Wednesday, December 6, 2017

CD Review: A Girl Like Me by Julie Elias

A Girl Like Me
I like to check out new Christian music albums. I was glad for the opportunity to review a new CD, "A Girl Like Me" by Julie Elias. I had not heard of her before. Julie Elias was an actress (appearing on shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI: NY") and now she is a Christian singer and songwriter. She has a beautiful voice. She wrote all the songs on this album except three. She used her own personal experiences in her songs, hoping to share with others how God has worked in her life.

Below is the list of songs:
1. Unchained
2. Only For Awhile
3. Awaken
4. A Girl Like Me
5. Alive
6. Forgive Me
7. Lost
8. Run Away
9. Here With Us
10. Wherever You Roam
11. A Wild Rose
12. In the Light

I enjoyed listening to this CD. Some songs are catchy and some are soothing. All original songs are intentionally crafted to share stories that aim to encourage and inspire young women. Unchained is a song about freedom and transformation and about praising God for His power, mercy, majesty, and holiness. Only For Awhile is an upbeat song about different seasons of life and changes that are all temporary. Awaken is a song of prayer, asking God to awaken our soul & consume our lives with His presence, to purify our hearts' desires, to put away deeds of darkness, to armor us with His light, and to give us vibrant joy. Forgive Me is a humble song about taking the first step to ask a friend for forgiveness. Lost is a song of faith about knowing that we're not alone and choosing to surrender and trust God through every trial and every tear. Some of my favorite songs on this album are A Girl Like Me, Run Away, Here With Us, and In the Light. A Girl Like Me (which is the title of this album) is a beautiful, heartfelt song that talks about how God sees all of us and yet still loves us, despite our weaknesses, mistakes, failures, and shame. Run Away is a song of determination to not run away from God anymore but to look to Him for strength and courage, instead. Here With Us is a wonderful Christmas song about Jesus Christ, Son of God & Servant King, who is our Immanuel, God with us. I've always loved DC Talk's In the Light and I think Julie did a great job doing its cover. Christmas is just around the corner. This CD would make a lovely, meaningful Christmas gift for any tween girls, teen girls, and young women in your lives.

Official Website: www.julieeliasmusic.com
Note: You can enter a giveaway to win a free copy of this CD at  https://www.blessedfreebies.com/enter-to-win-a-girl-like-me.html

~I received a free copy of this CD via FrontGate Media in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: She Reads Truth Bible

I love studying God's Word. 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 a She Reads Truth Bible for review. It is a Poppy Linen hardcover. It is Christian Standard Bible (CSB) version. It may look plain on the outside but it is quite pretty and appealing on the inside. This Bible's key features are color-coded genre indicators, key verse arts, book introductions, maps, charts, reading plans (including supplementary passages for added context and deeper understanding), timelines, and devotionals. I'm a visual learner so I find maps and charts very helpful. I think it's great that "How to Read the Bible", "This is the Gospel", and "Introduction to the Christian Standard Bible" are included in the beginning of the book. In the back of the book, you will find a list of key verses, genre guide (color-coded), the Apostles' Creed, the Bible in a Year reading plan, topical index, maps, and table of weights & measures. 
 I'm currently studying Names of God. Yesterday, I was studying one of Christ's Names in Revelation 1:8, "the Alpha and the Omega". Isn't the key verse art (more samples below) beautiful? It serves to help us memorize key verses (theme verses selected for each book). I appreciate the concise book introductions which cover cultural context (overview of the approximate time of writing, authorship, historical context, and relevant geography), main message and purpose, and Biblical significance (each book's unique contribution to the canon of Scripture). I really like the two ribbon markers, one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament. The Bible's layout on each page provides extra-wide margins for note-taking and journaling. The devotionals are gospel-centered and insightful. Christmas is just around the corner. This Bible would also make a wonderful, meaningful gift for any women in your lives!
I love the answer to why a She Reads Truth Bible was created: "This Bible is our humble attempt to honor the inherently beautiful gospel with the aesthetic beauty it deserves. Scripture is a glorious collision of beauty, goodness, and truth, and we pray this book you hold in your hands represents that. Our heart for the She Reads Truth Bible is not to add to or improve on the perfect and complete gift of Scripture God has given us. Rather, our heart is for everything we've included in this Bible to point back to God and His Word. Every human word and element in this book is an intentional invitation for you to both read Scripture and grow in your affection for it."  


~I received this Bible for free from B&H Publishing via FrontGate Media in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Note: You can win one of 7 copies! https://www.blessedfreebies.com/she-reads-truth.html

Thursday, November 30, 2017

30 Days of Thankfulness 2017

1. I am thankful that "God works in me both to will and to act for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) Thank You, Lord, for fixing our electricity problems!

