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.

No Easy Jesus: A Tyndlae Blog Network Review

 I have a guest post review today! My husband was very excited to read and review No Easy Jesus by Jason Mitchell for Tyndale Blog Network. Here are his thoughts about this book.

As a pastor I am always looking for ways to help people in their walk with the Lord. I love to read books that will teach me something and encourage me in my pursuit of godliness. That is why I was excited about No Easy Jesus: How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life.
Too often we are taught that when we begin a relationship with Jesus that our life will be better and that is true to some degree. But if by better we mean easy, then we are greatly mistaken. Life is full of tough choices and being a Christian can sometimes make those choices even harder.
Have you ever watched other Christians living fulfilled lives and think to yourself, “Why can’t I have what they have?” Sometimes we think that being fulfilled in the Christian life is only for a few elite Christians. The truth is Jesus wants you to live the greatest life possible.
One of the things I love about this book is the author’s openness and transparency. I felt I could relate to him. He talks about his struggles in life and how he has found that the secret to living the greatest life possible is a willingness to make the tough choices to follow Jesus each day. In the book, Jason Mitchell says, “It’s a clarion challenge to wake up each day and choose Jesus all over again; to make the tough, gritty choices that align your way with His and lead to true fullness of life. Because when you decided to follow Jesus, you didn’t sign up for what was easiest―you signed up for what was best.”
No Easy Jesus will challenge you to make the tough choices so that you can experience the best life possible. If you desire a deeper walk with Jesus than this book is a must read for you.
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. 

The Returning: A Tyndale Blog Network Review
 Every once in a while I break away from my typical novel choices (Christian historical fiction) and try something new. I was intrigued by this title and Rachelle Dekker is a new author for me, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to review The Returning from Tyndale House Publishers
Set in a futuristic world far removed from our current reality, The Returning explores what the world may look like in our society. Dekker has an easy style which makes her writing flow naturally and reminds me of Madeleine L’Engle. Her characters are engaging and believable in their roles and the story makes you really consider faith and its role in society as a whole. 

There is an element of science-fiction and fantasy because of the futuristic setting and miraculous occurrences surrounding the characters although it is not intended to feel magical in anyway. As I read I could genuinely picture this as a potential future for our world, no matter how removed from current reality it actually is.
After receiving the title I realized this is the third and final book in The Seer Collection. I would highly recommend reading the first two novels in this series before getting to this one so you have more understanding about what is going on. I did enjoy this book, but because I have not yet read the first two it took some time to really understand what was going on.
 Here are some thoughts from the author about the novel…

You talk about the power of belief in the book. What is the purpose of faith,

and what makes faith so powerful in people’s lives?
Belief and faith are everything. We form our own realities. We make judgments

based on the past and what we think the future will bring;then we shape our idea of what we are capable of around those beliefs. Imagine if we truly believed we were infinite sons and daughters of the creator. How different would the world look then? When we believe and have faith in who the Father calls us, then the world looks pretty different.

How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers?
I hope, as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the story causes them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that’s how these stories have impacted me, and we are all really just the same

If you are a fan of science fiction, this is an excellent title. This is also a great book to pick up if you are looking for something a little different in style. You will be entertained as well as challenged in your faith, which is a uniquely wonderful aspect of this novel. I am personally looking forward to going back and reading the first two in this series. 
Disclaimer: I received this title as a part of the Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review. All 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.

365 Pocket Morning prayers: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

Sometimes it is hard to know how to pray. Even those who have a long-standing faith with many years of growing can go through seasons of not knowing what to pray. For those who are young in their faith it can be overwhelming to even know where to begin. We want to pray and desire intimate time with our heavenly Father, but it can be difficult to focus at times.
365 Pocket Morning Prayers by David R. Veerman, published by Tyndale House Publishers, is a sweet and gentle way to begin your time with God in the mornings. Each day has a short verse or two and a sample prayer written to coincide with it. The thoughts in the prayer are often devotional in nature and can spur on a longer time with God. 
I like the small, compact size as it is easy to pack for a vacation. Often when I’m on vacation I have a harder time staying on track with my  alone time with God. Having a small book like this can be helpful to me to stay consistent when away from my daily routines. The soft, leather-like cover was inviting to my girls. They thought it was so pretty and liked how it felt in their hands.
I personally would not pick this up as my only time with God during the day as the Scripture is minimal on each page, but I do think this is a great jump-start and a refreshing way to start morning devotions with God. I also think this is a great devotional for those first starting a daily time with God because of its simplicity. This could make a great gift for a college student as well. 
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Girls Slimline Bible – NLT: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

