Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review - Remember God by Annie F. Downs


ABOUT THE BOOK:

I know God is loving; I know He is good; I believe He is big and powerful. But sometimes I wonder if He is really kind— really deeply always kind.

Is He?

Christians love to talk about how God is in control, but that’s harder to grasp when things aren’t going like you thought they would, when your life looks quite different than you imagined.

For centuries, God’s people have been building altars to Him—to remind themselves and the people around them of His work. His goodness. His kindness. Stacks of stones. Altars. Temples. Cathedrals. Why? Because they believed God and wanted to remember Him.

In the back of my mind, God reminds me that He is the same trustworthy God—the One who always finishes the stories he starts. And this is my story—of wrestling with our God who gives a limp and a blessing. A God who is always kind even when my circumstances feel the opposite. God is who He says He is. He is kinder than you imagine. In a world where it is easy to forget who He is, we will not. We will remember God.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Annie F. Downs is an author and speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. Annie is the author of Let's All Be Brave, a book for men and women about the power we each have to make a difference on this planet. She also has two books for teens: Perfectly Unique, a spiritual growth book for high school and college girls, and Speak Love, a challenge to women on how to use their words to make a difference in the world.

By weaving together personal stories, humor, and Scripture, she invites those reading to experience fulfilled lives with a God who made them on purpose and loves them deeply. While she loves writing- books, blogs, articles, thank-you notes- Annie also enjoys traveling around the world speaking to young women, college students, and adults. Annie is a huge fan of bands with banjos, glitter, her community of friends, boiled peanuts, and football games.

MY REVIEW:

This is a deeply personal book that makes you feel as though you are talking over coffee with your best friend. So many things that we feel, Annie does too, so this makes this a book we can relate to.

This book reminds us that even in our most dire or difficult circumstances, God is there. Even when we question whether He really is. Annie shares her own struggles with wondering if God is truly good, kind and there for her and she goes through very trying times. She is vulnerable with us and truly shares her heart.

Annie is very open in this book and shares the good and bad of her life. I think it spoke to me because she didn't try to sugar-coat her life. She goes through things and has the same types of feelings that we all do. It wasn't always easy reading about her struggles but it was beneficial to see how she points us back to God and His grace and love.

I think this is a book that will definitely speak to the heart of the hurting. Remember God is beautifully written and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by LifeWay. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Of Fire and Lions

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she'd perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar's court. Now, as Daniel's wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she's safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear--until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar's palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili's tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh's sovereign hand guides Jerusalem's captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award-winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter and numerous other novels, including The Pharaoh's Daughter, Miriam, Of Fire and Lions and Love Amid the Ashes. Her deep understanding of and love for God's Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Mesu lives in North Carolina with her husband, Roy, and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren.

MY REVIEW:

This story pulled me in from the very first page. I absolutely love how the author brings the people and story of the Bible alive.

This story revolves around Daniel and his wife, Belili. While the Bible doesn't say anything about Daniel having a wife, the author explains how her research led her to believe that Daniel was perhaps not a eunuch. I really liked the complexity of the relationship Belili has with her children and how misunderstanding can lead to broken relationships.

In this fictional account, we see Daniel has an old man who is still revered by his family, friends and those in power. He is still called on for his wisdom because of his vital and chose relationship with God. It's a continuation of the Daniel that we know from the Bible - a man who chooses God and His ways over all else.

I really loved how Mesu brought this story alive and gave us an understanding of what it was like to live during these times. I really felt so drawn into this story and had a hard time putting the book down. This book is an excellent story of Biblical fiction and I highly recommend it.

*This book was provided to me by Waterbrook/Multnomah. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.



Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Bible Review - The Wiersbe Study Bible


ABOUT THIS BIBLE:

Now you can experience Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s lifetime of powerful Bible teaching in one place. Whether through his bestselling “BE Series” commentaries or his popular “Back to the Bible” radio ministry, Dr. Wiersbe has guided millions into a life-transforming encounter with God’s Word. Now, in this single volume, you have access to Dr. Wiersbe’s trustworthy, accessible explanations of the Bible’s truths and promises, through his comprehensive system of study and application notes. Make the most of your time reading, studying, and reflecting on Scripture with The Wiersbe Study Bible.

Features include:

  • Thousands of verse-by-verse notes by Dr. Wiersbe
  • Hundreds of Catalyst notes which more deeply reveal important biblical themes and character issues to motivate transformation by the Holy Spirit through the Word
  • Book introductions featuring Dr. Wiersbe’s historical background, themes, and practical lessons for each book of the Bible
  • “Be transformed” section in each book introduction specifically pointing to the life-changing impact of that particular part of Scripture
  • Thousands of cross references, showing the connections throughout the Bible
  • Concordance with key words for deeper word study
  • Full-color maps
  • Clear and readable 10.5-point NKJV Comfort Print®
MY REVIEW:

This is such an amazing Bible! There are so many wonderful things about it and I love how it has taken my Bible reading and study to a whole new level!