2. I am thankful that I am chosen, royal, holy, special (treasured), and called out of darkness into God's wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). Thank You, Lord, for Your protection over Josiah!

3. I am thankful for God's mercy, love, compassion, and forgiveness.

4. I am thankful for God's Word and the Holy Spirit that leads, guides, encourages, teaches, nourishes, and comforts me.

5. I am thankful for childlike faith. I am thankful for God's provision.

6. I am thankful for my eyes, the gift of sight. I am thankful for restful sleep.

7. I am thankful that out of Christ's inexhaustible fullness, I receive...grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing, comfort upon comfort.

8. I am thankful for the blessings of abundant life and everlasting life.

9. I am thankful for heat/warmth, warm shelter.

10. I am thankful for my eternal Home, Heaven, and for my future glorified body.

11. I am thankful for God's healing.

12. I am thankful for God's goodness and sovereignty.

13. I am thankful for the deep joy that is found in Christ alone.

14. I am thankful for God's constant presence and faithfulness.

15. I am thankful for brain...ability to think, remember, and create.

16. I am thankful for peace and contentment.

17. I am thankful that God always meets our needs. I am thankful that "God gives us the victory (over sin and death and self) through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57)

18. I am thankful for fun family time. I am thankful that our sons (19 and 16) still enjoy hanging out with Eric and me.

19. I am thankful that God helped Eric do well on his interviews (4 in a day) and blessed him with the director job.

20. I am thankful for my salvation...for Jesus, the Rock of my salvation, my Savior and Redeemer, my Lord and King.

21. I am thankful for God's beautiful handiwork/creation everywhere.

22. I am thankful for Who God is. Thank You, God, for being my Good, Good Father, my Refuge and Strength, my Everpresent Help, my Healer and Defender, my Shelter and Hiding Place!

23. I am thankful for my family...I'm such a blessed wife and mom. My husband and three children are my most precious, treasured gifts from the Lord.

24. I am thankful for the privilege of prayer. Thank You, Father, for listening to my prayers...for allowing me to approach Your throne of grace with confidence so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need.

25. I am thankful for technology (such as iphone, Facebook, Skype, etc.) that helps me be able to stay connected with Alyssa (who is currently in Texas) and friends who live far away.

26. I am thankful that no two Christians will ever meet for the last time.

27. I am thankful for the gift of Christ-centered, God-honoring, happy, faithful marriage.

28. I am thankful for all the hymns and songs that uplift and convict my heart and soul and draw me closer to God.

29. I am thankful for every breath and every new day God gives me.

30. I am thankful for simple joys like good company, good food, good drinks, good movies, etc.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review: Worldview by Marvin Olasky


World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life is a collection of columns which Marvin Olasky, as the Editor-in-Chief of World Magazine, wrote for the magazine. He presents Christian/ Biblical worldview on a wide variety of current world events and topics such as government role, abortion, racism, immigration, welfare, education, economics, environmentalism, tax, movies, marriage, and more. The book is divided into 5 main sections: Basics, Changes, Institutions, Causes, and Conclusions. There are 10-13 articles/columns under each section. These columns are short (only 2-3 pages long) but packed with Biblical wisdom and practical insights. The author exemplifies how to confidently speak Biblical truths in love with grace, respect, and humility and to passionately live out conviction with integrity, mercy, and compassion. Today's culture keeps challenging our faith. How do we effectively communicate about God, the Bible, and Biblical values without getting sucked into needless arguments and/or emotional outbursts? Learn from Marvin Olasky. He understands that truth without love is like poison that does more damage. We are called to be light and salt in the world. This book will help you examine your attitude, speech, and conduct and ask yourselves whether you are helping or hindering the cause of Christ. Stay faithful to God's Word and stay grace-filled in God's love. Check out this thought-provoking, Biblically sound, Christ-centered book on social issues and Christian living! Marvin Olasky did an excellent job of balancing truth with grace.

"If neither material security nor insecurity work, what's the solution? The same as to virtually every problem in the world: faith in Christ. Since we're sinners, we're all prone to insecurity, unless we realize that our security is not subjective but objective, not dependent on what we do but on what Christ has done. We feel secure when we know deep down that all things work together for the good of those who believe in Him." (p. 37)
Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of "World News Group," a distinguished chair in journalism and public policy at Patrick Henry College, and the author of more than twenty books, including "Compassionate Conservatism" and "The Tragedy of American Compassion." He and his wife, Susan, have four sons and five grandchildren.
Find out more about Marvin at http://stores.newgrowthpress.com.



