Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Review: Israel--God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel

Israel is one of the countries I've always wanted to visit. Photography is one of my hobbies. Therefore, I really enjoyed reviewing this book. Ron Gafni's aerial photography is remarkable. Kathleen Barrett's Biblical narratives are insightful. In this book, the Holy Land's ancient landscapes are beautifully captured while its legacy of God's redemptive love story is clearly told. It is indeed a rare treat for anyone to be able to experience Israel from a bird's eye view. It offers a unique perspective. The book is divided into five sections: Beloved Jerusalem, Divine Design, Landscapes of History, Marvels of Modern Israel, and Salt of the Earth--The Dead Sea.

Each of the color photographs has a caption describing location and interesting fact. You will see photos of historical landmarks, birds, wildlife, flowers, landscapes, modern life, and more. Some of my favorites are rocks formation at the Mediterranean Sea, the Dead Sea, Dead Sea sinkholes filled with different mineral water, Sedom Mountain above the Dead Sea, the Bay of Eilat on the shores of the Red Sea, and the Arbel Cliff above the Sea of Galilee. 
The breathtaking beauty of God's magnificent creation abounds! Israel is rich with Biblical history as you can see in this book. There are Scriptural references throughout the book. The narratives enhance the photographs and vice versa. They work together so well to make the Bible come alive. I've learned quite a bit about Israel's history and geography from this small book. I highly recommend this visually stunning coffee table book!
 




~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.
About the authors:

Ron Gafni works as a professional aerial photographer after spending more than a decade in Israel's High-Tech Industry. He brings his vast experience and personal perspective through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in "National Geographic," and his company, Skypics.co.il, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli government, Army and Air force, as well as to large corporations in Israel. 


Kathleen Barrett, a south Florida resident and former teacher is a student of the Word. She shares her thoughtful point of view in "Israel-God's Heart" from a personal, 40 year walk of Christian faith and study. In 2002, she authored a children's devotional. Before that and since then, she has published numerous articles from mission's outreach to local political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.
Find out more at http://skypics.co.il.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: The Good Book by Deron Spoo


The best and greatest book in the world is the Bible (God's Word)! It's definitely life-changing! For new Christians, it can be daunting to read and understand the Bible. Often they feel overwhelmed and don't know where they should start. The Good Book by Deron Spoo is an excellent book that gives readers 40 highlights from the Bible. Hopefully, it will encourage and motivate readers to read the rest of the Bible. Even for those who have read the Bible regularly for years, it offers fresh insights and fuels the passion and appreciation for God's love letter even more. The book is divided into 8 main sections: In the Beginning, God Is Good When Life Gets Messy, God Is Big, Tough Love; Troubled Times, Jesus Has Just Entered the Building, Jesus Won't Leave Us as We Are, Following Jesus, and God's Message for You. There are five chapters in each section. Though I am familiar with all 40 chapters (half from the Old Testament and half from the New Testament) that the author selected for this book, I enjoyed reading and learning from the book. These 40 chapters cover important (every Christian should know) themes in the Bible such as creation, faith, grace, salvation, suffering, spiritual growth, wisdom, obedience, integrity, worry, death, agape, Heaven, and more . Each chapter starts with Scriptures and ends with thought-provoking questions for reflection. It's theologically sound and easy to understand. The author often uses real life stories, historical facts, or scientific facts to demonstrate lessons/truths from the Bible. He shows how God's Word is valuable and applicable to our daily life. The Good Book will help new believers gain a solid foundation in God's truths. I highly recommend this book! May you know God more through His Word and make Him known to the world!

"God's presence is our greatest source of confidence and courage." (p. 109)
"Grace is God's decision to outlast our every attempt to avoid him, to outdistance our attempts to run from him, and to outwait our stubbornness in resisting him." (p. 210)
"Love is sacrificial in its protection, optimistic in its trust, positive in its hope, and unflinching in its resolve. Far beyond mere emotion, love is a decision to will and work for someone's best interests--always." (p.359)
"The best measure of spiritual maturity isn't one's spiritual gifts but one's spiritual fruit." (p. 366)

About the Author:


Deron Spoo is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the past 16 years, Spoo has guided the church as it transitions from being simply a downtown church to a regional church committed to urban ministry. Church members describe him as "down to earth" and "authentic." His television devotionals, "First Things First," reach 100,000 people each week. Spoo is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Find out more about Deron at http://www.readthegoodbook.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.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Book Review: The Joy of Letting Go by Vicki Caruana



