Book Review: Before The Throne

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(I was given this book by Moody Publishers in return for a review of the book. All thoughts are my own).

Don’t we all long to be better pray-ers? I know I do. But for whatever reason – doing more praying seems to be on the back burned of my spiritual to-do list. I’m too busy reading the Bible, teaching the Bible, parenting my kids, cleaning my house and playing my games on my ipad (yes, that is supposed to be a little funny).

Crickett Keeth wrote Before the Throne (an 8 week Bible study) to help us with that desire to learn to pray more. She can’t make us sit down and pray – but she can show us people in the Bible who prayed – bold prayers, persistent prayers, long prayers, short prayers, desperate prayers. These are the prayers we need to pray.

Here are some things I like about this book:

  1. Thoughtful questions – not just fill in the blank. She is seeking your heart and your head in this book.
  2. The Leader guide in the back. Helpful for anyone wanting to pick this up and teach to a small group.
  3. She goes from beginning to end selecting prayers in the Bible and introduces us to them. The Bible is our guidebook

Lavish Hospitality 4: Lilias Trotter

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Today I started a series on the podcast where I will introduce you to women who have changed their world and we get to read about it. Women who have impacted the lives around them and we know about because their lives were written down.

Lilias Trotter was a missionary, artist, friend, daughter, sister. She lived to be in her mid-70s. Her life was filled with art and truth and life-giving moments with women around here. It was also filled with pain.

Book Review: 7 Feasts

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Most people are afraid of the Old Testament. Believe me, I was there at one point. But, for me there are a lot of hard parts of the Old Testament, but so much beauty as well. And as I’ve been studying it these last 5 or so years more in depth, I realize how much more I need to learn and see.

When you study the OT rightly, you see so much beauty, order, truth, love, history, and the kingdom of Christ.

Erin David, author of Beyond Bath Time (for all you mamas of littles out there), has written an 8 week study on the 7 Feasts in the Old Testament. In studying these, while looking in depth into not only the Old Testament, but seeing how it connects to Christ, the Gospel and the New Testament, it really all comes alive.

Feasts, celebrations and the good news of the gospel can all be found in this study. In our modern Christian culture today, we don’t study a lot of the Old Testament and the feasts. But, I trust that you will pick this up, learn more about it, and see how this study will enable your Bible study and your knowledge will help your understanding of the entire Bible come together.

You can pick it up from Moody publishers, study it solo or in groups. Thanks to Moody for my copy of this. I look forward to diving in even more.

Bible Workbook Review

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This morning I was listening to a podcast with two of my favorite theologians: Russell Moore and Ligon Duncan. They were talking about how many smart people don’t know much about the Bible – even if they’ve been in church their entire lives.

Jen Wilkin talks about the same thing: improving Bible literacy among the women in our churches. I grew up in a Christian school, majored in Philosophy and Religion in college, got a Masters in Christian Education and I couldn’t tell you without looking what was going on (specifically) in the minor prophets. And I’ve led a study on the minor prophets. But, that was 15 years ago and I just didn’t retain the specifics.

Maybe you are like me and need a refresher course on Bible specifics (and generalities) or maybe you are a new believer and need the basics for the first time. Or maybe you are discipling a younger woman and want a good resource to teach with.

And, my friends at SideDoor Communications is giving a set away! Just for you. Respond to me and let me know how you would use this set!

Catherine Walker has put together two workbooks, one on the OT and one on the NT. Yes workbooks – you get to fill in the blank, answer questions, search out the answers for yourself. She designed it for high school students. And is allowing you to do the work. And that’s for me how I learn the most. In the OT the workbook goes chronologically which would be great if you are doing a read-through-the-Bible in this same way. In the NT workbook she gives a brief study of each book.

What a great resource for teachers or students for an overview of the whole Bible!

Moody Publishers sent me these workbooks and all opinions are my own.

Pink Pencil Sharpener – Yes please

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I use Instagram to put up fun videos of my boys, post delicious recipes, and encourage others in their walk with Jesus. I love this social platform.

Recently, I saw a pencil sharpener. You may not think much of it. But, a pink pencil sharpener! With two littles boys who love to draw and are learning to write – we need a pencil sharpener. We don’t homeschool, but all year we use a pencil sharpener. Whether its for homework or just fun drawing or coloring book time, or writing in their quiet time journals, a way to sharpen pencils is quite handy!

This pencil sharpener definitely comes in more colors than pink. But, pink is the one I choose! With two boys, I have to get in girl colors where I can!

What I love most about this sharpener? The lever up at the top where you insert the pencil that holds the pencil in place! It is easy for my young boys (K and 1st) to use on their own.

I was given this pencil sharpener in exchange for a post, and I’ve taken forever to do it – but I’m thankful for this company and this sharpener! Get yours today! For your home or classroom – and you can help them give back too!

Dear Daughters

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Podcasts are definitely all the rage right now – and there are lots of good ones out there.  I was introduced to Susie Davis through her podcast by the same title of her latest book, Dear Daughters.

First off, this book is beautiful.  From the cover, the texture, the colors, the botanical line drawing, the inside cover with the cursive lettering, the floral drawings inside, and the notes area at the end of each chapter.  Its just pretty.

