Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: Live SoulFULL: A Music-Driven Study of How God Fulfills your Deepest Needs (Book, CD, and Album Download Card)

I love studying God's Word and I love listening to music so I was excited to review this Bible study that combines both. This unique Bible study includes a book, 13-song CD, and digital album download card. All songs were written and sung (except two) by Ginger Tabot. She's a gifted singer and songwriter. Scott and Ginger Tabot (husband and wife) both have a passion to be used by God to help people know and love Him more. They want to use their God-given gifts for God's glory and God's kingdom. It's clearly shown in Live SoulFull which is a music-driven, gospel-centered, immersive Bible study. Ginger's original songs beautifully reinforce messages in each chapter. The lyrics and text in the book present Biblical answers to some of life's common questions, such as "How can we know that God is real?" and "Why does God allow evil and suffering?" Some important topics covered in this Bible study are soul needs, creation, God's grand love story (rescue & restoration plan), newness of life, the Trinity, God's presence, spiritual growth, Christlikeness, prayer, spiritual warfare, evil and suffering, and Christ's return. The book offers practical ways to put what you learn into action: Take a Selfie (challenging questions for reflection and discussion), Reach Up (prayer), Reach Out (share the songs and lessons with others and interact with others), and Sound Waves (listen to the songs again and focus on specific parts of each song). Each chapter has a box of key idea. I enjoyed both the CD and the book. God often uses music to seal His truths in our hearts. What a fun way to study the Bible! You will learn how God, the Giver and Filler of Life, fulfills your deepest needs and how you can live a vibrant, authentic Christian life full of hope and joy. Live SoulFULL is great for either personal Bible study or small group Bible study. Christmas is just around the corner. This book would make a wonderful, meaningful gift.

Below is the list of songs:
1. SoulFULL
2. Masterpiece
3. History
4. Let Me Love You (Feat. Jason Fowler)
5. I Invite You In
6. Alive in Me
7. Ordinary Miracle
8. Beautiful Like You
9. Raining Down
10. When We Pray
11. God of Mystery
12. All Things New (Feat. Monte Hunt)
13. I Choose Joy
You can enter a giveaway to win a copy of Live SoulFULL at .

~I received a free copy of this book and CD from the FrontGate Christian Blogger 

Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: She's Got the Wrong Guy by Deepak Reju

I'm so glad and thankful that God gave me the right guy. I am blessed with an awesome husband, a man after God's own heart. We've been blissfully married for over 26 years. I chose to review this book because I am concerned about my 24 year old daughter who is single and wants to find the right guy to date and marry. She is smart and wise but her dating choices have not always reflected that. This book is just what I want her to read :). She's Got the Wrong Guy is divided into 3 parts: 1. From Problems to Faith, 2. Am I Dating the Wrong Guy?, and 3. The Quest for a Godly Man. Each chapter starts with relevant quotes and Scriptures. The author pulls no punches when he discusses about the ten wrong types of guys single women should avoid. The ten types are: the Control Freak, the Promiscuous Guy, the Unchurched Guy, the New Convert, the Unbeliever, the Angry Man, the Lone Ranger, the Commitment-Phobic Man, the Passive Man, the Unteachable Guy. As a pastor and counselor, Deepak Reju has heard and seen all sorts of dating and marriage problems. He shares from his experience why smart women settle, how to recognize the wrong kinds of guys (how to spot red flags), how to break up for the glory of God, what to do while you wait for the right guy, what to look for in an authentic Christian man, and how to trust God and rely on His grace for your relationship. Remember that being miserably married is worse than being miserably single. Marriage will not solve all your problems. Jesus is your only solution. Reju's story examples are relatable to single women and dating scenes in today's society. He backs up his discussion with Biblical reasons and wisdom. The practical advice and prudent insights in this book are truly valuable and must be heeded. The book is written with compassion and understanding. Choosing whom to marry is the second most important decision you'll every make (only second to your decision to trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior). Choose wisely! I highly recommend this God-honoring, Christ-centered book to all single Christian women! My hope and prayer is that they (including my daughter) will neither settle nor compromise but will patiently wait for God's best for them.