As a mother of three who are 23 (about to graduate from college), 18 (working and deciding whether to go to college), and 15 (homeschooling), I have been experiencing both the joy and the anxiety of letting go. I want to help my children spread their wings and soar successfully in this wide world. Yet sometimes I don't want them to grow up too fast or too independent. This book aims to help ease the letting go process so that it will be not only effective but also enjoyable. Each of the 52 devotional readings begins with an insightful quote and ends with Thought Poke (including great questions for reflection), and a relevant Bible verse. Each devotional reading is short and concise. The author offers valuable lessons from her own personal experiences and practical advice. The Joy of Letting Go helps parents be prepared mentally and emotionally as they equip their children for independence and adjust themselves to changes. It's an easy, encouraging read!

"You know your children better than anyone else. You know what they can and can't handle. When deciding how and when to let go or to at lease loosen your grip, make sure your decision is based on what they can and can't handle and not on what you can and can't handle." (p.33)

About the author:
Dr. Vicki Caruana is the author of 20 books and the blog Apples & Chalkdust-named after her bestselling book that has touched the lives of a million educators around the world. Caruana is one of four parenting experts on "Starting Points," Focus on the Family's parenting DVD series. Formerly a public school teacher and a homeschooling mom, Vicki is now an assistant professor of education at Mount Saint Mary College in New York. She lives with her station wagon loving husband, Chip, in Newburgh, New York and has two grown sons in Colorado Springs.
Find out more about Vicki at http://vickicaruana.blogspot.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.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: The NKJV Woman's Study Bible


One can never have too many Bibles, right :)? I love studying God's Word. I was so thrilled to have an opportunity to review the NKJV Woman's Study Bible!  I chose the imitation leather one. It's simple and elegant on the outside; it's colorful and delightful on the inside. The NKJV version has always been one of my favorites. One reason is that it capitalizes all the nouns and pronouns referring to God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit. This new NKJV Waoman's Study Bible includes many fantastic features such as detailed profiles of women in the Bible (even some obscure ones), study notes, book introductions & outlines, topical articles on various life issues, insightful quotes, maps, charts, and more. I'm glad that the font is big and easy to read. I personally collect quotes; therefore, I enjoy the quotes from godly women throughout history. I'm a visual learner so I really appreciate all the visual aids in this Bible. For example, I'm reading Philippians right now and there are charts on prayers for your children, Jesus' pilgrimage, and Paul's pilgrimage. These are very helpful to me. Do you know who Euodia and Syntyche were? Their character profile can be found in the book of Philippians. I also love the concordance in the back because it's convenient for me when I search for Biblical references of certain words or topics. I highly recommend this Bible to any woman who wants to dig deeper into God's transforming Word and experience sweeter intimacy with God. To me, this is such a gem! It would make a special, meaningful gift for any woman in your lives. Mother's Day is approaching...hint hint.

~I received a free copy of this NKJV Woman's Study Bible from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

CD Review and Giveaway: Laura Story's Open Hands

 Open Hands
Laura Story's new album, Open Hands, is now in stores. I love Laura's beautiful voice and passionate heart for God. Laura Story is a gifted song writer. This new album is filled with meaningful, worshipful, reflective songs. Below is the list of songs.
1. Death Was Arrested
2. Open Hands
3. You Came Running
4. Give You Faith
5. For the Love of My King
6. Awake My Soul (A 1000 Tongues)
7. Whisper
8. Every Word You Breathe
9. Majesty
10. Extraordinary
11. Grace Abounds

The first song, Death Was Arrested, reminds us of God's love, grace, & mercy and our life & freedom in Christ. One of my favorite songs in this album is Open Hands, a song about faith and surrender (featuring Third Day's Mac Powell). You Came Running talks about hope and comfort we find in God & His faithfulness. As a mom, I can relate to the song, Give You Faith, which shares my desire to teach my children about faith in God and to leave a legacy of faith. Another favorite is For the Love of My King, which is an adaptation of the hymn, "My Jesus, I Love Thee." Awake My Soul is an adaptation of the hymn, "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing." Whisper is a song about waiting for the Lord in quiet trust and surrender. Every Word You Breathe is a prayerful song of revival. Majesty is a wonderful song of praise. I love the catchy, uplifting song, Extraordinary, which talks about God's extraordinary love for us. The last song, Grace Abounds, really ministers to my heart. God's grace truly abounds even when our faith is weak. I actually enjoyed every song. The songs resonate surrender, faith, hope, and encouragement. I highly recommend this album!

