Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Triple Dog Dare Devotional by Jeremy V. Jones

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

Jeremy Jones

and the book:

David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Jeremy V. Jones is an award-winning journalist who has served as senior associate editor of Breakaway magazine. He has authored several books, including Toward the Goal: The Kaka Story and The Keeper: The Tim Hoard Story. He also writes for magazines such as Clubhouse and Christianity Today. He resides with his wife and two children in Colorado.


Boys want action. They don’t want to sit around and talk—that’s for grown-ups and girls. They engage life and relationships by doing something: skateboarding, playing games or re-creating favorite movie scenes. So why should faith be any different? That’s why Jeremy V. Jones created Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys—to provide the action boys need in order to grow their faith.

The Bible is full of action. Remember how David slew Goliath, Daniel faced those lions, Paul survived a shipwreck and Jesus stood up for a woman about to be killed? God made boys to take His truth and do something with it, to man up and change the world. These action-packed devotions for boys ages 9 to 12 are filled with godly truth and bold spiritual challenges that transform time with God into the adventure of the day.

Triple Dog Dare connects God’s Word to boys’ hearts and hands with real-life scenarios and activities. Each day is filled with short Scriptures, concise biblical truth and a daily dare, all challenging them to put their faith into practice. Scripture readings from every book of the Bible open up the action-packed Word of God. Whether it’s drawing comic strips of biblical battles, dreaming up a life list of goals, making snack packs for the homeless or producing Bible-based movies, boys will go on daily dynamic experiences with God, taking faith off the page and setting it into motion. Themes cover the daily realities of pre-teen males, including bullying, peer pressure, girls, sibling rivalry, honesty and more.

These exciting devotions will inspire boys’ hearts toward godly characteristics such as integrity, generosity and kindness. Parents will appreciate watching Christ-like traits emerge as each dare is undertaken. It is a manual that will deepen boys’ friendships with Jesus as they look forward to spending time with Him every day. So if you know a boy who is up for the challenge, triple dog dare him!

I collect devotionals. However, it's hard to find one that interests my sons. They usually read the Bible or listen to the Bible CDs for their quiet time. I've taught my boys not to fall into the trap of dares which usually lead to bad decisions. However, I'm totally happy to make an exception for this book. The dares in this book are character-building, Bible-applying, and God-serving kinds of dares. Boys are little men; like men, they thrive on action, adventure, and challenges. Pre-teens will enjoy this faith-filled, action-packed, and virtue-laden devotional. Each weekday's devotion includes one Bible verse or passage, relevant message, triple dog dares (3 bullet points which are suggested activities), and a space to write down answers to two questions: "What did you do? What did you learn?". Each weekend's devotion includes either Make Triple Dog Tracks section (which gives fun, creative ideas such as making a movie, comic strip, or life list) or From the Triple Dog Pound section (which talks about men in the Bible who did great things for God plus ideas of how readers can do the same). Learning God's Word should be exciting and life-changing; living for God should be the greatest adventure. Triple Dog Dare Devotional will help boys move into the right direction and put their faith into action.

Examples of dares: 
  • When you play a game or do some work you're really good at, look for a way to help someone who's not as good.
  • Trust and go. If your decision lines up with God's Word, give it all you've got for God.
  • Raise money and awareness to stop slavery through organizations like Loose Change to Loosen Chains or the International Justice Mission.

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781404576
ISBN-13: 978-0781404570

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER (Click on images to enlarge):

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Give Me Your Eyes

My 18 year old daughter, Alyssa, put together a slideshow of her short term mission trip onboard the Logos Hope in Malaysia. The song is Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath.

"Blessed is he who is kind to the needy." Proverbs 14:21b
"Whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31b
"Be kind and compassionate to one another." Ephesians 4:32a
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8

"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." ~Bob Pierce

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The House of Hope

About The House of Hope
One couple’s powerful ministry to some of China’s most vulnerable children Robin and Joyce Hill lived in a gated community in Beijing. Their family’s life was marked by luxury and the security of Robin's job as an engineer. Then one day, as members of their church, they had a chance to tour a state-run orphanage. Haunted by the needs of the children they saw there, for the next four years they tried to help the institute in meaningful ways.

