The Prayer of Agur by Jay Payleitner

My Thoughts

The Prayer of Agur by author Jay Payleitner is my introduction to him.  I had not before heard of him nor known he had written any books.  This short little book was a brilliant, heart stirring explanation of a prayer that is often over looked in Proverbs, or at least it has been by me.
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The Prayer of Agur from Proverbs (30:8-9) is where Agur asks for only his daily bread. He does this for two reasons. If he gets an abundance he could forget about God, and if he doesn’t have enough he might steal and dishonor the Lord’s name.  Reminiscent of the Israelites in the desert, isn’t it?
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Payleitner has a nice, easy style of writing.  I found it very enjoyable.  He writes clearly and concisely.  Each chapter is dissected and explained so that a novice or seasoned student will easily understand it.  There are questions at the end of them, also.
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The author says:  “Open your heart to Agur’s wit and wisdom, and you can learn to

• escape imbalance
• overcome fear of failure and eliminate envy
• joyfully pursue your passions
• reap the eternal rewards of trusting God
• find your personal sweet spot”

I have read through the Bible many times.  Obviously I just glossed over parts of it, such as this one.  Now I am hungry to reread it all over again and see what I have missed.

A big take away from this book for me is that God has always used ordinary people to fulfill His purpose and always will.  The saying still holds true, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called,” today.  We just need to listen for Him.

Agur was an unknown man that asked God to provide the exact amount he needed for each day.  He trusted God and was rewarded for that.  It sounds so simple yet is sometimes difficult for mere humans.

I highly recommend this encouraging, inspirational book to everyone.  There is much to ponder within the pages.  I will definitely return for a second read again soon.  It would make a great small group study or book club choice.  Ministers would easily be able to build a sermon on it.  It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating fro me.   I received a copy from the author, but these are my honest words.

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About the Author

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Jay Payleitner is one of the top freelance producers for Christian radio, having worked on Josh McDowell Radio, Today’s Father, Jesus Freaks Radio, and Project Angel Tree with Chuck Colson.

Jay is a long-time affiliate with the National Center for Fathering and Iron Sharpens Iron.   He speaks at men’s retreats, marriage weekends, writers’ conferences, and weekend services. Jay has sold more than half million books including the bestselling 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, The Prayer of Agur, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? His books have been translated into at least ten languages. And he has been a guest multiple times on The Harvest Show, Moody Radio, Cornerstone TV, and Focus on the Family.

Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in the Chicago area where they raised five great kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood.

Women of the Bible Speak Out Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

“Women from the Bible Speak Out” by author Marlo Schalesky is an excellent book.  This book discusses timeless issues that have plagued women since the beginning of time.  By using women and their biblical stories, the author offers help, healing, and hope.

Usually I am not a fan of writers making up tales about the daily lives and thoughts of people from the Bible.  However, author Schalesky has done it exceptionally well.  Her take on the women’s issues, thoughts, and emotions is helpful and insightful.  The variety of women featured is beautiful.  She visits many well known and lesser known ladies from the Bible.

I was impressed with the writing style of the author.  It is pleasant, inviting, and easy to read.  I was immediately drawn in and captivated by this book.  Usually that only happens with a novel.  This is a teaching book.  I learned about women’s issues, women of the Bible, and how God loves and helps each one of us.

I definitely recommend this book.  Any woman would benefit from reading it.  You will feel a closer kinship with our biblical ancestors.  This helpful book sparks healing and hope.  It is biblically based and will deepen your Christian walk.  This would make a great individual or group bible study.  It is a resource that all church libraries should consider.

It gets a rating of 5 out of 5 stars from me.  I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, but all opinions are my own, honest ones.

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About the Book

Book:  Women of the Bible Speak Out

Author: Marlo Schalesky

Genre:  RELIGION/Christian Living/Women’s Interests

Release Date: June 2, 2020

With the recent headlines about gender-based abuse, power, harassment, and assault, it seems as if everyone is searching for answers. Marlo Schalesky provides a biblical response to the tough questions raised by these issues. She explores the stories of twenty women in Scripture, including Eve, Sarah, and Bathsheba—women who were betrayed, abused, endangered, blamed, and shamed. As she leads us in studying the biblical text, she draws our eye to God’s responses to these women and their situations:
Eve: The Way It Was Supposed to Be

Sarai: Betrayed

Hagar:  Used

Lot’s Daughters & A Levite’s Concubine: Abused

Two Tamars: Rejected

Hannah: Devalued

Abigail: Endangered

Bathsheba: Sexualized

Esther: Dominated

Mary & Martha: Oppressed

A Samaritan Woman: Shamed

A Sinful Woman: Scorned

A Woman Caught in Adultery: Blamed

Women at the Tomb: Disbelieved

She points out a way to healing, wholeness, and freedom. In the midst of today’s #MeToo conversations, this book will give new voice to the remarkable women of Scripture—and new hope to many, many women today.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Marlo Schalesky is the founder and president of Wonder Wood Ranch, a California charitable organization that brings hope through horses to hurting kids. She’s had over one thousand articles published in various Christian magazines, is a regular columnist for Power for Living, and is an award-winning author of twelve books. Schalesky has a master’s in theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She lives with her husband and six children in a log home on California’s central coast.

