Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament

I’m becoming an advocate for combining art and faith. I am learning how the Lord has given us artistic creativity to express our praise and worship of Him. Everyone naturally accepts that of music and even of creative writing, but artistic rendering through brush and pen are sometimes neglected. I’ve been a fan of Karla Dornacher for a while and was super excited to check out this collaboration she is a part of! 

Studying how Christ has been a part of history from the beginning fascinates me. This wonderful way of looking at Scripture brings new life and insight into the Old Testament as well as helps us to understand the redemptive nature of our Lord and Savior. I have heard sermons which traced Christ through the Old Testament, but have never completed a Bible study which solely focused on this. I really liked the simple format as well as the artistic application as well. 

Each of the 12 chapters is divided into 5 daily readings. There are also artistic activities to go along with each chapter. These would be so very fun to do as a group! The projects should not be overwhelming to beginners (just like me!) and will open up lots of opportunity for discussion during creating. I love the coloring pages at the end which are great no matter your age. There are also beautiful bookmarks to correspond with the chapters as well. 

The reader is encouraged to find their own creative outlet as well. There is a spring-board list of fantastic ideas in the appendix to get you started. I found this to be helpful to think outside of my personal creative box. 

I plan to have my daughters work through this study this year. It is deep enough to challenge them, but not so academic that it will become drudgery. This would make for an interesting group study as well. I’ve been excited to read this title and look forward to working through some of the art activities as well. I think it would be fun for a high school girls study or young women too. I really see many applications for use! 

Disclaimer: I was given this title through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Healing Every Day: A Review of Mary DeMuth’s New Book

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It was April. I was  24-year-old newlywed (married just under 2 years) when we joyfully celebrated expecting our first little baby. Just two short months later we mourned the loss of this little one. Not only that, it was determined I had carried this baby for over a month after the miscarriage occurred without realizing it because my body did not react as expected. This was the first really devastating blow in my life. Other pain had happened, but nothing as deep as this. Since then I’ve experienced other pain and heartache and I’ve grown closer to the Lord in the process. I’ve read some books on pain and seeking the Lord, but many were difficult to digest and hard to get through for me. If you are looking for a bite-sized guide to healing through emotional pain, Mary DeMuth’s new title, Healing Every Day, is worth a read. I highly recommend everything about it.

It is worth noting that Mary speaks from experience. While many may have wise words on healing, she speak as one who has walked a broken path and yearns to share what the Lord has and still is teaching her through the process. You can read more about her story here. The pain I walked with was from a very different source, but the Source of my healing is the same as hers, Jesus Christ. Every page of this 90-day-devotional points the reader back to Jesus and reminds us of His healing and redemptive power. That is the first thing I look for when I read a book by a Christian author and Mary does not disappoint.

I appreciate her expository teaching from both the Old and New Testaments. Not once have I read verses taken out of context or meaning changed to fit the narrative. Rather, Mary seeks Scripture and teaches her readers truth directly from its pages. The devotionals are sequenced in order through the Scripture so you see the Lord as Healer throughout.

Fear is an unavoidable side effect of the painful experiences of our lives. Sometimes fear overwhelmed me, especially the next 3 times I was expecting. Each of those pregnancies went to full term, and I have 3 beautiful daughters ages 13, 11, and 9. I falsely assumed that with each pregnancy the fear of miscarriage would lessen. Instead it became worse. I think is because while I accepted God’s sovereignty, I didn’t realize I still had deep emotional wounds I had not worked through yet. A daily journey with the Lord such as this one would have been an incredible help for me and even now as I read through it I am experiencing emotional healing from more recent difficulties.