In 1998 the Hills planned to leave China, but instead felt a sudden call from God on their lives. They left their gated community--reserved for only non-Chinese residents--moved their family into a small apartment miles outside of Beijing and immediately began to take in foster children.

They took in any child, but especially those that needed extra care—terminally ill children that couldn't receive care elsewhere, and those that needed complicated and expensive surgeries that the Hills soon began to coordinate and sometimes pay for out of their own savings.

What began as Hope Foster Home is now New Hope Foundation. As they continue their work, the Hills enjoy support from major corporations and high-profile philanthropists as well as the trust of the Chinese authorities. The Hills' story is an inspiring example of God's care and provision for those whom society does not value. Learn more about Hope Foster Homes here: http://www.hopefosterhome.com/.

"I strongly support Robin and Joyce Hill's New Hope Foundation which is saving so many orphan lives in China. Read this amazing story of God's grace and accept the challenge to make a difference!"
--Steven Curtis Chapman

"I had the privilege of going to China and witnessing the work that God is doing through Robin and Joyce Hill. They are wonderful servants of God who lovingly care for the 'least of these.' I hope that many will read this book and consider their example."
--Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love

About Elisabeth Gifford: Elisabeth Gifford is a journalist who has written for the London Times and the Independent Newspapers. She lives in Kingston, England, and teaches children with dyslexia.

My Thoughts and Review: 
My family and I have always wanted to someday open an orphanage (perhaps in Thailand). God loves the orphans and we do, too. The House of Hope is a fascinating book. My heart was saddened to read about how so many precious children have been abandoned and uncared for. At the same time, I was encouraged to see how God used the Hills and many others to love and care for the orphans of China. Thanks to the Hills' obedience and relentless faith, many lives have been saved! Robin (previously worked as an engineer) and Joyce (previously worked as a doctor) put Christ's love in action by taking great care of the orphans, especially the ones who need urgent surgeries and the ones who are dying. I was excited each time I read that the children whom many thought would not survive...received medical help and loving attention via New Hope Foundation and became even healthy enough for adoption. God continues to work through people like the Hills to give the orphans in China hope when it seems hopeless at times. In this book, you will read about the Hills' struggles, triumphs, and heart-wrenching decisions. They are ordinary people (dealing with pain and sorrow) who are doing extraordinary things for God and for the forgotten little ones. At the end of the book, you will find a list of sponsors and friends of New Hope Foundation and how you can get involved with New Hope Foundation's work in China. I highly recommend you buy this book; 100% of the proceeds of this book go to fund the work at HOPE FOSTER HOME.

"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." ~Bob Pierce

About the Giveaway!
The publisher is sponsoring a $50 "GET / GIVE" GIVEAWAY: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate for themselves AND $50 will be given in the winner's name to Hope Foster Home.

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using #HFH) about The House of Hope or share about it on Facebook!
If you tweet, we'll capture your entry when you use #HFH. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know (http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=4005868524349891185). 

Not sure what to tweet/post? Here's an idea:
TWEET THIS:  Couple gives all to rescue babies in China! 100% proceeds go to #HopeFosterHome http://ow.ly/7qR3e RT 4 $50 to @amazon & $50 to #HFH (must use hashtage #HFH to be entered)

FACEBOOK THIS: The House of Hope: One couple abandons a comfortable life to rescue abandoned children. Robin and Joyce Hill have helped over 1300 Chinese orphans with severe medical problems. Purchase a copy for everyone you know - the book is a gift that gives a gift. 100% proceeds to help support the work at Hope Foster Home! Learn more here: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13438821 Share this for a chance to get a $50 Amazon.com GC and $50 in your name to Hope Foster Home! Click For Details.