 

 

 

More from Marlo

1) Why did you write this book?

When I was first asked to consider writing a book about women in the Bible who experienced abuse, oppression, gender-based bias and discrimination, sexualization, and more, I didn’t know how their stories would intersect with mine and the experiences of women today. I thought I would find only horror, but beyond that I found a surprising hope; a God who is always seeking to redeem, to heal, and to make right where mankind has broken and betrayed.

This book is for others like me, for women who have been hurt, whose wounds sometimes seem too deep to heal. I wrote it for those who know that while justice is necessary, it is not enough. We need to see God. We need Him to see us. We need an experience with the God of Scripture whose fierce love is the only thing that can heal those hurts that lie deep within.

2) What do you hope your readers will take away from reading your book?

I hope they experience a renewed hope. And a deeper understanding of the God who loves them. I want readers to know that God sees them, and He sees what they’ve suffered, and He does not look away. He does not make excuses.

After reading Women of the Bible Speak Out, I hope readers will see that instead of winking at the repression of women, the Bible exposes it. And the Bible reveals a God who not only shares in our suffering but seeks to redeem it.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 10

Spoken from the Heart, June 10

For the Love of Literature, June 11

deb’s Book Review, June 11

Emily Yager, June 12

Older & Smarter, June 12

Book of Ruth Ann, June 13

A Reader’s Brain, June 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 15

Rebecca Tews, June 15

Texas Book-aholic, June 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 16

Godly Book Reviews, June 17

Writing from the Heart Land, June 17

Inklings and notions, June 18

Holly Jo Morris, June 18

For Him and My Family, June 19

Lighthouse Academy Blog, June 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Just the Write Escape, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

Hallie Reads, June 21

Splashes of Joy, June 22

Artistic Nobody, June 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marlo is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book plus a $10 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fc1e/women-of-the-bible-speak-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

Say and Pray Bible Celebrate Lit Book Tour And Giveaway

My Thoughts

Diane Stortz has written a bible storybook perfect for babies to young preschoolers in her Say & Pray Bible.  This colorful, sturdy board book uses simple, vividly colored picture to teach children words, objects, and bible stories. The young ones will be engaged and entertained while they learn.

On the sturdy, coated pages are pictures, a simple sentence, and a prayer.  This is simple enough that it maintains attention and can easily be memorized.  The size is nice and the pages are turned effortlessly.

It is such a blessing to have books such as this one to read to our children and grandchildren.  Establishing bible time early helps them maintain it in future years.  This is a perfect gift for a baby shower, new parent or grandparent, and church nursery.

I highly recommend this book.  Children need to have nurturing for their minds also, and this is a book that will give their spirits some nourishment, too.  It gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book:  Say & Pray Bible

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre:  Bible stories, board book

Release Date: 2015

Curl up together and experience the Bible in a fresh, new way. Young children will enjoy pointing to and naming objects on each page for early learning. Most important, they’ll discover favorite, age-appropriate Bible stories, with Scripture verses and short prayers that also hide God’s Word in young hearts.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

 

About the Author

Diane Stortz is a multipublished author who writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Yearand Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.

 

More from Diane

Once upon a time there was a little boy who loved his books. Long before he could talk, he loved turning pages, looking at the pictures, hearing his grandpa name the objects in the pictures, and pointing to those objects.

 

And once upon a time there was a grandma looking for a truly age-appropriate Bible storybook for that same little boy. And the best ones she found still contained too many words.

 

And she wondered . . .

 

Why not write a Bible storybook that could be designed especially for babies, toddlers, and young preschoolers? With the shortest stories you’ve ever seen, and with labeled objects and people in the illustrations that little ones could point to and name?

 

That’s how my book Say & Pray Bible began.

 

I wanted a book with age-appropriate, SHORT Bible stories. Babies and toddlers LOVE turning pages. Listening to long stories has to wait until they’re older.

 

I wanted short Bible verses and prayers to go with the very short stories.

 

And I wanted the illustrations to have lots of LABELED objects to encourage little ones to point and name.

 

Some days you might just read the stories. Another day, just the verses. Yet another reading, just the prayers. And some days, you might just talk about the pictures.

 

Most children begin to say single words with meaning, always nouns, at 12–18 months. This is the stage when children can point to—and eventually name—photos or illustrations of objects in their books.

 

Around 24 months, children begin to say two-word, noun plus verb sentences, such as “Cat run.” In time, sentences become longer and include adjectives and adverbs, but no function words: “Big cat run fast.” Last to develop is the use of function words (such as the and an) and more complex sound combinations and sentence forms.

 

Human beings seem to be hardwired to acquire language and learn to speak—evidence that, as the Bible says, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). But there’s a lot we can do to help little ones develop language skills and expose them to God’s Word at the same time!