"Treasure Christ. Hope in him. Don't build your heart around temporary treasures, like marriage to a godly husband, raising children, or the dream of a future together. Let your heart be captivated with Christ. Make Christ your greatest of all treasures." (p. 24)

"The most important ingredient of a happy life is not finding a husband, but in giving your life to Christ. Make Jesus your greatest treasure...Pour yourself into loving Christ and let your love for him overflow in loving and serving the people around you. The best way to prepare for your future is to focus on becoming a woman whose greatest desire is Christ." (p. 30)

"Life does not go well when you make earthly things your hope and treasure. When you look for your ultimate happiness in a husband, children, a beautiful home, or a wonderful life now, you'll be disappointed, anxious, confused, or even hurt, because none of these things are meant to carry the weight of your ultimate hopes. Putting your hope in earthly treasures shows that you are not letting your heart rest in satisfaction with the Lord. An already hard life is made harder when your desire for happiness takes center stage in your life." (p. 142)

"A bad marriage is not better than struggling through singleness. For many women I know, the problem isn't so much convincing them that it's better to choose the right guy than the wrong guy. Often there doesn't seem to be a 'right guy' around. The problem is convincing them that it's better to be single than spend their life with the wrong guy. So that sends us racing back to a few pivotal questions--Is Christ enough for you? Can he be all that you need? Can you build your entire life around him?" (p. 150)

"The goal of a Christian single woman is not to find a husband, but a Savior. The ultimate destination for Christian single women is not marriage, but heaven. Build your life around preparing for heaven by growing in your godliness and love for the Savior. You will never be disappointed." (p. 162)

~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Total Christmas Makeover by Melissa Spoelstra

I collect devotional books and I love Christmas so I was excited to review this book. During Christmas season, do you feel like flustered Martha (in the Bible)...having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done? Let's not get swept up in the hustle and bustle. Instead, may we prepare our hearts to celebrate this Christmas with joy and purpose. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ; it's not about perfect planning or fantastic festivities! Pause and become more like Mary who focused on Jesus. Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said while Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Jesus said to Martha,"You are worried and upset about many things, but only ONE thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42) Total Christmas Makeover has 31 devotions that will help you pause and prioritize, ponder and pray. The book is divided into 3 sections: Ritual (Day 1 to Day 10), Relationships (Day 11 to Day 20), and Rest (Day 21 to Day 31). Each devotion starts with Bible verses and ends with a prayer, questions for reflection, and practical ideas. The author shares her own family Christmas experiences, including what works and what doesn't work. She shows how to incorporate Biblical meanings into traditions; she helps readers think why they do what they do. The book covers many important topics such as giving, serving, forgiveness, humility, patience, love languages, spiritual gifts, worship, balance, obedience, gratitude, and more. I've enjoyed reading this book and will continue to read as Christmas approaches. Total Christmas Makeover is a Christ-centered, gospel-focused, grace-filled devotional that will help you and your families enjoy a meaningful celebration this Christmas. May the activities we do help us remember what God has done for us, may the people we interact with be blessed and touched by Christ's love, and may we learn to rest in our Lord and reflect on what, Whom, and why we celebrate Christmas! 

~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.

