Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DVD Review: Jesus Boat: Witness to Prophecy

Jesus Boat is a documentary that tells about the destruction and the rebirth of Israel through the unlikely discovery of an ancient first century boat under the muddy shores of the Sea of Galilee. This boat is identical to the fishing boat that Jesus used when He walked on the earth. It was destroyed in the same years that Romans destroyed Israel but was miraculously discovered by two fishermen brothers 2,000 years later in 1986 (during the fourth year of drought). It's the oldest surviving freshwater boat in the world! Astonishingly, the boat survived decomposition, the excavation, and the preservation efforts even though many challenges arose along the way. Even scientists are stunned. It is now resting at the Yigal Allon Museum located nearby which was built just the year before the boat was discovered. They also discovered that the boat was made out of 12 types of wood which is extraordinary. Isn't that cool? 12 is a significant number in the Bible that symbolizes completeness, God's power and authority. 12 tribes of Israel. 12 disciples. This DVD features commentary from Franklin Graham, Jay Sekulow, Chuck Smith, Skip Hietzig, Joel Rosenberg, Ken Ortize, and more. There are also interviews with the two fishermen discoverers and archaeologists. Throughout the DVD, you'll also see prophetic verses from the Bible which have already been fulfilled. Beautiful cinematography and intriguing message! If you enjoy history, archaeology, and Biblical prophecy, you'll enjoy this DVD and be glad to learn about this amazing artifact, "Jesus Boat." 

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

DVD Review: When Calls the Heart Rules of Engagement

When Calls the Heart--"Rules of Engagement" is the latest DVD (#7) in the When Calls the Heart television series based on the novel "When Calls the Heart" written by Janette Oke. On this DVD, Jack (Daniel Lissing) is back. Unexpectedly, his ex-fiance, Rosemary, shows up in Coal Valley. She's a theater actress and uses her charms to attract people. She especially tries very hard to win Jack over. The relationship between Jack and Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) is tested. Jack has to rebuild Elizabeth's trust in him. Elizabeth receives a teaching offer in the city and has to make a decision. Bill Avery (Jack Wagner), a forensic investigator, comes to investigate the mine explosion that took place six months ago. He is smitten with Abigail (Lori Loughlin) and works closely with her in the investigation. Mr. Gowen (the mine company's owner) is irritated and tries to bribe people in Coal Valley to stand against Abigail by offering to fund the construction of a new church and school. Quite a few new characters are introduced in this episode including Wyatt, a young genius and Judge Jedidiah Black (James Brolin). As usual, I enjoyed watching the DVD and did not want it to end :). Can't wait to find out how the trial goes. When Calls the Heart--Rules of Engagement" is a beautiful story of love, loyalty, friendship, courage, hope, encouragement, truth, and generosity. Check this entertaining & inspiring family DVD out!

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

DVD Review: Rumors of Wars

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come." Matthew 24:6
Rumors of Wars is an intense end-times film with two converging story-lines, one from the past and one from the future. A college student, Roxy (Jennifer Cooper), investigates end time prophecies and records her discoveries in her diary. Years later, her diary is found and falls into the hands of Shaw (Ben Davies) who is an agent in the New World Alliance. He works for the One World government and hunts down rebels while trying to find more recruits. He believes that religions breed wars and that the rebels who put their faith in God would lead the world back to destruction and thus they need to be eliminated. But when he starts reading Roxy's diary, he has to confront the lies he has been told and decide what to do with the truth. Roxy's life is in danger when she refuses to receive an implanted chip which tracks people's movements and purchases. She begins to look into Zurn Global (the company behind the implanted chip) and its founder, Mr. Zurn (Eric Roberts). I found this film quite interesting, attention-grabbing, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Great performance from the cast! I really like the Discussion Guide based on Roxy's diary (one of the special features on the DVD). Fear, temptation, sacrifice, forgiveness, pride, suffering. Rumors of Wars will make you think and face the ultimate question regarding whom you will worship and follow to the very end of the age because "in the end, we all worship something." Check this faith-filled movie out! Rated PG-13 for violence.

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Parenting Unchained Giveaway

Parenting Unchained Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway
I am currently reading Parenting Unchained by Dr. James D. Dempsey. Dr. Dempsey is a presenter and Family Ministry Consultant for the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Biblical parenting is very important to our family. I'm thankful for the opportunity to review this book. I really like what I've been reading so far. I'll have a review coming soon.      