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this CD! The giveaway is open to 
residents of the U.S. only. Ends 3/24 at midnight Pacific time.
To Enter: Please share in the comment one of your current favorite Christian musicians or songs.
For Extra Entries(please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
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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.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: Tightropes and Teeter-Totters by Lisa Pennington


We, especially moms, seem to struggle with finding balance. Too many things to juggle! Lisa Pennington has been there and done that. She is a homeschooling mom of 9 children. Lisa shares stories from her own experiences and offers practical ideas for finding and keeping balance in our lives. How do you define what balance is? It's easier to tell when we are out of balance. Symptoms may include stress, anxieties, depression, discouragement, guilt, sleepless nights, feeling overwhelmed, etc. There are different areas in a woman's life that can get out of balance. The author covers all the important areas such as marriage, motherhood, home management, ministry and work, friendship, finance, speech, moods, and more. Causes vary. The recent death of my mother-in-law really knocked me of balance. This book came to me at an opportune time. I find this quote in the book ministering to my heart: "Balance is the result of an intentional reaction to an extreme situation. We are not slaves to our emotions and attitudes. We can actually be large and in charge of both our external responses and our internal responses. Balance is looking at areas in your life that are not working and finding measurable, specific actions to change them." (p. 22) Each chapter starts with a Bible verse and ends with an assignment. The author uses an acronym: B(egin) A(ssess) L(earn) A(ccount) N(otify) C(hange) E(ndure) to help navigate through a difficult situation or a problem that leads to imbalance. I can relate to her pretty well since she is an introvert, list-maker, and homeschooling mom like me :). I appreciate her transparency, humor, insights, and Biblically-based advice. Live intentionally; find balance and beauty in your lives. Check out this encouraging read!


Lisa Pennington is a homeschooling mom of nine who shares her life-one laundry load at a time-on her blog, The Pennington Point. She is a sought-after speaker at conferences and women's groups and is the author of "Mama Needs a Do-Over." Lisa and her family live near San Antonio.

Find out more about Lisa at thepenningtonpoint.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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway: Control Girl by Shannon Popkin

Do you know any controlling, manipulative persons in your life? They are not pleasant to be around, are they? I know I don't want to become one. Maybe you yourselves have struggled with the desire to control. I know I have at times. This desire or craving usually makes things worse and produces the results that are opposite of what we expect/want. It also brings about anger, frustration, stress, fear, anxiety, discontent, pressure, and conflicts. It often damages relationships. The author of Control Girl shares valuable lessons from seven women in the Bible who had the control problem: Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Miriam. Their control issues led to a mess which serves as a warning for us. Shannon Popkin points out that there's a better way to live. Relinquishing control (surrendering all to God who truly is in control) and living by faith lead to a beautiful & victorious life. A life of sweet surrender brings peace, joy, and freedom. On the contrary, the craving for control is a curse, burden, and disease. Control is an illusion, anyway. At then end of the book, the author uses Mary as an example of a surrendered life we should emulate.

The author shares about her own control struggles and the devastating effects of the control problem seen in seven women in the Bible. Each chapter consists of 3-5 lessons. Each lesson includes Scriptures for study and meditation, questions to reflect upon, and practical steps to apply. I highly recommend this relevant, convicting, and insightful book! It's great for personal study or for small group studies. I'd rather be a Jesus freak than a control freak any day. How about you?

"As we try to control things we can't control, we tend to lose control of the one thing we can--ourselves." (p. 27)
"Faith is trusting that God is for us, even when he keeps things from us." (p. 40)
"Rather than controlling my loved ones by pressuring them into external changes, I must exhort them with truth, then entreat God to work in their hearts." (p. 75)
"It's possible to give God control of big decisions and then ignore his Spirit for the small ones. It's possible to make Jesus our King and then live like a Control Girl queen." (p. 189)



~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.

About the author:

Shannon Popkin is a wife and mom, a speaker and teacher, and a leader of small group studies. She's been published by "Family Fun," "MOMsense," "Focus on the Family Magazine," and other outlets. She is a contributing blogger for True Woman.com and has blogged for several years at shannonpopkin.com. "Control Girl" is her first book.
Find out more about Shannon at shannonpopkin.com.
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Are you trying to stay in control of your quest for peace, joy, and security . . . and you're exhausted? Shannon Popkin's debut book, Control Girl, is a must-read for anyone with a heart that craves control. Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.

Learn how to give up control to God and become a Jesus girl! Enter to win a prize pack that will help you give up your Control Girl tendencies.


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on February 21. The winner will be announced February 22 on Shannon's blog.