Review: Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet

In today's society, many people (including those in the Body of Christ) seem to be struggling with mental health problems such as Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and the list goes on. There are different opinions about psychiatric diagnoses and treatments, even among Christians. Some rely too heavily upon psychiatric labels and medicines while others totally disregard them. Neither of these extreme positions are helpful. Descriptions and Prescriptions offers a Biblical perspective on psychiatric diagnoses and medications. It's well written with a Scripturally & scientifically balanced approach. Dr. Michael R. Emlet, a Christian counselor, author, and retired physician, presents this challenging topic with humility, compassion, and understanding. The book is divided into two main parts: 1. Understanding Psychiatric Diagnoses, and 2. Understanding Psychoactive Medications. The author addresses some misconceptions, explains difficult medical terms, gives clear examples of various cases from his personal experience, talks about pros (value & effectiveness) and cons (problems & pitfalls) of psychiatric diagnoses and psychoactive medications. I appreciate his emphasis on the relevance and significance of Scripture in helping the suffering because I, too, believe that Biblical wisdom is needed for soul care. From this book, you will learn about the different diagnostic categories found in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a brief history of psychiatric diagnosis, classes of psychoactive medications, how suffering affects spiritual growth, how we should appreciate medications as God's gifts but not idolize them, and several excellent tips and advice. Descriptions and Prescriptions is a small book (only 100 pages long) but it's packed with valuable information and practical insights. Mental illness is a complex issue. Biblical counselors need to take into account spiritual, biological, relational, situational, and societal-cultural factors. Whether you are counselors, pastors, youth pastors, or laypersons who want to help those with mental distress, this book (first in the Helping the Helper series) is a useful resource for you! 

"This means that attention to both physical and spiritual aspects of our personhood is mandatory in ministry. It is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the 'heart'--our moral-spiritual disposition and the responsibilities that go with it; and it is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the body and the strengths and weaknesses that go with it." (p. 71)

"While relieving suffering is a kingdom priority, seeking mere relief without a vision for God's transforming agenda in the midst of suffering may short-circuit all that God wants to do in the person's life. Another way of saying this is that we should be glad for symptom relief but simultaneously look for the variegated fruit of the Spirit; perseverance in the midst of suffering, deeper trust in the Father's love, more settled hope, love for fellow strugglers, gratitude, and more." (p. 76)

"Even if we do view medication as a potential piece in a comprehensive ministry approach, we always seek to bring the riches of Christ's redemption to bear upon people's lives. Sinners will always need mercy, grace, forgiveness, and supernatural power to love God and neighbor. Sufferers will always need comfort, hope and the will to persevere. Ultimately, these blessings are found not in a pill bottle...but in the person of Jesus Christ." (p. 94)

About the Author:

Michael R. Emlet, M.Div., M.D., practiced as a family physician for twelve years before becoming a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. He is the author of many counseling articles and the booklets, Asperger Syndrome, Angry Children: Understanding and Helping Your Child Regain Control, Help for the Caregiver: Facing the Challenges with Understanding and Strength, and OCD: Freedom for the Obsessive Compulsive.

~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Review: Thomas Nelson's "KJV Know The Word Study Bible" plus Kindle Fire & Bible Giveaway

I love studying God's Word because I want to know God more. I like using a variety of different Bible versions because they help me gain a better understanding of the Bible. I was excited to receive this KJV Know The World Study Bible for review. It features three easy approaches to studying the Bible: book by book, verse by verse, and topic by topic. I was glad to see words of Jesus in red; they stand out as they should :). This study Bible includes a comprehensive list of theological notes, full-color maps, and concordance. It covers 21 theological topics such as Trinity, Covenant, Sanctification, Purpose, God's Will, Suffering, and Evil. I'm currently studying Philippians so I've been using this study Bible to give me a deeper, clearer understanding. I appreciate the concise book introductions which offer insight into each book's background, author, audience, purpose, and message. The Study the Book sidebars are great, too; they expound each book's major themes and teachings. The verse by verse footnotes are extensive and very helpful. This Bible is a hardback book. The overall format is plain and easy to use. If you want to study the Bible in depth but feel somewhat intimidated or do not know where to begin, check out this KJV Know The Word Study Bible. Christmas is just around the corner. This Bible would also make a wonderful, meaningful gift for anyone!