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, May 23

Texas Book-aholic, May 24

Through the Fire Blogs, May 25 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 25

Older & Smarter?, May 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 27

A Baker’s Perspective, May 28 (Author Interview)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 29

Inklings and notions, May 30

A Reader’s Brain, May 31

Spoken from the Heart, June 1

Simple Harvest Reads, June 2 (Author Interview)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 2

Aryn the Libraryan 📚, June 3

Splashes of Joy, June 4

Artistic Nobody, June 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book, a signed copy of the companion book (Say & Pray Devotions), and a $10 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa0a/say-pray-bible-celebration-tour-giveaway

Refresh Your Faith Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway.

My Thoughts

Refresh your Faith, uncommon devotions from every book of the Bible, by author Lori Hatcher is a unique devotional.  The author uses scripture from each of the sixty-six books of the Bible and molds a refreshing, inspiring devotion around them.  Be prepared to become enlightened.

Most of the devotionals that I have read draw upon the same, favorite, and familiar scriptures.  This one is the exception.  It is a breath of fresh air.  I was given a sampling of lesser known books and scripture to help deepen my daily Walk.  The lessons stayed with me long after I had finished them.

The style of writing is personal and soothing.  It was easy to imagine discussing scripture and stories over a glass of iced tea with this author.  Her devotions are smooth and clear. They give insight and inspiration.  I will definitely read this book again.

This would make a lovely gift for anyone – man or woman, any age, no matter where you are in your Walk.  I highly recommend this.  Be sure to get a copy for yourself, too.  It is certainly different but in a good way.  I gladly give it a 5 out of 5 star rating.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book:  Refresh Your Faith
Author: Lori Hatcher
Genre:  Devotional
Release Date: May 2020
Unfamiliar verses. Uncommon insights. Unlimited possibilities.
Move from biblical doldrums to dynamic discovery! While your favorite Scripture verses or stories may bring you comfort, if you’re feeling monotony in your time with God it’s time to shake it up a bit. Each of these 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions—one from each book of the Bible—spotlights an unusual verse or passage and takes only five minutes to read. If you have more time, you can dig a little deeper with an uncommon thought to ponder, unusual faith action step to take, and an unfamiliar passage suggestion that invites you to further explore the Bible’s hidden gems.
You’ll be challenged to think deeply, step out boldly, and grow dynamically, transforming your devotional time—and your life!
Praise for Lori Hatcher’s writing . . .
“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman
Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Lori Hatcher Head Shot
Lori Hatcher is a blogger, pastor’s wife, and women’s ministry speaker. She’s the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbiamagazine, president of Columbia Toastmasters, and regular contributor to magazines such as Christian Living Today and websites like Crosswalk.com. Her book Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time, won the Christian Small Publisher 2016 book of the year. Find out more about Lori and her well-loved 5-minute devotions at lorihatcher.com.

Read a Teaser from Refresh Your Faith

The dirty little secret in Christian circles is that many of us are bored with our devotional time. We know we shouldn’t feel this way. It’s important to read our Bibles every day. After all, it’s God’s Word, the source of truth, and life, and hope.
While some have successfully built the discipline of Bible reading into their lives, others struggle. Even those who regularly read their Bibles find it a bit dry at times. Many of us also read devotionals, not to take the place of Bible reading, but to help us discover unfamiliar passages and stories and benefit from a godly writer’s perspective.
I wrote Refresh Your Faith because I was frustrated by many of the devotionals I read. They seemed to focus on the same basic verses I’d memorized with my children twenty years ago. John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Psalm 23, Matthew 3:5-6. Same with the Bible passages and stories. I treasure the familiar verses and stories. I’ve held them close to my heart during some of the darkest times of my life.
But I knew there was more to the Bible than these well-worn favorites.
I reached a point in my spiritual life when I needed something new. If something didn’t change, my spirit was going to wither up. My time with God shouldn’t be something I did out of duty. I wanted to delight in God and His Word.
So I asked God to help me. I needed something to refresh my faith and energize my Bible reading. Wow, did He answer. I’d been reading through the Bible every year for more than a decade, but all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to passages I’d never noticed before.
These uncommon verses sparkled like gems. The more I read, the more I spotted them, tucked into obscure stories and buried under genealogies and census reports. I found some hiding out in plain sight—golden nuances and nuggets in the shadows of the more familiar stories.
Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is a collection of the treasure I unearthed during my year of searching. Each story-driven devotion contains an unusual verse, a real-life application, and an uncommon faith step.
I hope my book will energize your faith, inspire your devotional time, and make you say, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, May 10
God is Love, May 17
Marilyn Ridgway, May 18 (Guest Review on Lighthouse Academy Blog)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lori is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and autographed copy of Refresh Your Faith!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

God’s Words to Dream On Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

God’s Words to Dream on by author Diane Stortz is a delightful Children’s Bible Storybook.  It is designed to be read at nighttime.  Children will be captivated by the whimsical, sparkly cover and eager to read the stories inside.