Whether you have experienced loss, abuse, a chronic diagnosis, abandonment, or so much more the words in these pages will help you find healing. You will not learn how to push through the pain. You will not learn to be strong. You will not find a to-do checklist that promises a magical way forward. No, you will rather find something so much better: Healing through intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of Healing Every Day as a part of the launch team for this title. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Love Letters from God – Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart: A BookLook Blogger Review

Our family tries to have family devotions as many nights as possible during the week. Usually we skip Sunday and Wednesday nights because we are already at church, but we do our best to include this as a family tradition the rest of the time. Since Rose (who is almost 12) was just an infant we started doing this by reading children’s devotional books. We have read many, many books and were excited to have the chance to go through Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. 
All of the girls have really enjoyed it, but Beth (10) and Grace (7) have enjoyed it the most. It is written to elementary aged girls and gives them the perspective of what God would want them to know from many of the wonderful historical accounts of women presented in the Scriptures. The retelling of the stories is accurate. Although some details may be skipped over, it is not inaccurate. I appreciate that the reference to the original account in Scripture is given. 
After each story there is a sweet letter as if written by God to the little girl reading. Grace in particular likes this part. She always wants to be the one to read it aloud. It is sweet and reflects exactly the promises we hold dear in God’s Word. 
The only small issue I had with this was the extra verse given. I love it when more Scripture is included, but sometimes the verses were reworded so much from the original verse the meaning felt different from what was intended originally. I do understand younger children may have a hard time understanding everything in the Bible, but I think we ought to give children the opportunity to grow and learn. They often surprise us in what they can comprehend and eve if they do not, there is nothing wrong with still taking the time to teach and explain. Eventually they will! 
Overall I thought this was a very sweet book. I would recommend it to families with elementary aged daughters. We have been reading the extra verse straight from the Bible instead of reading the abridged version from the book. This has worked nicely and takes care of the only issue I have. I hope you will take some time to check it out for a little girl you know! 
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book as a part of BookLook bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

The Beautiful Word Devotional: A BookLook Blogger Review

Because of the grace and creativity of our Creator we can express our faith in a variety of ways. Not everyone enjoys writing. While it is encouraged to take notes during sermons, Bible studies, and personal quiet times, not everyone retains information that way the best. I encourage my daughters to use their church journals to write or draw pictures based on the sermon their daddy is preaching. They love this and I love seeing what they draw! There are times when their illustrations bear great insights for ones their age. The Beautiful Word Devotional is one way to help you creatively express while studying God’s Word. 
I’m not personally into the drawing-inside-of-your-Bible craze. I’m somewhat artistic, but this has never appealed to me. Drawing what I’m learning in my faith, however, is appealing in many regards. It is a different way to engage with the Holy Spirit and if we believe all creativity comes from God, then this is a lovely way to express oneself. 
This particular devotional correlates with a Bible by the same title. Just as with the Bible there is room for journaling or drawing on the sides of each page. I really like this option. The devotions are short and simple, focusing on one or two verses at a time. This is not what I would use for my only source for time with God, but on the days when I’m rushed or unable to spend my normal time this is an excellent option.
While I don’t draw in my Bible, the idea of artistically showing what God is teaching me is a fresh thought. So often we read through Scripture hurriedly. Using a devotion like this can be beneficial to force us to slow down and really ponder what we are reading. 
As with many devotions, I would like there to be options for further reading. While I definitely see value in focusing on a short passage for the devotion, I like when I have handy references to see what else the Word has to say on the same topic. 
Disclaimer: I received this title through BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

Be Bold: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

 Coloring for adults is all the rage! While it is a fun pastime in and of itself, I am always intrigued and excited when a coloring book is paired with devotions as well. Be Bold, by Ellen Elliott, is a great example of a good devotional combined with coloring. 
Each devotion is begins with a verse from Scripture and accompanied by a themed coloring page which correlates with the Bible verse chosen. The back of the book contains several pages for journaling notes or prayers as you work through the book. The devotions can be completed in order or not, which is nice. I like the freedom to move through the book as it works best for me. 
 The first devotion I was drawn to was in the middle of the book and it was about prayer. God has been teaching me a lot about prayer over the last year and I loved the look of the coloring page. I enjoyed the lighter, but solid, devotional and the particular page drew me to it. 
The devotions will only take a minimal amount of time to complete. While you color you have an opportunity to reflect on the Scripture. This devotional would be ideal for  anyone pre-teen and up who enjoys coloring, especially if they are new to the idea of daily time with the Lord. It is not a deep Bible study, but all of our time with the Lord does not necessarily have to be excessively deep. This particular style of devotionals are enjoyable for me in the evening after I’m done with my day.
If you enjoy coloring and enjoy learning from the Word of God, this would be a good book to check out! 
Disclaimer: I received this title in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.