~I received a free copy of this KJV Know The Word Study Bible from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.
Diving deeper into God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break it down book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic with the new KJV Know The Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

This fall, become a regular student of the Bible and enter to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of the KJV Know The Word Study Bible
  • A Kindle Fire 7
  • A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 31. The winner will be announced November 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Driving Research and Saving Sight

I personally experienced a temporary (partial) blindness in my left eye due to vitreous hemorrhage. It's very scary! I value the gift of seeing so much. I enjoy taking pictures of God's beautiful creation. Sight is precious to me! While we care about eating right and staying fit, we should also care about keeping our eyes healthy. I'd like to encourage you all to learn more about Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by listening to the video below about AMD from a grandmother's perspective and downloading a free educational packet on AMD (provided by Foundation Fighting Blindness) from this link. AMD is a common curable eye disease. Feel free to share this post and help spread the news about the efforts that are being made to fight AMD and in some cases, reverse the disease. Please use #ffbamd when posting about AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration). Thank you!
Every year nearly 10 million Americans go blind due to AMD or Age-related Macular Degeneration. The exciting news is that a cure is in sight! The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a non-profit organization, has provided funding for research on cures for blindness, specifically AMD, since 1971. In fact, with the research FFB has already made possible, treatments to stop and in some cases even reverse retinal disease is a reality. This is great news for people over 55 and their families. With AMD it is nearly impossible for grandparents to enjoy the little things in life such as playing games, watching movies and reading to their grandchildren. However, due to innovative research, those things are once again possible for many people…but, they need to continue this outreach, support additional research and find cures. Their campaign focus is on ‘Driving Research & SAVING SIGHT!’.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review: Counseling Under the Cross by Bob Kellemen

I've always respected Martin Luther and interested in Biblical counseling so I was excited to have an opportunity to review this book. Most people (me included) know Martin Luther as the champion of the Reformation and theologian but probably not so much as a pastoral counselor. Counseling Under the Cross is a thorough, well-researched case study on how Martin Luther applied the gospel of Christ's grace to daily life, to suffering, sin, and sanctification. The book is divided into two sections: I. What Shaped Martin Luther's Pastoral Counseling? and II. What Is the Shape of Martin Luther's Pastoral Counseling? In the first section, Bob Kellemen helps readers understand the background of Martin Luther's faith journey which shaped Luther's life and ministry. Luther severely suffered soul anguish and eventually realized that his own works of righteousness only led to hopelessness, despair, and uncertainties. He discovered that man-made remedy is futile and impossible. Once he saw and embraced the light of God's infinite grace, he experienced joyful, sweet, soul-freeing peace and comfort. His view of God changed from an angry Judge to a loving Father. Luther wanted to help others experience the same so he shared with others what he found helpful to him. "Justification/reconciliation by grace through faith was the core of Luther's pastoral care--not only for salvation--but for daily Christian living." (p.26) Luther drew people back to the Cross of Christ by weaving God's Word and grace in his counseling ministry. I really admire how Luther personally cared for people's soul with compassion and tenderness yet at the same time with strong conviction and straightforward admonition. He cared not only about people's external suffering (diseases and misfortunes) but also their internal suffering (distresses and doubts). "For Luther, we must look at everything in life, including our suffering, through the lens of Christ's gospel victory narrative." (p. 68)

In the second section, the author explains how Luther approached the four areas of pastoral care: sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding. Luther's personal experiences of deep spiritual quest and soul torment enabled him to empathize with others who suffered. Luther showed how gospel truth transformed and freed soul sufferers. He believed in the sufficiency of Scripture and of God's grace for all our trials and sufferings. This book is filled with Luther's personal accounts, excerpts from his books and letters, and quotes from many who wrote about Luther. At the end of each chapter, you will find a tweet-size summary of the main message from that chapter. There are so many valuable lessons and practical applications we can glean from Luther's loving, insightful, hope-giving words of wisdom and ways of counseling. Counseling Under the Cross is a great resource for pastors, Christian counselors, and anyone who wants to offer Christ-centered, gospel-saturated, grace-based counseling to those who need to hear (including ourselves).

~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.