The sturdy book contains 52 Bible stories.  Half of the stories are from the Old Testament and the other half from the New Testament in this giving children a good foundation of biblical knowledge.   Each one references the bible verse where the story is found, another short scripture called “God’s Words to Dream On”, an easy to understand summary or “Bedtime Blessing” and closes with a “Sleepy-Time Prayer.” Kids will be delighted with the vivid colorful illustrations that accompany the story.  Many of the stories are well known but a few might be unfamiliar to some children.

This is a very good book to establish a nighttime bible reading for children.  It is made to last. The pages are a sturdy coated hard board.  This can take some tossing around and be okay.

I recommend this for young children and preschoolers.  The stories are told in a way to capture little one’s attention and the pictures are lovely.  This is a great beginning bible story book for bedtime.  It would make a nice baby or shower gift.  I gladly give it a 5 star rating.  Celebrate Lit provided a copy but these are my own words.

About the Book

Book:  God’s Words to Dream On

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre: Children’s Bible storybook/Non-fiction

Release Date: March 2019

Start a Bedtime Bible Story Tradition Tonight!
What better way to spend the last few minutes of the day than snuggled up with your children, pouring God’s love into their hearts? God’s Words to Dream On calms, quiets, and opens hearts to hear faith-building Bible stories and prayers. Over 50 stories—from the Old and New Testaments—create an overview of the Bible with a focus on God’s love, care, protection, trustworthiness, and power.
Each Night, You’ll Enjoy:
* A Bible Story—stories of Gods power and protection
* A Bedtime Blessing—how this story will bless your child’s life
* God’s Words to Dream On—a Bible verse to hide God’s Word in little hearts
* A Sleepy-Time Prayer—a good-night prayer tied to the theme of the story
Dreams are sweeter when we dream of the Lord.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Diane Stortz is a multipublished author who writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Yearand Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.

More from Diane

A happy bedtime contributes so much to a child’s welfare. Perhaps a warm bath, a story, some cuddles with mom or dad, and a prayer equal a time-tested bedtime routine. These last moments of the day, done right, create a wonderful sense of family security and love for children as they fall asleep.

Bedtime also gives us a wonderful opportunity to help children grow secure in God’s love. I wrote God’s Words to Dream On for just that reason. The stories not only create an overview of the Bible’s big story, but they focus on God’s love and care—the ways He shows us His power and protection and the reasons we can trust Him. Each story includes a simple Bible verse to remember, a simple prayer, and a bedtime blessing for your child.

Young children thrive on routine, and I think a Bible story at bedtime might be one of the best!

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, April 25

Texas Book-aholic, April 26

Mary Hake, April 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

deb’s Book Review, April 29

Spoken from the Heart, April 30

Holly Jo Morris, April 30

Remembrancy, May 1

Older & Smarter?, May 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 3

Splashes of Joy , May 4

Artistic Nobody, May 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Aryn The Libraryan, May 6

Becka Jiménez’s FB, May 6

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 7

Vicky Sluiter, May 8

Bookishly Beverly, May 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away the grand prize package of a Scripture Lullabies CD, a bottle of Honest Company Truly Calming Bubble Bath, and a bath poof!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8f8/god-s-word-to-dream-on-celebration-tour-giveaway

Eden, Biblical Fiction, Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

My Thought

Eden, Biblical Fiction of the World’s First Family by author Brennan S. McPherson is Book One in the Christian Biblical fictional series, The Fall of Man.  Biblical fiction is a genre where I either love the book or hate it.  For me, it is difficult to read a biblical novel where too much literary freedom was taken. In the back of my mind I hear “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” from Proverbs.

Author McPherson has a great writing style.  It is poetic, inviting, and even haunting.  The emotional depth of this is astounding.  With mere words the author pulls on heartstrings and has readers invested immediately.  His story is told with a sadness that would have been believable if it had been more biblically accurate.  Unfortunately it is not.  I realize this is a tale based on the Bible’s account of what happened to Adam and his family, but the author took far too many liberties in his novel.

This tale describes Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden during their daily lives.  Adam shares his story with Enoch in a bittersweet retelling.  Some of the details were too fictional and far from the story I knew.  Did Eve ask permission from Adam before eating the forbidden fruit?  Not according to scripture.  Did Adam have conversations with the serpent?  It is not recorded in the Bible.

What I expected was a beautiful retelling of the perfect life in the garden of Eden and then the fall of man.  What I read was a story laden with turmoil, sadness, and conflict.  God was portrayed more like a human and friend to Adam rather than the Creator and one true God that He is.  When addressing Him in the book, He was not even given the respect of a capitalized first letter. (This is one of my pet peeves.)

Author McPherson has a vivid imagination and great style of writing.  There is no doubt that he has talent and creativity.   I wish he had not strayed so far away from the facts.  For that reason I cannot recommend this book.

A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit and these are my honest opinions.