I have the leather cover and it's so gorgeous and feels so very nice. It's a soft brown color and with the gold edged pages, it's so striking!

Inside is where it gets even better. Warren Wiersbe is one of my favorite Bible teachers and knowing the care and thought he puts into each and every study note assures me that I'm learning the Bible properly. He makes his study notes easy to understand yet brings such depth to my understanding of Scripture.

I really love the large "Comfort Print" as I don't have issues reading the Bible or having my eyes tire. Each and every word is the perfect size and is so easy to read. I enjoyed the book overviews before each book of the Bible as it gave me an understanding of what I'm going to read and insight before I even start. There's a wonderful and extensive concordance in the back that has every possible thing you would need to look up. Plus full color maps to get a visual of where the stories are taking place.

This Bible has every thing I've ever wanted. Study notes by a trustworthy author, easy to read print, extensive information, and more! I absolutely love this Bible and am using it with such joy. I highly recommend this Bible for the reader and/or serious Bible student. It's truly a treasure.

*This Bible was provided to me by BookLook Bloggers program. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Book Review - Growing Forward, When You Can't Go Back


ABOUT THE BOOK:

After life is shattered by a loss or traumatic experience--whether big or small--it can seem impossible to heal or move on. Deep down you believe God intends good for you, but you just don't have the energy or strength to move forward.

Author Laurie Pawlik has been there, and here she shares how she flourished despite multiple losses in her own life. Through practical tips and thought-provoking questions, she helps you take small yet powerful steps toward healing and letting go.

She also offers insights and encouragement from the lives of strong women in the Bible. You'll glimpse the painful losses these women experienced and learn how they flourished despite seasons of hardship and grief. You'll discover how God shows His presence and power in the valleys, deserts, and storms. And you'll feel a fresh sense of hope that, with God's help, you can redefine yourself, remake your life, and grow forward into a beautiful new season.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laurie Pawlik, MSW, is a writer with 25 years of teaching, social work, and Bible study experience. She's been published in magazines such as Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, and Women's Health, and is best known for her popular She Blossoms blog. She and her husband live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Find out more at www.blossomtips.com.

MY REVIEW:

Have you ever read a book that so perfectly spoke to you right where you are? This book is exactly that for me and I have a feeling it will be for you, too.

Laurie writes this in a way that makes you want to not put it down until you're at the end. Seriously, I read through this book the first time in two days! However, there is so much to be gleaned and to go through, I'm going through the book again to answer the questions and journal through everything.

I absolutely love the blossom tips that she has scattered throughout and how she shares her own story and heart. I learned so much from this book and it's a book that encourages and made me see that leaving the past in the past is what's needed and that there's an ever bright future to look to when we go through our lives with Jesus.

The other thing I really loved was how she brought the stories of the different women of the Bible to life and used their stories to remind us that we aren't so different and to show how God used the difficulties in their lives for good.  I found this so encouraging!

This is a wonderful book that will be staying on my book shelf for future reference after I finish it again. I really loved this book and I'm sure you will, too!

*This book was provided to me by Bethany House. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie

Monday, February 25, 2019

Counting Our Blessings Linkup!


We are still waiting for the snow to melt that came down on us last week. I haven't seen a snowstorm like this for 30 years here. In fact, this was much worse than the one in 1988. We have a little over 2 feet of snow here!

This is just the beginning of all the snow. We had snow on Thursday, it stopped, and then we got even more on Friday.



Gorgeous beauty out my front door.



It has been so cold, that it just hasn't really melted. I looked out my backdoor last evening to see this gorgeous sunset. You can see we still have a lot of snow.



My son had to go to work on Saturday because they closed down on Thursday and Friday. Lots of businesses did that, in fact, there were very few things open. On Saturday, we couldn't even get our truck to move so he had to hike out to the main road and have a friend pick him up. He did the same on Monday!

This is very unusual for my area but there were so many blessings attached to this. First, the beauty of the snow...it really is gorgeous. We needed the moisture here so our trees and other plants will be so happy come Spring. The other blessing is that we had gone grocery shopping on Tuesday so we didn't have to worry that we would be out of anything. We have made it through just fine, stayed warm and cozy and that was a huge blessing!

I worked a little on my cross stitch Desert Santa. To remind you, this is the kit


Here's and update on the stitching I did


You can finally see the little donkey. I did a mistake that I realized last night. I used the wrong thread for the medium brown. 😞 I did ALL the stitches before realizing it, too! I sat there and thought about pulling all those stitched out, but I knew that it would be risky since I'm working on perforated paper. So, I decided just to go with it and make an adjustment on the dark brown thread. I have only done a little bit of the adjusted color but, so far, I'm okay with it and I don't think it's going to be a huge deal or that anyone will be able to tell, but me, of course. This would have driven me to distraction before but now I can let these little mistakes go and just try and fix it in other ways. That, my friends, is a blessing!

How was your week? Is it warm or cold where you are? I hope no matter what the weather that you had a week full of blessings! Please share on the linky below...



Blessings - Julie