~ I was given a free copy of this book via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. To read other reviews of this book, please visit the blog tour list here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Truth Tats: The Christmas Story

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card is developed by:

and the Advent idea:

B&H Publishing Group
***Special thanks to Susan Otis of Creative Resources, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Truth Tats: The Christmas Story
Celebrating the Season of Advent with Truth Tats

Designed just for the season, Christmas Truth Tats present a new way of telling the story of Christ’s birth. Truth Tats are temporarily on your skin, permanently on your heart.

This is a five week program leading up to Christmas day, each packet of Truth Tats includes a family devotional booklet that kicks off each memory scripture of the week. The twenty accompanying Scripture tattoos are a visual way to continually applying and memorize God’s word. Each week opens with a set of four identical Scripture tattoo designs so that each family member can have his or her own tattoo! Week two, there is a new Scripture for memorization and four new tattoo designs, again identical designs so each person is memorizing the same Scripture.

For over 1,000 years Christians worldwide have been celebrating Advent, a time of spiritual preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. The word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus meaning “coming toward”. So it is entirely appropriate that the four weeks prior to Christmas we will be preparing our hearts for His Advent.

Truth Tats are a unique way to celebrate the season as well as to “show and tell” God’s word to others. This is ideal for the classroom, family devotion time, and in personal Scripture memorization

Product Details:
List Price: $3.99
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Language: English

I love celebrating Christ's birth and I love Bible memorization! Truth Tats are a fun way that helps me do both. I'm not a fan of tattoos but I'm okay with Truth Tats because these are temporary tattoos. It is really easy to apply Truth Tats on back of hand. I know the first week of Advent is not here yet but I tried Week 1 verse (John 8:12) Truth Tat on my right hand. It looks cool :) and it may give me opportunities to share with others about the true meaning of Christmas. I'm excited about that! I'm looking forward to using the devotional guide and Truth Tats with my family during this year's Advent. Christ-centered Advent is what we enjoy.

AND NOW...WEEK ONE OF ADVENT (Click on pictures to enlarge):

Sunday, November 13, 2011

There's No Place Like HOMEschool

Here are my reasons why I believe...when it comes to school, there’s no place like home:
  • At home…I have the opportunity (everyday…all day long) to teach & train my kids, and instill Biblical values in them. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 My kids are taught about priorities in life: GOD first, family second. My kids are taught to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" and to "love your neighbor as yourself."
  • At home…my kids and I can pray anytime, can read the Bible anytime, can praise and worship God anytime, can quote Bible verses anytime, and can discuss about God & His Word anytime. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on YOUR CHILDREN. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7
  • At home…my kids are taught to realize that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."
  • At home…my kids see that Jesus Christ is our ultimate Role Model!
  • At home…my kids embrace eternal perspective/Biblical perspective and a heart for the Great Commission.
  • At home…my kids are equipped and prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope that they have.  They are encouraged to boldly proclaim the Gospel and to faithfully serve the King of kings.
  • At home…my kids’ character is of greater importance than their academic achievement.
  • At home…I get to spend time with my kids. I treasure every moment (good and bad). They grow so fast. I love to witness their different stages. I love listening to my kids talk. I love hearing them laugh, joke around, and encourage one another.
  • At home…I get to know my kids more and more each day. I get to know and appreciate their likes, their dislikes, their interests, their talents, their learning styles, and their unique personalities.
  • At home…my kids are safe & secure and are learning in a loving, non-judgmental environment.
  • At home…my kids are free to be themselves…to be who God wants them to be. Free to question, free to explore, free to discuss, free to pursue what they’re interested in, free to sing (make a joyful noise in class), free to lie down on the floor while studying, free to jump up and down or play basketball while doing spelling tests (orally), free to have snacks while reading, free to get mom’s hugs anytime they want :) , etc.  
  • At home…we can be flexible with our time management. We don’t have to rush (go..go..go) in the morning. We can take breaks when we need or want to. We can take our vacation during the school year.
  • At home…my kids are not exposed to all the awful things that are going on in public schools and even in some Christian private schools (drugs, swearing, immodesty, violence, bullies, inappropriate talks/discussion, cheating, lying, name-calling, bad manners, disrespectfulness, defiance against authority, peer pressure, bad influences, etc.)
  • At home…my kids are not constantly exposed to sicknesses/germs.
  • At home…I get to learn right along with my kids. It’s a lot of fun!
  • At home…my kids learn to help one another out. The older ones help teach the younger ones. They have developed such a strong bond. Precious memories…precious relationship, indeed!
  • At home…my kids love & trust their teachers (Mom & Dad); their teachers love & genuinely care about them.  Hugs and kisses are not only allowed but also very welcome :) .
" My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3  At home…we work towards that goal!  For us…when it comes to school, there’s no other place but HOME!