About the Book

Book:  Eden

Author: Brennan S. McPherson

Genre:  Biblical Fiction

Release Date: April 1, 2020

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00026]“You want me to tell of how I broke the world.”

It’s the year 641 since the beginning of the world, and when Eve passes away, she leaves Adam the only man on earth who remembers everything from the beginning of the world.

When Enoch, God’s newly appointed prophet, decides to collect the stories of the faithful from previous generations, he finds Adam in desperate need to

confess the dark secrets he’s held onto for too long.

Beside a slowly burning bonfire in the dead of night, Adam tells his story in searing detail. From the beginning of everything, to how he broke the world, shattered Eve’s heart, and watched his family crumble.

Will Enoch uncover what led so many of Adam’s children away from God? And will Adam find the redemption and forgiveness he longs for?

 

Click here for your copy.

 

About the Author

brennanBRENNAN S. MCPHERSON writes epic, imaginative biblical fiction with heart-pounding plots and lyrical prose, for readers who like to think biblically and feel deeply. He lives with his wife and young daughter in the Midwest, and spends as much of his spare time with them as possible.

 

Read an Exclusive Excerpt

In my beginning was not darkness, but Light.

As I opened my eyes for the first time, I saw dust motes swirling around five bright points. I reached for them and realized the dust was not blowing past me but instead settling across the complex shapes in my arms.

Distracted, I twisted my wrist, seeing muscle, tendon, bone, and a partial layer of skin. Clenching my fingers one by one, I saw the movement in my joints.

Fascinated, I watched as a swathe of dust poured over me like a sheet of silk and morphed into smooth, brown flesh. I ran my fingers across my new skin, and when the sound of shifting sand settled, noticed what sounded like gentle Music riding on the breath that flowed into me.

I inhaled.

Exhaled.

Inhaled again.

“Adam,” I said, for I had heard that name—my name—in the Music.

I realized that my Father was singing over me, and in his singing, he had given me life and form, and had named me Adam.

He smiled at me, with those dark brown eyes, and let soft melodies fall from his tongue as I lay on my back.

He lifted me from the mud and burned the remaining dust from my skin with the heat of his presence. But he did not hurt me as a natural flame might. Instead, he filled and cleansed me. And the joy of him filled me with an insatiable desire to experience everything around me, to understand the world he had sung into existence.

I’ve never since felt so whole as I did with him in Eden. Because inside me was nothing that did not belong. Only him, and the breath he gave, and the Music he sang, and the smells of Eden, and the touch of his Light, and the taste of his name on my lips as I spoke for the second time. “Father.” I smiled and laughed.

He stood magnificent, warm, compassionate. The image of the invisible condensed in a life foreknown before the foundations of the world were formed.

I felt his pride over me and laughed again, only now with tears.

My first moments were not like those of a newborn child come from a womb. Instead, they were of a child gone into the womb. Swaddled in the Light of God. Cocooned in his satisfaction.

I was Adam. Man fully formed. Reflection of perfection.

In joy, I fell to my hands and knees and bowed my forehead to the ground. Tears flowed to the soil I’d been formed from. How great! How wonderful this being was who had made me for himself, and who so unendingly satisfied me. Nothing I’ve experienced in my long years could ever make me forget it. That sense of purpose. Of everything being right.

Ah, yes. I see wonder on your face, Enoch, at how tears could be present in a world yet unbroken by sin.

Have you never wondered why the kiss of a lover can bring tears to our eyes? It is because some goods are so great that they must be given vent. For not all tears spring from sorrow. And not all aches are unwanted.

Yet still, my Father lifted me and wiped my cheeks. Then he led me across hills and valleys, puddles and rivers. He pointed at plants and skittering animals and insects, and it seemed as though I could hear the echo of his melodies in their movements.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray, April 3

Mary Hake, April 3

Texas Book-aholic, April 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 5

My Devotional Thoughts, April 5

Through the Fire Blogs, April 6

Genesis 5020, April 6

Inklings and notions, April 7

For Him and My Family, April 8

deb’s Book Review, April 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 9

Betti Mace, April 9

For the Love of Literature, April 10

EmpowerMoms, April 10

Pause for Tales, April 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 11

A Reader’s Brain, April 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 13

Hallie Reads, April 13

Mamma Loves Books, April 14

Lights in a Dark World, April 14

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 15

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Brennan is giving away the grand prize package of a “McPherson Publishing bundle”, which includes the following books: a copy of Flood, Babel, the three Psalm Series novellas, and The Simple Gospel book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8a9/eden-celebration-tour-giveaway

A People Chosen Celebrate Lit Book Tour

My Thoughts

A People Chosen, God’s Purpose and Plans for Israel and the Nations by author Karen Engle is a Bible Study that is meant to last for eight weeks.  It can be done individually in a self guided manner.  I found it absolutely fascinating beginning with its lovely cover.

