Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Woman's Study Bible (NKJV) Review



About the Bible:

The NKJV Woman’s Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, March 2017)

The Woman’s Study Bible poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation.

Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.

Now with a beautiful full-color redesign, The Woman’s Study Bible reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Since the publication of the first edition of The Woman’s Study Bible under the editorial guidance of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, this landmark study Bible has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Features Include:
—Beautiful full-color design throughout
—Detailed biographical portraits of over 100 biblical women
—Thousands of extensive verse-by-verse study notes
—Over 300 in-text topical articles on relevant issues
—Insightful essays by women who are recognized experts in the fields of theology, biblical studies, archaeology, and philosophy
—Book introductions and outlines
—Hundreds of full-color in-text maps, charts, timelines, and family trees
—Quotes from godly women throughout history
—Set of full-page maps of the biblical world
—Topical index
—Concordance


 

 
About the Publisher:

In business since 1798, Thomas Nelson is one of the oldest Bible publishers in the world and the largest publisher of the King James Version. Their mission is to inspire the world by using our talents, assets, opportunities, and influence to engage and equip people with Scripture and draw people to a deeper study and understanding of God’s Word.

Find out more about Thomas Nelson at https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com.




Margie’s Comments:
While getting ready to review the updated NKJV Woman’s Study Bible, I decided to look at the two books of the New Testament that I’m studying in my personal study right now: Ephesians and 1 Peter. And I have enjoyed the pertinent, short articles that accompany the text and help to bring more light on the subject of women in the Bible.
In Ephesians the article that “hit home” with me was on Women’s Ministries and how women serve the local church body. “Jesus’ desire is that each woman yield herself to him in utter dependence, recognizing that “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and relying on His Spirit to fulfill the special ministry He selects for her—a ministry appropriate to her talents and effective in her generation. . . . Each woman is hand-picked by God, situated in Christ’s body just as He desires, and is indispensible in reaching her particular sphere of influence for Christ.”
Submission, especially to husbands, is a topic that can spark controversy in the church. Yet it is a topic that both Paul and Peter address in their letters to believers. In 1 Peter the compilers of The Woman’s Study Bible put together an article and a chart that thoroughly explains biblical submission. I especially love the chart and will use it often as I teach/lead women’s Bible studies. The definition of submission is one of the clearest I’ve come across: “to put all of yourself—understandings, knowledge, opinions, feelings, energies—at the disposal of a person in authority over you. This never means subjecting yourself to abusive tyranny, nor does it suggest mindless acquiescence to the whims of another. It is the yielding of humble and intelligent obedience—without suggestion of inferiority or worthlessness.”
I chose the leather cover on the Bible Thomas Nelson sent me in return for an honest review. The full-color interior as headers for the articles and other information used for study really set this particular Bible for women. I will continue to use it in my Bible study for a long time to come.

The NKJV Woman’s Study Bible Grow in the Word Giveaway

You’re invited to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation in the fully revised and redesigned The NKJV Woman's Study Bible. The new edition features a beautiful, full-color redesign and poignantly reveals the Word of God with Scripture insights and the contributions of more than eighty women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.




This spring, cultivate your heart's spiritual roots and enter to win the Grow in the Word Giveaway!






 



One grand prize winner will receive:



Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on April 27. The winner will be announced April 28 on the Litfuse blog.





Thursday, April 13, 2017

Getting Jesus Wrong by Matt Johnson


About the Book:
We all want something from Jesus, whether that’s help to get through life, a new job, a new direction, a new exercise plan. Learn why that approach doesn’t result in real faith or love in Matt Johnson’s new book, Getting Jesus Wrong. Whether we’ve followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.
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Getting Jesus Wrong (New Growth Press, February 2017)

Jesus is not a life coach, a movement leader, a cultural visionary, or a blessing dispenser—but you might not know that by listening to many Christians talk about their faith.

Feel-good slogans promote a caricatured Jesus made in our own image who cannot save us and leave us feeling guilty for not saving ourselves. Following the wrong Jesus disappoints us and produces anxiety, pride, and despair.
The first half of Getting Jesus Wrong recounts pastor and author Matt Johnson’s personal encounters with a string of false saviors—false saviors that many, especially young adults, will recognize. Johnson’s humor and transparency in recounting his own painful experiences will appeal to those who have tried a “brand” of Christianity and found it lacking.

The truth is, we all want something from Jesus. Some are just hoping for a little help to get through life—a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn’t result in real faith or love.