My girls have a fairly extensive knowledge of the Bible between homeschooling, family devotions, and church which includes Sunday morning services, Sunday School, Wednesday night studies, and Awana. For us the Bible is the most important thing in our lives which helps us know how God wants us to live for Him. All three of my children have accepted the Lord as their Savior and we take every opportunity to train them in the knowledge of Him.
We have enjoyed reviewing this sweet Bible directed towards pre-teen girls. It’s hard to believe I have another pre-teen in the house, but according to the definition, we do!  I think this would also be a lovely Bible for young teens as well. 
My 9-year-old Beth has been using this Bible recently for Sunday School and church. She says that one of the things she likes is that there is a Bible reading plan. She likes that it is easy to follow and suited just for young kids. I like that it covers both the Old and New Testaments and is not just a topical study. It does not cover the entire Bible, but that would be difficult for a young person to handle in a year. She also loves the look and feel of this Bible. While that isn’t the most important thing when choosing a Bible for your child, it is a nice benefit that she loves showing it to people at Church. You can see how it looks, but what you can’t see is how it feels. The cover is soft and a little bit fuzzy. My daughter is a very tactile person, so for her this is a huge benefit! 
There is a nice concordance ad a handful of biblical maps at the end. It is a good resource for her in that it is extensive enough to give her several Scriptures for every topic, but not overwhelming for one her age. The print is also a good size. It isn’t large, but neither is it so small it is difficult to read. 
The NLT (New Living Translation) is not my preferred version, nor is it the version my husband preaches from, but for young kids still trying to understand what difficult passages in the Bible are talking about I think it is an acceptable choice alongside another version. My only comment about this beautiful looking Bible is that it become available in alternative versions. While I do encourage looking at various translations of Scripture, it can be confusing for kids when they are reading from one version that another person is not. Also because of programs like AWANA which heavily reinforces Scripture memory we like to have the main Bible our kids use be the same version so they have consistency. I would be much happier if there had been more than one version available. 
Disclaimer: I received this product for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Faith: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

The Quaker Brides series is new to me as is the author, Lyn Cote. I’m now a devoted fan!
I was already somewhat familiar with some of the history surrounding the Quakers and the Civil War, but after reading Faith, the third book in the Quaker Brides series,  I better understand it all a little more. Not only did I enjoy the historical aspects, I was thoroughly enthralled with each page!
I love historical Christian fiction and have pretty high standards for what I read. As with all my favorite stories Faith has thoughtful characters who grow deeply throughout the novel. I love how seamlessly the historical references to places and people were woven. I have studied the Civil War a great deal and Lyn Cote did an incredible amount of research for this novel. Most of all, the best stories leave me wanting more. Now that I have read the third book I’m anxious to go back and read the first two in the series which tell us more about Faith’s heritage.
The characters were very believable. I could envision both Faith, the heroine, and her hero, Devlin, experience realistic trials and internal strife. Their engaging conversations and struggles to reconcile their deep beliefs alongside their unlikely friendship create tension and conflict that kept me reading. I very much appreciated the portrayed struggle Devlin faced concerning slavery, even though he fought for the Union. The issues which brought about the Civil War were much more complicated than merely the Slavery vs. Anti-Slavery platforms we attribute to it today. This story showed a compelling side which many in the Union felt. They weren’t against slavery completely, but they would fight to preserve the United States. 
If you enjoy the historical fiction genre you will absolutely not be able to put this book down!
Disclaimer: I received this title from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Lifegiving Home: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

What does it mean to create a welcoming home? I asked myself that question as I was first starting out as a wife and then again a few years later as a mother. I wish I’d had this book when I was just beginning this journey 14 years ago! 
Sally Clarkson is one of my go-to author’s for encouragement in my walk as a Christian wife and mommy. I was already excited to review her newest book, co-written with her daughter, but when I saw the cover I sighed a little with joy. Just seeing the cover of The Lifegiving Home from Tyndale House Publishers brought me a sense of welcoming. Just like the cover, each page brought refreshment and joy. Much of what I have tried to put into practice in our home over the years was included which was very affirming. 
I enjoyed reading from the perspective of both mother and daughter throughout the book. While there are many practical ideas and takeaways in each chapter there is always the sense of pointing the reader back to Scripture, back to the Savior. I love this! It is such a good reminder that the one way to have a life-giving home is to be centered on Christ in all that is done and said. 
The first few chapters consist of helping the reader focus in on thinking about their home, the rhythms and functions of every day life and how to make them more than mundane. I really enjoyed the second part which focuses on each month and ways to breathe new life into the walls of your house throughout the year. Answering the question What makes a home? is central in this book. I found the Clarksons ideas unique and fun, and also inspiring. They didn’t inspire me to copy them as much as create my own ways of bringing life into our home. 
This is a book which I will recommend to anyone looking for ways to create a welcoming home that exudes the love of Christ. I also plan to have my own girls read this when they are older and beginning to think about their own ways of creating a home for their futures. 
Disclaimer: I received this title from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.