Author Engle did in-depth research and presented it in a well organized study.  Her writing style is clear and easy to understand.  I had no trouble focusing on the lesson.  The Bible versions she used were NIV and NLT which are two of the more popular versions followed closely by the KJV.  (I owned a Christian Bookstore.)

The lessons are thought provoking, educational, and inspiring.  I loved reading about prophecy.  Some of the information was so extensive I needed to go back and read it again, but I wanted to absorb all of it. Israel is important to God and that should make it important to us.

This is a great Biblical study.  I highly recommend it.  Any small group would benefit from it.  There is so much to ponder and discuss.  If anyone is interested in the Jewish people or Bible Studies, they would love this one.  It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.


About the Book

Book:  A People Chosen

Author: Karen Engle

Genre:  Non – Fiction / Christian / Bible Study

Release Date: March, 2017

A Chosen People coverIs God finished with the Jewish people? Understanding Israel according to the Bible and not the media, political views, or personal opinion sheds incredible light on why Israel and the Jewish people exist today. God is not finished with the tiny nation and has a great purpose and plan for Israel that will impact the world. A People Chosen: God’s Purpose and Plan for Israel and the Nations is a self-guided eight-lesson Bible study. You will learn about the creation of Israel in Genesis, God’s promises to Israel and the nations, Israel’s scattering and current regathering to Israel, the return of King Jesus to rule and reign from Jerusalem, and why Israel is pivotal in God’s plan of redemption. It is a love story of faithfulness, mercy, and justice. It is the story of a people chosen by God to be a conduit for God’s blessings to all mankind. It is a weighty call, and it has not come without a price.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Karen EngleKaren earned a master’s in biblical studies from Western Seminary. She is an adjunct writing instructor with Moody Bible Institute, a copy editor for Faithlife Corporation, and owner of East Gate Editing. Her passion is taking study groups to the land of Israel, which she says brings the Bible from “black and white to technicolor.”

 

More from Karen

There is something peculiar about the Jews. They are one of the few ancient people groups that has endured into modern times, and their religion—Judaism—is one of the world’s oldest.

The Jewish people have been miraculously regathered together into a thriving nation after being scattered throughout the earth. Hebrew, Israel’s official language, was once a dead speech but has been revived and is now an active, living language with more than five million native speakers.

They have been the most persecuted people in history and as such their existence baffles historians and theologians alike. There is no logical rationale for the Jews’ existence. Considering the Holocaust alone, the Jewish people should not have survived. And yet, they do.

In fact, they have flourished and been a blessing to the world.

The narrative of the Bible is centered on this unique nation of individuals established by God thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. From Abraham to King David to Jesus, the story of the Bible is knit together with a common thread: the Jewish people. It is a love story of faithfulness, mercy, and justice. It is the story of a people chosen by God to be a conduit for God’s blessings to humanity. It is a weighty call, and it has not come without a price.

Yet, many people, even Christians, don’t give this a second thought.

About twelve years ago, God stirred my heart toward this tiny nation, and I subsequently spent years studying the history of the Jewish people and God’s purpose and plan for them according to Scripture. And it rocked my theological world. I was in the middle of seminary, and no one (outside of one professor, who is still my favorite) talked about Israel. And though there were books on the topic, I could not find one Bible study.

When I talk to people about Israel and its importance in Scripture and thus modern-day world events, there seems to be a disconnect—a lack of understanding as to why anyone would bring up the topic. Why should anyone care? What is so significant about Israel?

I wrote this Bible study to answer these questions. It’s a cross between a book and a Bible study and is designed to take participants by the hand and help them understand why God cares so deeply about this peculiar nation. It’s a culmination of many trips to the land and years of personal study—and I’m still learning. Heavy on Scripture, full of beautiful images from around Israel, and focused on Christ, the study will turn the black and white pages of your Bible to technicolor.

I hope that those who do the study will begin to see Israel as a beautiful example of God’s faithfulness to his Word.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 26

Inklings and notions, March 27

For Him and My Family, March 28

Blossoms and Blessings, March 29 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 30

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 31

Genesis 5020, April 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 3

For the Love of Literature, April 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, April 4

Spoken from the Heart, April 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 6

Artistic Nobody, April 7 (Author Interview)

SPLASHES of Joy, April 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of an Israel-themed basket: 6 copies of my book/Bible study A People Chosen, the movie The Hope on the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the book Your People Will Be My People, and a $25 gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f737/a-people-chosen-celebration-tour-giveaway

In the Garden Celebrate Lit Tour

My Thoughts

In the Garden, an Illustrated Guide to Plants of the Bible is a lovely reference book.  Beginning with the beautiful cover and continuing throughout the pages are full color illustrated pictures of the many plants from scripture.  I was mesmerized with them.

Plants and herbs of all types mentioned in the Bible are explained in appearance and use. That was extremely interesting. I love gardening, especially herbs.  Many times when reading scripture I have wondered how a certain plant looked or for what it was used.  This book would have answered those questions.  The authors offered some lessons on the plants.  This book spoke to the gardener in me, and I was awed at God’s creations.