Whether we’ve followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus Wrong shows that the message of the Bible is about Jesus coming to us as we are—which is good news for exhausted and disillusioned disciples. It shows us that getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.




About the Author:
 



Matt Johnson is a husband, father to two little girls, and is an armchair student of theology living in Seattle. He is also a freelance writer and editor. Until recently, Matt spent 7 years as an associate volunteer pastor in counseling and recovery ministry.

Find out more about Matt at https://www.therealmattjohnson.com.






Margie’s Comments: Getting Jesus Wrong by Matt Johnson is an interesting read—one that I needed right now. We all want Jesus to be the person we need Him to be, but as humans we tend to focus on the aspect of Christ that we see ourselves needing most. And because of that we tend to limit Him by putting Him into a “box” of our own making. After a time we wonder what went wrong, why Jesus isn’t doing what we want Him to do. While I identified with many of the false Jesus persona the author presents, I think checklist Jesus was the one that convicted me the most.

Not only does the author talk about the “false Jesus” but he also includes a section of who the true Jesus is and how we can learn to depend on Him alone daily and in every situation. While reading Getting Jesus Wrong, I kept thinking of the discussion Jesus has with His disciples in John 15 about abiding in Him, especially verse 5: “In am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (emphasis added, NASB). God is using this book and circumstances in my life right now to teach me this lesson: without Him I can do absolutely nothing!!!

If you are frustrated with your limited faith in Jesus, I highly recommend this book. Even if you aren’t, but wonder if you’re “getting it all,” read this book. Don’t just read it. Study it. Check out the verses the author quotes, and pray for God’s direction and understanding.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller with Kindle and Cuppa Giveaway

About the Book

 The Elusive Miss Ellison (Kregel, February 2017)

Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.

That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother–who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world.

Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he’s just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there’s already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.

That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn’t the only heart that needs to change.

These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the Author
 
Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.








Margie’s Comments
What a wonderful read! I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written book. The characters and setting are true to their time period (Regency England). This debut author has done an excellent job of writing a Regency romance that will take her readers away from contemporary times and troubles to another historical time full of secrets and troubles. Lavinia Ellison and the new Earl of Hawkesbury are truly iron sharpening iron as they challenge each other to change and eventually to love. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Make sure you sign up for the author’s giveaway of a Kindle and a cuppa. (See below)
 


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Regency romance fans have another must-read novel to add to their lists: Carolyn Miller’s The Elusive Miss Ellison. Enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love. These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Settle in for a cozy night of reading with a cuppa and a Kindle from Carolyn!



One grand prize winner will receive:


Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on March 22. The winner will be announced March 23 on the Litfuse blog.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Getaway with God: The Everywonan's Guide to Personal Retreat by Leticia Suk

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 About the Book:
 
Getaway with God (Kregel, November 2016)

What if a simple day away could transform your life?

Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there’s simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.

Getaway with God does more than invite you to step away from life’s pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must–for your sake and for your family’s.

With grace and warmth, Letitia Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it’s a quick, half-day break or a weeklong time of restoration. You’ll find detailed steps for preparation, including descriptions of different kinds of retreats and how to choose the best one for you, and you’ll learn ways to bring the renewal you experience home with you. Practical appendixes identify retreat centers nationwide and provide exercises and prayers to kick-start your getaway with God.

No matter what your season in life, the time for retreat is now!

Learn more and purchase a copy.


 
 About the Author:
Letitia invites women to chase the Intentional life. She writes and speaks of God's renewal and restoration and offers platters of hope to women in each season of life. Tish is also a personal retreat guide and life coach in the Chicago area and moonlights as a hospital chaplain. You might run into her walking by Lake Michigan, browsing resale shops, or making up a new tradition. She blogs at hopeforthebest.org and is also the author of "Rhythms of Renewal."






Margie’s Comments:
Ever since we first moved to Colorado a little over 20 years ago, I’ve had the perfect place to go for my personal retreats—our family cabin, a place I’ve been going to since I was a very little girl. But even though I could have benefitted from them, I didn’t actually start purposely taking them until about 15 years ago. By then my daughter was in college and my son in high school. Both had summer jobs, and while I was teaching school, summer was the perfect time to getaway. (Plus the cabin is a little difficult to get to once the snow starts flying!) Then we moved away, and my getaways didn’t happen, except on vacation, but then I was always with my hubby. Not a bad thing, but he was always in the background. 