To celebrate the release of Parenting Unchained: Overcoming the Ten Deceptions That Shackle Christian Parents, we are joining other members of the Launch Team in a wonderful giveaway filled with a Kindle Paperwhite, $25 Amazon Gift Card and several biblical parenting products! A value of more than $300! Here's what you could win: 

Kindle Paperwhite 6" eReader ($119 value)  

Unlike tablets, Kindle Paperwhite is designed to deliver a superior reading experience:
  • No screen glare in bright sunlight
  • Read with one hand—over 30% lighter than iPad mini
  • Battery lasts weeks, not hours
  • Built-in light—read without eyestrain
Your Kindle comes loaded with 2 biblical parenting books right at the start: 

Parenting Unchained Kindle Edition ($4.99 value)

In Parenting Unchained – Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents, Dr. James D. Dempsey reveals the ten most destructive lies about parenting. He writes from the heart about the way these lies infected his own parenting, and illuminates the Bible's powerful truths that counter each lie. Both Biblical and practical, each section ends with home activities to help parents take immediate steps to develop their kids' character--character that lasts when they leave home. 

Home Improvement Kindle Edition ($4.99 value)

This book contains eight principles every family needs written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. You'll learn practical, handon ideas for helping your kids deal with their anger, constructive ways to end discipline times, and keys that will help children change their hearts, not just their behavior. Turansky and Miller offer tried and true strategies in a refreshingly new family-friendly format. This is the parenting book you can read to your kids. 

$25 Amazon Gift Card 

Buy even more books for your new Kindle!

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide ($39.85 value) 

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.  The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. Each lesson contains advice from Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in a 5 minute audio tip and then offers teaching, an assignment, a Bible verse, and a prayer to help you apply each idea or strategy in your family. The tips are available to you as MP3 downloads and access to them comes in the workbook.

The Family Toolbox ($99.95 value)

The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue between parents and teens and a 10-minute teaching session for parents featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away. As your family works through the lessons, teens learn 16 Life Success Principles and parents learn valuable tools.

Philippians in 28 Weeks Digital ($18.95 value)

It is easier to share the Word of God when it is etched upon your heart. Philippians in 28 Weeks™ is a delightful and painless way to commit the entire book of Philippians to memory. This streamlined approach uses memory cards carefully constructed to present Philippians thought-by-thought, copywork versesjournal questionsweekly reflections,recitation charts to test your retention, and an optional tracking tool called “The Log.” To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. U.S. residents, age 18 and older. Void where prohibited by law. a Rafflecopter giveaway Join us for the Parenting Unchained Facebook Release Party. There will be even more prizes and giveaways there and the author of Parenting Unchained will be present to answer your questions!  RSVP today so you won't forget!
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Friday, November 7, 2014

CD Review and Giveaway: Manic Drive's VIP

VIP is Manic Drive's latest album. This Canadian band is new to me but I'm glad I was given the opportunity to review this album. I enjoyed listening to the CD even though it's not really my style. The music is upbeat and fun to dance along. The lyrics are faith-filled, God-centered, and encouraging. I'm impressed that they wrote all their music themselves. The band members are all in their twenties. They bring vibrant pop (plus a little rap) music and creatively present the message of the Gospel and Christ's love to the young generation. "At the end of the day, we are on a mission that far exceeds entertainment; our driving force is our desire to reach those who don’t know Christ with His message of hope as well as to encourage believers to a closer and real-life walk with Christ...Ministry comes first as we strive to encourage each other especially in our walk with God. This is an unprecedented time in history and we are all tired of the stale and mindless. A genuine experience with God is paramount to walking out this life of faith. So many people feel useless or out of place, but we are here to say that we as a generation can shake the world in amazing ways... even through the smallest actions.” ~Michael Cavallo (one of the band members, quote taken from their Facebook page)

There are 10 songs on this album:
1. Electric (featuring Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch)
2. VIP (featuring Manwell)
3. Street Lights
4. King of Mercy
5. Good News
6. I Hide You Seek
7. Song to Sing
8. Fire
9. Indestructible
10. Rhythm

My favorite songs from this album include King of Mercy (talking about the depth of God's grace, mercy, and kindness), Fire (shining the light of Jesus), and Indestructible (God's protection, power, and strength). I also like Street Lights (a prayer asking God to lead us) and Song to Sing (it includes a few lines from familiar hymns). Good News is a joyful song that is fun to sing. The title song, VIP, is about who we are in Christ, made on purpose for a purpose. If you like fast-paced, contemporary Christian music, check this album out. Catchy tunes and meaningful messages! It will make a cool Christmas gift for teens and young adults. 

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this CD! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 11/20.
To Enter: Please leave a comment sharing who your favorite Christian musician or band is. 
For Extra Entries: (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow Manic Drive on Twitter
- "Like" Manic Drive's Facebook page
- Subscribe to Manic Drive's YouTube channel
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod 
- Follow me on Pinterest
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook 
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter
~Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

Opening Date:                  Friday, November 7
Rating:                               PG
From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (voice of Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (voice of Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (voice of Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (voice of T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring breathtaking action with all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”). 