This book is a bite-size petit-four of goodness that will leave you wanting more . If you are just digging into a role of discipleship or mentoring women younger than you, or if you have daughters of your own, this book will be a good one.  And then you will want to act on everything you’ve just read and read everything else you can on what it means to live life with others in a discipleship relationship.

Believe me, its a joy.  I’ve been doing this since I was 19.  And its harder now as a mom of young boys, but you just have to be intentional.  And being intentional in a social media world is hard.  But, it is so necessary.

You can enter here for a chance to win a copy of this book!  Its a delightful and encouraging read.

What a perfect little book to include in your Mother’s Day package!

Thanks to Read with Audra for a copy of this book.  All thoughts are my own!


If God is For Us

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When I was a senior in high school, this was our school’s verse  – Romans 8:31 – if God is for us – who can be against us?  That’s when I first learned of this verse because it was on everything that year.

Now that I’m 25 years older, I find it definitely more life-changing and endearing to my Father than I did when I was 18.

Trillia Newbell is a gifted, articular author who writes a great Bible study on Romans 8.  It is by far one of the most popular chapters of the entire Bible, and she walks you through the 39 verses with precision.  She doesn’t just give you the answers and she just doesn’t tell stories.  She makes you work for it.  Bible study is work.  It isn’t supposed to be easy.

But, even if you are a beginner, pick this study up – because the beginning of the book walks you through how to be a Bible study beginner: what you need to do read, look for, meditate on, etc.  But, if you have been studying your Bible every day for 30 years, then this study is also for you – because the Bible is still for you.  And you can go as deep as you want to go and never mine all the depths of God’s Word.

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?  That we will never get all of the Bible!  No!  It is life-giving and perfect truth for us – and the Holy Spirit will always use it in our lives!

Pick up this one.  It is a 6 week study so it would be a good one for a group study or a personal study.  And have a notebook nearby so you can write down all the things that God teaches you through it.

Thanks to Trillia, Moody, and Side Door Communications for a copy of this study.  All opinions are my own.

Cutie Fruities and the Fruit of the Spirit

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I remember being in middle school and loving scratch and sniff things.  From books to stickers to all things school supplies, scratch and sniff everything made any task more fun.

And as a parent I want to have fun ways to teach my kids about how to live for God’s glory!

This book does just that.  It incorporates scratch and sniff fruit to help little ones learn about the fruit of the Spirit. This is an adorable board book, perfect for little girls in your life.  My boys have enjoyed it to (especially sticking their nose in the book to smell the fruit), but the Cutie Fruities are girls!

What a fun way to teach them about the fruit of the Spirit.  If you would like a copy of this book for your own library, just leave me a message here about what fruit of the Spirit you are working on – especially in your own life.  Mine is love (not being irritable especially with my kids who have been sick lately).

Thanks Tommy Nelson Mommies for my book and the giveaway book.  All thoughts are my own!

We are the Gardeners

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Spring is here in Augusta!  I’m hoping it has arrived where you are just so you can soak up all the scents of the flowers, hear the birds (we have a nest of 6 on our front porch), and enjoy the longer days with plenty of sunshine.

And just in time for spring growing season, Joanna Gaines (and her kids) have released their new book We Are The Gardeners.  Let me tell you – the illustrations and the prose of this book are so endearing!  I have the perfect family to gift this to!

My boys love to get out and play in the dirt, and we love to work mostly with daddy in the yard, but I know another family who do more gardening then we do so I can’t wait to gift it to them.

The life lessons that are pointed to in here (from Chip) are great for young kids – to learn that gardening is not just about plants and flowers.  I love how they talk about protecting it too – especially for raising little men!

I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love this book!

If you would like to win a copy of it – just tell me your favorite thing you like to grow in your yard (or maybe you are just an indoor plant – let me know that too).  Thanks Tommy Nelson for my book and the giveaway copy!

Girls’ Club (a review)

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Thanks to Tyndale House for this book – all opinions are my own.

Growing up, I lived among family as my neighbors.  I had a tight group of friends in high school.  But, I loved being known by everyone.  In college, those friendships faded away because we weren’t together all the time anymore.  In college and seminary I felt that friendships were built mostly on what classes we had and if we had to study together.

Once I graduated seminary, I have felt that it has been hard to make friends – even though I made two of my friends after graduation.  But, those numbers are few.  Even now, as we have moved several times, changed jobs and states, had children, friendships are hard.

What do you base friendship on? Is it primarily proximity?  I think proximity helps but so does social media.  But, in our days of busy schedules, family and ministry priority, soccer and dance schedules, friendships are hard to keep on the front burner.

Enter: the Girls’ Club.  The Clarkson girls do a great job of storytelling, helping their friends and readers absorb biblical truth about friendship, literary clues about friendships, and shares how the gospel should shape us.  I find myself wanting to travel as I read their book.  I’ve been to Prince Edward Island, but not to Oxford, so that’s all I want to do.

I think the writers do a great job of sharing their joys and their struggles with friendship.  Even having friends can make for a lonely winter.  Social media can help and hurt.  We must use it wisely.  And not let that be all our friendships concist of – as best we can.

This book will not be for everyone but I think they do a great job of sticking with their main audience.  LIterary, travelers, scholarly, conservative.  It is a winsome book.  I’ve also enjoyed the podcasts that they’ve done on it – especially with Ruth Simons and Sarah MacKenzie.