Then in February this year we moved back to Colorado, and one of my first thoughts was that I would be able to get in a personal retreat at the cabin once again. However, with limited access to a vehicle (we have one between us, and mostly hubby needs it for work), I haven’t had as many as I would like. Still, when I saw Letitia Suk’s book Getaway with God: Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat, I knew I wanted to see what she included in her personal retreats with God. 

This book is exactly what it says it will be: a guide to personal retreats, getaways with God. She has great ideas of where to go on personal retreats from bed-and-breakfasts to hotels to retreat centers. (One reason I like the cabin so well—my phone gets little to no cell service at 9,000 ft. in the Rocky Mountains! And while the cabin is near a very popular trailhead, it sits up the mountain away from the road, and during the week very few people go by the entrance to the cabins.) Also, she includes several ideas of what to include in your retreat—journaling, reading, praying, taking walks/hikes, enjoying nature, etc. Many of these things I’ve done. (Sometimes I’ve been so drained, all I do is sit on the porch just soaking in the peace and quiet. Or I go down to the stream and sit on a rock near the water and let the sounds rush over me. The water is usually too cold for me to stick my feet in, except on the very warmest of days and sitting in the sun!) Every time God meets me and I come home with a renewed sense of purpose and a little better understanding of His character. 
If you are feeling drained, overwhelmed, or ready to give up, I highly recommend a getaway with God. Even if you’ve done personal retreats before, I still recommend you get Leticia’s book for some great suggestions of how to conduct and personalize your own retreat.

NOTE: Make sure you sign up for the author giveaway. See the previous post for links.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Letitia Suk’s ‘Getaway with God’ Travel Bag Giveaway

NOTE: I will being a review on this book tomorrow or Friday.

Do you need a day away from busyness and stress to transform your life? Schedule a day and learn how to make the most of your time of refreshment with Letitia Suk's new book, Getaway with God. You’ll find detailed steps for preparation, including descriptions of different kinds of retreats and how to choose the best one for you, and you’ll learn ways to bring the renewal you experience home with you. Practical appendixes identify retreat centers nationwide and provide exercises and prayers to kick-start your getaway with God.




Get ready for your own getaway with God by entering to win a travel bag set from Letitia.






getaway-with-god-400 



One grand prize winner will receive:



  • A copy of Getaway with God

  • A Vera Bradley XL Duffel Travel Bag

  • A Vera Bradley Cosmetic Trio



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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 16. The winner will be announced December 19 on the Litfuse blog.





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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Remnant by Monte Wolverton




About the Book:

The Remnant (Plain Truth Ministries, August 2016)

In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn’t show up, as some expected.

Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia. Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps.

Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community. Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant’s grandparents.

What if there were an Apocalypse and Jesus didn’t return? What if the survivors found themselves living in a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where religion is forbidden and all religious texts have been destroyed?

In The Remnant, award-winning author Monte Wolverton tells the tale of a band of concentration camp escapees who trek through the lawless American wilderness on a quest for authentic Christianity, only to come face to face with an unthinkable dilemma. The Remnant is a fast-paced story punctuated with dry satire, memorable characters and hard questions about religious institutions.

Learn more and purchase a copy.



 

About the Author:
Monte Wolverton is an award-winning author and syndicated editorial cartoonist. He is associate editor of CWR magazine. He is an ordained minister and holds a MA from Goddard College in Vermont. Along with his wife Kaye, he makes his home in southwest Washington State.






Margie’s Comments:
The Remnant is a true dystopian novel, a future world that is generally worse than the one we currently live in. Yet we can learn much of how to live in our world now by reading dystopian novels. And I found that to be true in reading The Remnant. If this type of fiction appeals to you, you’ll enjoy The Remnant. Journey with Grant and his group of escapees from a detention camp in Minot, South Dakota, as they search of a community of Christians they can identify with. The only thing I didn’t like about the book is the cliffhanger with which the author ends the book. We have to wait until 2018 to read the sequel in order to find out what happens.  (Or you can join the Facebook group page at The RemnantCWRpress.)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids by J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace



About the Book:

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids (David C. Cook, October 2016)

Between the ages of 8 and 12, kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true.

In Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, detective J. Warner Wallace draws readers into the thrill of high-stakes investigation by showing them how to think rather than telling them what to think. In this children’s companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. Includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.

Learn more and purchase a copy.



 

 About the Authors:


J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity: God’s Crime Scene and Forensic Faith. He has a master’s degree in theology and is the founder of ColdCaseChristianity.com. Susie has a master’s degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.