Thanks to Allied-THA, my family and I were given an opportunity to attend a 3D advance screening of this film. We really enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. Hiro Hamada is a 14 year old genius who lives with his older brother, Tadashi (voice of Daniel Henney) and Aunt Cass (voice of Maya Rudolph). His brother encourages him to put his gifts to good use. After Tadashi dies in a fire, Hiro is in turmoil. Baymax steps in to help Hiro. Friendship blossoms between Hiro and his brother's invention, Baymax (a caring, huggable inflatable robot who's made to be anyone's personal healthcare companion). His brother's four best friends join Hiro and Baymax to find out who the man with the mask trying to kill them is. They discover that the villain steals Hiro's invention (microbots) and uses it as a weapon. Revenge creeps in but goodness prevails. 

Big Hero 6 is a wonderful, entertaining movie about brotherly love, benevolence, friendship, teamwork, courage, compassion, and sacrifice. Heartwarming and funny! We laughed a lot. You are going to love Baymax. I wish I could have one :)! The animation is excellent. The setting which is the city of San Fransokyo (San Francisco+Tokyo) is captured brilliantly. Big Heroes with big hearts! 8 thumbs up from 4 of us for Big Hero 6!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas

About the book:
Discover how to live out a sacred marriage. You believe your marriage has eternal purposes. you long for it to reach beyond your home and encourage others. But what does it look like to have a spiritually intentional relationship in the midst of dirty dishes, work deadlines, and car pools? In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas showed us that God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy. Now, in A Lifelong Love, Thomas gives us the practical tools to craft our marriages into inspiring relationships that breathe spiritual life to others. Whatever season of marriage you are in, A Lifelong Love gives your the practical help you need to infuse your marriage with a spiritual passion that will not only change you but will change the world around you.

About the author:

Gary Thomas is writer-in-residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, a frequent guest on Focus on the Family and FamilyLife Today radio, and a popular speaker. His award-winning books, including The Sacred Search, have been translated into over a dozen languages and together have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Thomas and his wife have been married thirty years and have three children.

My Review:

Marriage according to God and His Word is meant to last for a lifetime...as long as we both shall live, not as long as we both feel loved. Our society treats marriage as a casual relationship that can end in a divorce whenever it doesn't work out the way one spouse (or both) feels/thinks it should. This book shows how to live out a sacred marriage that is pleasing to God and honoring Him. The secret or key to a lifelong love/a lifetime marriage is not found in a formula or 1-2-3 steps, but rather in God who is Love and who designs marriage. The author presents marriage from an eternal perspective and from God's principles. The book is divided into 3 main parts: The Magnificent Obsession, Growing Together, and The Journey Toward Love. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions for reflection & discussion and a prayer. At the end of the book, there is an appendix titled, "God Hates Domestic Violence".

Have you ever thought of God as your Father-in-Law (assuming your spouse is a believer)? The author helps readers see their spouse through God's eyes and treat him/her as God wants His precious child to be treated (with love, benevolence, honor, and respect). The focus of marriage should first be a magnificent obsession with God and His kingdom. A Lifelong Love will help you and your spouse grow closer to God and to each other. The book will challenge and encourage you to rely on God, obey God, glorify God, and rest in God no matter how your spouse responds. You will find practical, Biblically sound advice on how to improve your intimacy. It does take work and effort; you have to be intentional and prayerful. When you put God first and aim to please God in everything you do, your spouse and your marriage will greatly benefit and be blessed. It will change self-centered marriage (which is doomed to fail) into God-centered marriage (which will last for a lifetime). I highly recommend this book to any couples who desire a spiritually rich & satisfying marital relationship!

"When God becomes part of the equation, it's not what we get from or even bring into our marriages, but it's what we do with His empowering presence that creates a rich intimacy and a beautiful relationship." (p. 18)

"Since marriage is one of the most profound acts of worship any two believers can ever share, it is impossible to be married in a sacred manner without the Holy Spirit being active in our lives, helping us to understand what it means to love, giving us the power to love, convicting us when we fail to love, renewing our hearts when we grow weary in love, and pouring out hope when we grow discouraged in love." (p. 74)
"And that's the miracle of marriage--it forces us to depend on God, and all of life is transformed when we live in dependence on Him." (p. 76)
"Creating a marriage worthy of my calling means creating a marriage where the character of Jesus is displayed for all to see." (p. 110)

"Love is a disposition to do what is best for the other, out of the inner compulsion from the Holy Spirit, to serve this person's best interests." (p. 256)
"Biblical love isn't a feeling to be felt; it's a commitment to be kept." (p. 263)
"The Biblical goal is a shared experience of God living in us and God's love being made complete in us." (p. 281)

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this excellent book! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 11/15.
To Enter: Please share the best marital advice you've ever received. 
For Extra Entries: (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyLthomas

- "Like" Gary's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/authorgarythomas
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod 
- Follow me on Pinterest
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook 
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

~Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.