used to model the Christian walk for my children.  I was also reminded of many attitudes that frustrate me in my children that are actually perfectly reasonable childish responses to the gospel.  I truly felt like I was being ministered to by someone else who was in the trenches of parenting and had made some of the same mistakes that I had along the way, and I appreciated the author’s advice and transparency.

Don’t just take my word for it though! If you’re interested in winning a copy of the book (and more!), just head over to this post to get started learning about a great giveaway!!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.