~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 20, 2017

Review and Giveaway: Kutless’ ALPHA / OMEGA CD

Alpha / Omega
"'I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.'" (Revelation 22:13)

Alpha / Omega is Kutless' 10th studio album that is released this month. It consists of old and new praise & worship songs. Some of them are familiar songs which have often been sung in churches and/or heard on radios such as Your Love Awakens Me, Great Are You Lord, Cornerstone, Your Great Name, and King of My Heart.

Below is the list of songs:
1. Your Great Name
2. Strong Tower
3. Cornerstone
4. You Are Love
5. Great Are You Lord
6. Your Love Awakens Me
7. Shepherd of My Soul
8. Gave It All (I Surrender All)
9. King of My Heart
10. No Wonder (Roar of the Rugged Cross)

I've always loved praise and worship songs. I'm glad to add this album to my collection of praise and worship CDs. I really enjoyed it. It's the kind of CD that I can listen to again and again. Some of my favorites on this album include Your Great Name, King of My Heart, Cornerstone, and Gave It All (I Surrender All). Gave It All is a sweet song of surrender. "So I give my all to the God who gave it all. All to Jesus I surrender." I also like Strong Tower, a song about our Lord's mercy and protection. Jesus is our Strong Tower, Refuge, Hope, Fortress, Shelter, and Everlasting King. Your Love Awakens Me is very catchy. I think it's a great wake-up song :). Shepherd of My Soul is a comforting song based on Psalm 23.

This album will help listeners reflect upon who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Several songs list many of Christ's Names which help us appreciate His different attributes. This CD will lift up your soul in worship to our Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords. I highly recommend this beautiful, worshipful, Christ-centered CD! Christmas is just around the corner. This CD would certainly make a wonderful Christmas gift.


GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this CD! The giveaway is open to residents of the continental U.S. only. Ends 12/1 at noon Pacific time.
To Enter: Please share in the comment one of your favorite praise and worship songs.
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~ 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 a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Review and Giveaway: Ordinary Graces by Lucinda Secrest McDowell


Don't we all love receiving gifts? In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda Secrest McDowell invites readers to unwrap word gifts from God's Word. This devotional book is divided into 4 main sections: Grace, Strength, Gratitude, and Life. There are 30 words/devotions under each section. Each devotion is only 2 pages long. I collect devotional books so I'm pleased to add this one to my collection. Ordinary Graces is beautifully written. Each devotional reading focuses on one word at a time. It starts with Scripture. Sometimes, the author explains the words' original Greek or Hebrew meanings. I really like that! I also enjoy the insightful quotes and interesting stories. Some of the wonderful words you will find in the book are Lavished, Treasure, Surrounds, Patiently, Thrill, Overflow, and Attend. I think it's a great idea to take time to ponder one word each day and live it out in action. I definitely don't want to miss any of God's gifts. The words/devotions under the Gratitude section are perfect for preparing my heart for Thanksgiving season. The book will open readers' eyes to a variety of God's wondrous graces for any season of their lives. They get to appreciate God's redeeming grace, transforming grace, sustaining grace, inexhaustible grace, everyday grace...again and again. Each devotion may seem short but it's deep and impactful, encouraging and faith-building, refreshing and comforting. Ordinary Graces will help you notice God's daily graces, draw you closer to God, and help you be more thankful and joyful. Christmas is just around the corner. This book would make a meaningful gift. Check this Biblically sound, Christ-centered, grace-filled devotional out and enjoy its nuggets of wisdom!

About the author:


Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life - both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers "Encouraging Words" to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of 13 books, including "Ordinary Graces," "Dwelling Places," "Live These Words," "Refresh!," "Quilts from Heaven" and "Role of a Lifetime." Whether co-directing the "reNEW - retreat for New England Writing," mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages.


~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.
Are you ready to receive gifts of ordinary grace and abundant life from God and His Word? Join Lucinda in focusing on one word a day through devotional readings and short benedictions in her new book, Ordinary Graces. God has given us many gifts, such as his grace—the gift we don’t deserve and can never earn. Promises from the One who declares we are already loved, already accepted, already created in his image. The question becomes, will we truly receive that gift? Will the reality of it actually change the way we think and notice and reach out?

Celebrate the release of Lucinda's new book and grace your holiday season with a $75 Etsy gift card giveaway!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Ordinary Graces
  • A $75 Etsy gift card
  • A grace bracelet
  • A set of Ordinary Graces greeting cards
 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 24. The winner will be announced November 27 on the Litfuse blog.

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 http://www.blessedfreebies.com/soulfull.html .





~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.