Which Dwarf Are You :)?

When my daughter (now 18) was about 2 years old, I babysat two kids at their house a few times a week. The mom picked my daughter and me up early each morning. One day while at their house, I read to the kids several books, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Later that day, when I was putting my daughter down for her nap, she was rubbing her eyes so I either said, "You must be sleepy." or asked her, "Are you sleepy?" She replied, "No, Mommy, I’m not ‘Sleepy’…I’m ‘Happy’" (she thought I was referring to one of the seven dwarfs). She has certainly been a happy child!

My Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite things (that song from the Sound of Music is now stuck in my head):-
1. My Bible with all the colorful highlights (I have tons of favorite verses :) )
2. Hugs and kisses from my sweetheart and kids
3. The pictures/photos of my kids and of my husband and me & home videos
4. "Special treasure box" where I keep all the love notes, cards, poems, & other keepsakes that my beloved husband has given me
5. My kids’ notes and artwork
6. The songs that my talented husband composed just for me and the songs he composed for our kids, plus all of his CDs :)
7. My wedding ring
8. My CD collection (especially hymn, praise & worship, and Keith Green CDs)
9. My book collection
10. Thai food (especially Hoh Mok, Tod Mun, most curry dishes)
11. Snow
12. Dark chocolate
What are some of your favorite things?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DVD Review and Giveaway: Christmas Lodge

Thomas Kinkade presents Christmas Lodge: a place where a heart-warming past and loving future meet for one remarkable group of people. During a weekend trip to the mountains, Mary (Erin Karpluk) finds herself at the now- dilapidated lodge where she spent the holidays with her family growing up. She becomes determined to restore the building to its former glory. Inspired by her grandfather and guided by her grandmother in heaven, Mary throws herself into the project, and during the process finds herself drawn to Jack (Michael Shanks), a handsome man who loves the lodge as much as she does. Historically unlucky in love, this chance encounter allows Mary to renew her faith in life and discover her one true love. For an uplifting story about the importance of faith, family and the true holiday spirit, go to the Christmas Lodge.

Can you believe that Christmas is just around the corner :)? Christmas Lodge is a clean Christian family movie about fond memories leading to new love and a family reunion at the Christmas Lodge. With resolute support from her ill grandfather, Mary (the lead character) is determined to help Jack and his young daughter renovate their Christmas Lodge. It holds precious memories for Mary and her family. The plot is quite predictable; the acting is pretty good. In the movie, the characters pray (without saying "in Jesus's name" though) and speak about God and the Bible several times. However, I find it odd that they keep referring to God and Grandmother in heaven (never just God) talking to Mary and her grandfather and that the true meaning of Christmas (Christ's birth to save sinners) is never mentioned. Two female characters were dressed immodestly in tight/revealing clothes. Besides that, it's a feel-good movie that promotes family, faith, kindness, memory-making, and hiking :).
You can watch the Christmas Lodge trailer at http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1554553881/

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this DVD. Ends 11/19 at midnight Pacific time. One winner will be chosen via random.org. Please make sure you leave your email address with your comment(s).

To Enter: Leave a comment sharing about your favorite Christmas tradition, song, or movie.
For Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."