Divided into four parts, there are Trees and Shrubs, Edible Plants, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, and Flowers.   Each new listing begins with a scripture and the Latin, Hebrew, and Greek names of the plant.  Also included is how it relates to Biblical and modern use.

This is a very well researched book.  It was well organized and written so that it was easy to follow.  I had no trouble understanding it and enjoyed the material.  This is a reference book I will definitely keep on my shelf.

After the listing of trees, shrubs, bushes, and plants are growing tips as well as information about the Jewish calendar and growing seasons.  That growing season is different than ours and corresponds with their feasts.  That was new information for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It taught me so much.  I would recommend this to any Bible scholar, gardener, or anyone interested in learning more about plants of all types.  It received a 5 star rating from me.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit.  These are my honest opinions.

About the Book

Book:  In The Garden

Author: Whitaker House Editorial

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, Biblical history, cultural, Biblical reference

Release Date: January 10, 2020

In The Garden CoverConsider not only the lilies of the field, but all the plants, trees, herbs, shrubs, and flowers that play a role in the biblical narrative through this illustrated guide. From the barley Ruth harvested to the hyssop David craved, from the frankincense the wise men brought to Jesus to the sycamore tree Zacchaeus climbed, the Bible is peppered with allusions to the plants that were a part of daily life in the ancient Near East and in New Testament Israel. With original illustrations, this beautiful gift book clarifies the biblical references to fifty plants and provides delightful new insights into the Word of God. Includes indexes to each plant and its corresponding Scripture references, a calendar of Jewish festivals and the growing seasons in Israel, and tips for growing your own biblically inspired garden.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

More from Whitaker House

Rather than being a dictionary of the plants mentioned in the Bible, In the Garden, with its original illustrations and plant descriptions, is meant to spark the reader’s spiritual imagination. It is our hope that these pages about the plants of the Bible will prompt your imagination and inform your study of the precious Word of the living God

Blog Stops

She Lives To Read, March 11

Texas Book-aholic, March 12

For the Love of Literature, March 13

For Him and My Family, March 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 15

deb’s Book Review, March 16

Mary Hake, March 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 18

CarpeDiem, March 19

Inklings and notions, March 20

Robin’s Nest, March 21

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 22

Mamma Loves Books, March 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 24

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Whitaker House is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and finished copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f6fd/in-the-garden-celebration-tour-giveaway

Isaiah’s Legacy by Mesu Andrews

My Thoughts

Isaiah’s Legacy by master wordsmith Mesu Andrews is Biblical Fiction at its finest.  This is book #3 in The Prophets and Kings Series.  It is an impressive 400 page paperback book with an enchanting cover.

Author Andrews has a captivating style of writing.  Her prose takes readers on a journey to ancient times and lands.  People from the Bible are brought to life on the pages of her book.  This is a well researched, well planned, and very well written novel.  I was immediately invested in the story.

Keeping true to scripture Author Andrews brings the life of King Manasseh front and center in her book.  He was a troubled, cruel man.  His father was King Hezekiah, who died when his son was only twelve years old. Manasseh has learning difficulties and needs to learn so much to rule. Shebna is his tutor and has a brother with a similar disability who’s daughter, Shulle, has assisted him.  Shebna offers rooms to his brother and niece in exchange for her help tutoring Manasseh.  Shebna uses her wiles to sway him away from Yahweh.  When Manasseh becomes king, he marries Shulle.

This is a powerful retelling of a Biblical story.    King Hezekiah restored Judah to a nation that followed God.   His son, King Manasseh, becomes Judah’s most wicked king and changes everything his father worked so faithfully to restore. King Hezekiah’s wife, Hephzibah, Isaiah’s daughter, struggles with her young son and losing her husband.  Then her heart breaks even more as she watches Manasseh take reign over their country and make horrible changes that result in the death of her father and friends. I found those parts hard to read, specifically about sorcery, child sacrifice and the killing of God’s people.

I highly recommend this spectacular novel.  It helps bring the Old Testament alive.  This would make a great group study book.  There is so much to discuss.  I loved it and have found it has stayed with me.  It definitely receives a 5 out of 5 stars rating from me.

A copy was provided by Waterbrook & Multnomah Launch Team. This is my own, honest opinion.

About the Book

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Isaiah’s Legacy

Author Mesu Andrews

Prophets and Kings Series

Biblical Fiction, category

400 pages

ISBN: 9780735291881

The drama of the Old Testament comes to life as Judah’s most notorious king ascends to the throne in this gripping novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter .

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle’s help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah’s five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she’s eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father’s strict adherence to Yahweh’s Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power.

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh’s chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah’s throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria’s crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle’s long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she’d never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh’s mother: Isaiah’s daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah’s dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord’s promise, “Though we’re helpless now, we’re never hopeless–because we serve El Shaddai.” Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah’s legacy.

About the Author

Mesu Andrews

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Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell)–the story of Job and the women who loved him–won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba.