Margie’s Comments:  

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids is an interesting approach by the authors to teach older school-age children how to investigate and think through difficult questions about Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, and God. Each chapter takes the reader into more investigation techniques and to the interactive website, ColdCaseChristianityforKids.com, for more activities and a certificate of merit when they complete the “training.” The book is full of illustrations and graphics and includes extra investigations in sidebars to encourage the readers to search out answers to their questions for themselves.

My children are grown, and my grandchildren are still very young, but I will share this copy of Cold-Case Christianity for Kids with my son, a church camp director, and others on our church staff who work with children. If you have children or grandchildren who would benefit from this book, I highly recommend it. We need young people to learn to think through these questions of faith so that when they are faced with opposition (and they will be!) they are equipped to “give an answer of the hope” that lies within them.

I was given a copy of the book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace’s ‘Cold-Case Christianity for Kids’ Blog Tour and Giveaway

At the crucial age between 8 and 12, many kids begin to wonder if Christianity and the Bible are true. Help your kids become truth-seeking detectives with the help of J. Warner and Susie Wallace's Cold-Case Christianity for Kids. Detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. The book includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.




Encourage your kids to investigate the case for Christianity by entering to win a faith examination kit and a copy of J. Warner and Susie's new book.






cold-case-christianity-400 



One grand prize winner will receive:



Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 4. The winner will be announced November 7 on the Litfuse blog.





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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne



About the Book:

Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God (David C. Cook, July 2016)

Nothing is more basic or central to knowing and enjoying God than Union with Christ.

Have you ever had difficulty connecting what you know to be true about God with how you feel or how you live each day? Have you ever longed to change but just felt stuck?

The Bible makes a stunning claim: God has provided a way for your life to be united to Christ’s. What does that mean? Is it really possible for me, now? What would it look like?

In Union with Christ, Rankin Wilbourne makes union with Christ accessible and beautiful, for you. Union with Christ is not an abstract idea. It is a powerful reality. And recovering a sense of your union with Christ can change everything for you, like finally putting on a pair of desperately needed glasses.
Discover how coming to see your life through the lens of union with Christ can help bridge that gap between your head and your heart, between your belief and your experience. Union with Christ is what we most need in order to know and enjoy God.




About the Author:

 
 Rankin Wilbourne grew up in Louisiana and was educated at the University of Mississippi and Princeton Theological Seminary. He is now the senior pastor of Pacific Crossroads Church in Los Angeles. As a former commercial banker, Rankin understands the "gap" between the gospel preached on Sunday and the world people face on Monday. Leading a thriving church in a city driven by stories, he's concerned with drawing connections between what we believe and how we live. Rankin and his wife, Morgen, reside in Los Angeles with their three children.





Margie’s Comments:

The simple title of this book, Union with Christ, reflects the simplicity of the truth that Jesus Christ came to earth “to seek and to save that which was lost.” But salvation in Jesus Christ alone involves our active participation. And the author, Rankin Wilbourne, does a masterful job of explaining and encouraging his readers to dig deeper into God’s Word to find the answers to the “gap” that exists as believers attempt to reconcile what they hear in church on Sunday and the pressures of the world the rest of the week (or as soon as they walk out the door of their churches into the “real” world).

This topic of learning to abide in Christ (John 15) or union with Christ has been one that I’ve pondered for most of my adult life. In reading this book for review (but also for my own study and growth), I realized how thankful I am for the church we have been a part of sixteen out of the last twenty years. If it hadn’t been for the teaching of the pastors and other staff members on justification and progressive sanctification, I probably wouldn’t have as good a grasp on this topic as I do. Oh, I’m far from perfect, but it has long been my prayer to realize the truth of Paul’s desire stated in Philippians 3:8–14. Even before we moved to Colorado twenty years ago, the Lord brought me through various circumstances, and yes, trials, in order to see how this union with Christ could be accomplished. And for those experiences I am grateful.

The author establishes the historical position of the church on this topic of union with Christ before showing us the need of individual believers to have a balance between God’s amazing grace (that doesn’t give license to do whatever we please) and obedience to God’s commands in His Word in order to achieve the joy and peace that is ours when we are in true union with Christ. This is a full-length book that (at least for me) takes time to read it thoroughly in order to understand and comprehend and apply the truths of Scripture, but it is well worth every minute spent in doing so. I highly recommend Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God by Rankin Wilbourne.