Advent in Narnia: A Net Galley Review

One of our Christmas traditions is to celebrate Advent. We do different things for this including reading books, listening to radio dramas, using a Jesse Tree, and more. Every year we try to choose something a little different. This year I was excited to have my own personal celebration of Advent using this book, Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season by Heidi Haverkamp.We are huge fans of The Chronicles of Narnia. My girls even have a Narnia themed bedroom! C.S. Lewis has so beautifully captured the essence of childhood imagination in his series. I was very excited to relive this novel as I also focused my heart for Advent.

28 devotions carry you through the novel alternating between excerpts from the novel and Scripture for the entire Advent season. They are thought provoking and intentional, yet easy to read. I originally thought I would use this with my girls as it is advertised as a family devotion, but as I began reading myself I felt it was better suited for middle school or older. My oldest would have gotten something out of it as she is in 6th grade, but I think most of this would have gone over my youngest two daughters’ heads. They are avid readers and comprehending literature far above their grade levels, but I still felt they would have found much of this devotional a bit boring.

I am a bit cautious with this author because her denomination’s view of Scripture differs greatly from mine. I think it is important to recognize authorship and how that impacts the view of the devotions written. I did not come across anything which was concerning to me specifically in this title, but when it comes to devotions I prefer to read authors who I know hold the same view of the Word of God as I do.

I do think some interesting aspects of the book was the inclusion of information for having a Narnia night at church and working through the study as a church family. Most  devotions do not structured to include your entire church family and I found this rather intriguing.I also do not think this need be a devotion strictly for Advent. It could be read anytime of the year in an effort to draw closer to God.

After reading through it, I do not think I will use this with our family in the future. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Girl Talk: A BookLook Blogger Review

Faith Girlz new devotional, Girl Talk: 52 Weekly Devotions by Lois Walfrid Johnson, is written for preteens and young teens. As the introduction explains, this devotional is intended to help girls who are growing up think through everyday and important decisions in their life. Each week has an introductory story which develops the main idea of a central chosen verse. There are daily journal prompts to engage young ladies in thoughtful responses to how they can apply the story and Scripture to their own lives. The last day brings the story around full circle to the Scripture. 
The layout of this devotional and style of writing is excellent. I think the stories are engaging and thought provoking. The third person limited perspective will enable girls to see themselves in the stories while giving enough distance from the story to hear the message. There are a variety of personalities presented and many real-life situations for girls to think about. The stories will often also help girls have empathy towards others facing difficulties they aren’t experiencing themselves.
While I think this is a well-written, thought provoking devotional, be aware that not all pre-teens and even young teens will be ready to discuss some of the topics. It would be a good idea to read through the index and peruse the topics and decide if this is a good fit. Some of the topics are a little heavy and while important to address, you will want to make sure they are reflecting your own family’s values with regards to thing like boy/girl relationships, alcohol, etc.
I personally am also cautious about how much I push the idea of dating and boyfriend/girlfriend on my daughters. While we do talk about their future and dating to a degree, we approach the idea of relationship without a heavy emphasis on dating, more on building friendships. Because of this I am going to wait to have my own pre-teen read this. I still highly recommend this devotion, but do use discernment before giving this to a pre-teen/young teen in your life.

Disclaimer: I received this title as a part of BookLook bloggers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are my own.