The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah but focuses on the woman Hephzibah–a fascinating character in Jewish legends.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.

To learn more about the author and other books she has written go to: http://mesuandrews.com/

Psalm Hymns Vol. 5 Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

Psalm Hymns, Volume 5, Psalms 107-150 by author L.L. Larkins is the fifth in her series.  This is a delightfully different look at scripture, the Psalms, and worship.  It brings a novel level to learning bible verses.

No matter how many times I have read the Bible, it seems I always glean something new. Author Larkins has put music from favorite hymns to Psalms.  The combination is beautiful.

I am not a singer, wish as I much as I may.  Since it was just me and Abba, I was comfortable singing the Psalms to Him.  The depth it added to my worship brought tears to my eyes.  Everyone should try it.

This book should help with scripture memorization.  It is easier for me to remember hymns sometimes than scripture.  Singing is the difference.

This would be a fun book to do in a group.  Psalms are so powerful and most people have a favorite or two.  Using this book helps delve deeper into them and worship.

I highly recommend this book.  It gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my own, honest words.

 

About the Book

Book: Psalm Hymns, Volume Five, Psalms 107-150

Author: L.L. Larkins

Genre: Non-Fiction

Release Date: July 10, 2019

You’ve landed on the final book of Biblical Psalms in the Psalm Hymns series, Volume Five, Psalms 107-150 contains singable, recitable psalms in full form, adapted from the Biblical Psalms.

In this last volume of the Psalm Hymns series, you are offered a method for singing book V of the Biblical Psalms. Maybe your favorite psalm is included.

There are some sticky psalms, like Psalm 119- King David’s love poem to God’s law. You can ask yourself while singing it, why the law is important to a King. Psalm 137 is full of bile and bitterness, written by the remnant captives after the desolation of Jerusalem. But there are also the most lyrical and beautiful of praises for the eternal rule of God found in the Psalms of Ascent and in Psalm 107 and Psalm 136.

Psalm 139 is the lyrical ode and articulate description of God knitting our bodies together in secret, and how He watches over and cares for us no matter where we go.

The Celebration Psalms finish out the entire book of Psalms and Psalm Hymns series as a grand finale.

Click here for your copy!

About the Author

L. L. Larkins graduated with a double major in Bible and Music from Colorado Christian University. Larkins is not a public speaker and in fact, enjoys being slightly incognito. This keeps the focus on the experience of singing the Psalms in each one’s own fashion or group.  It also keeps any hero-worship or dart-throwing contests about the author at bay.
The Psalms provide a different experience of praise and worship than what is currently experienced in western Christian music. Both are valuable.
Larkins wrote each of the Psalm Hymns books (a series) in the given biblical context of chapter and verse.  They are meant for teaching and experiential learning in Bible studies, as introductions to pastoral messages in the Psalms, for devotions during tours of the Holy Land, and for religious education for homeschoolers.  But, they are also meant for anyone who loves the Psalms and enjoys a good puzzle.  Some Psalms are so long that singing them can feel like chanting unless there is a creative musician in the group who knows about key changes, soloists, style changes, and other musical effects.
Larkins has wrestled with the puzzles of the psalms and has been thrilled with the spiritual enlightenment that adapting the Psalms to music has provided.

More from L. L. Larkins

Hi, and welcome to everyone wanting to go deep and wide, welcome to this singing book tour of the Psalms!
It’s my feeling that no other kind of Bible study can be quite as fun as a singing Bible study! You look at each other and can get a little anxious, but then someone starts singing the tune with the words of the Psalm and then everyone joins in or takes a turn. Nervous people start singing harmonies, then they get stronger.  People start laughing at themselves or at the wonder of the words they’ve never really heard before.  Afterward, people start commenting and asking questions. It’s just a blast!
The Psalms were written as prayers and soulful examinations about life, and as secret cover letters in times of war, and as testimonies about God’s miracles. But the Psalms were always meant to be sung rather than recited. Did you know? Singing excites the imagination and connects a variety of brain synapsis so that they create spiritual buzzes, new understanding, and alarms ring with new opportunities for faith and belief.
Our church uses the Psalm Hymns books as hymnals.  We sing a psalm before each message.
If you are going on a tour of the Holy Land or are an educator or lay leader or pastor, I hope that you contact my publisher, Capture Books, about getting some copies of the Psalm Hymns in bulk for groups.  I think there is special group pricing available.
Thanks so much for this opportunity to show off Biblical Literature adapted for today’s Church experience.

Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture, January 29

My Devotional Thoughts, January 30

Just the Write Escape, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 1

Texas Book-aholic, February 2

For the Love of Literature, February 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 4

janicesbookreviews, February 5

Inklings and notions, February 6

Artistic Nobody, February 7 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, February 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 8

For Him and My Family, February 9

Mamma Loves Books, February 10

Simple Harvest Reads, February 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, L.L. is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of the Psalm Hymns books (1-5)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f53e/psalm-hymns-v-celebration-tour-giveaway