All is Bright: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

 As the Advent season begins our family looks for ways to focus on the Savior. We have a variety of family things which we do, but for the past couple of years I have tried to make sure I have my own alone time to focus on the reason for celebrating the season. 
This unique Advent devotional is providing a very unique way to focus my heart on Christ. Through daily reading and devotional the reader is drawn to focus on Emmanuel, God with us. Our world is so very busy and caught up in activity it is becoming a necessity to Be Still. Our household is quite busy with three little girls homeschooling and my in-home business, not to mention our church activities and other extra curriculars. Be Still time is at a premium, it is something I must plan to have or it is neglected. 
Adult coloring books are all the rage now and my daughters absolutely love them. I had been given a few, but did not find them to be all that relaxing. When I began using this as a devotional I found it to be very relaxing as I meditated on God the Father and His Son, the Savior of our world. There was more purpose in the coloring I suppose.Each coloring page is accompanied by Scripture and a short devotional. I like to play instrumental Christmas music while I am coloring. 
Christmas is a wonderful time for family and togetherness. The temptation to fill every moment with experiences and lively fun is quite tempting, but do not forget have time for stillness and reflection or you will possibly miss out on all God has for you this season.

Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of All is Bright from Tyndale Publishers as part of  the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and did not receive any other compensation.

The One Year Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

I review a lot of devotionals and Bible studies through the various review networks I partner with. I usually find myself writing that there is not enough Scripture used or that the devotionals are too light and fluffy. I am pleased to say this is not one of those devotionals! 
I have been using this book for my own personal time with God. It is dated, but

it can easily be picked up mid-year. Each day lists several portions of Scripture to read out of your own Bible each day. Passages from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs are included for every day. I absolutely love this because you get a little bit from each area of Scripture and when you are reading through the entire Bible some of the chapters and books, although absolutely inspired by God and therefore needed, are more difficult to read. This balance of New and Old Testament with the Psalms and Proverbs provides a nice mix, especially if you have not read extensive amounts of Scripture previously.

Every day a few verses from one of the listed passages is expounded upon through a devotional by Nancy Guthrie. A suggested prayer starter is given at the bottom of each devotion, often with places to insert your own child’s name. There is a wide breadth of topics covered within these pages which teach us how to better pray for our children according to God’s Word. I found it to be both encouraging and at times convicting, which is another sign of a good devotional. The author does not shy away from confronting issues within the readers heart about their own parenting. In fact, some of the prayers are even directed towards us, the parents! 
This would be a great gift or any Christian parent, especially as we all have goals to do better in the coming year in various areas. This is a wonderful guide to learn how to pray through the Bible for our most precious gifts from God no matter what their ages!
Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of The One Year Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids from Tyndale Publishers as part of  the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and did not receive any other compensation.

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal – a Tyndale Blog Network Review

Beth, my middle daughter, has always loved to color. When we go visit new places she will often choose a coloring book as a souvenir. She is 9 now and has begun to really enjoy the new, more complex adult coloring pages. When I received Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal, by Tyndale House Publishers, in the mail I knew this would be a great fit for a devotional book for her. Her eyes lit up when I told her what I had for her to try out and she immediately jumped on board. 

I explained the layout of the journal and how I thought best to use it. I asked her to read the verses listed, write a little bit down, and as she prayed or thought about what she had read she could color the sides. She really enjoyed this style. It’s simple layout provides opportunity for creativity along with a focus on Scripture.
I also would enjoy using a devotional such as this. The reason I wanted my daughter to try it out is because she had been asking me for a devotional to use on her own. Her older sister has a few that she enjoys and would have been happy to share with her, but there is something about having it all to herself that was really special. 
We used colored pencils for this book and they worked beautifully. The pages are very thick and sturdy which would also allow fine-tipped markers to be used without any problem. The sturdiness is another reason this seems to be a great devotional for a pre-teen girl. Beth is not worried at all about tearing the pages as she works.
The only comment she had was that she did not like that some of the pages already had items colored. Not everything, but a few. She would have preferred it was all for her to color. 
I have been pleased that after the time I had her use this for review she still keeps taking it out to use all on her own. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to try out this devotional with her and see just how excited it made her to spend time with the Lord. 
I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.