Sorry. How often do you use this word? Some people use it regularly whenever a request is made. Others might even laughingly say, “sorry, not sorry” to make a joke. This simply word that contains so much heartfelt meaning has been overused, diluted, and sadly misused. Yes, it is one of my pet peeves.
I hear it often. “Sorry.” When someone pushes into me in a restaurant or store, they just use that one word. If someone declines an invitation, I hear “sorry, I can’t.” Sometimes I need assistance with something and hear “sorry, I wish I could.” Mostly I hear this when people learn that my husband is no longer living. People are so sorry. Pun intended.
The word sorry comes from the Old English word sarig, meaning pained or distressed. Our current dictionary defines sorry as:
1 feeling distress especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune
2 feeling regret or penitence
It can also mean:
1 in a poor or pitiful state
2 unpleasant or regrettable on account of incompetence or misbehavior
Now, let me ask, when you tell someone you are sorry, are you pained, distressed, or penitent? Not many are. Don’t get me wrong, of course there are times we say the word with accuracy. However, how many times have we flippantly tossed out a “sorry” without a second thought?
My point is, we need to apologize and seek forgiveness. Scripture says: “If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go —first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering”(Matthew 5:23-24). It is hard to make amends without using the word sorry, and that is why we must be careful to properly use it. We need to preserve that word’s integrity.
Choose your words carefully. Be sincere. Don’t overuse a word or phrase until its meaning is just a whisper of what it was. The good news is that this is just my opinion. I would love to hear yours.
Do you have a Bible collection? I certainly do. My dear late husband once told me I was a Bible junkie or at the very least had an issue with collecting them. He agreed that was in reality not a problem because I used them. Depending on the situation, a unique Bible type or version might be needed.
Have you ever heard of verse mapping scripture? Recently a friend invited me to new group she had started just for that. I baffled. What is this new to me study method? My mind jumped to cross-referencing and the Scofield Reference Bible. Wrong! Verse mapping is nothing close to that.
It is a method to really jump into a scripture and dig deep into its meaning. Discovering not only the author and year it was written, but how and to whom. Defining some of the English words back to the original Greek or Hebrew is eye opening. That is one of my favorite parts of the verse study.
There is a plethora of help on-line for beginnings. Many sites have free downloadable forms. The above is from outuponthewaters.com. I have found some instructions, templates, and other resources. Basically, all you really need is a journal or notebook, set of colored pens, and Bibles. If you only have one Bible, the Internet provides other translations.
Using Colossians 3:23, above is a comparison of just a few different translations. They are very similar yet slightly different. Verse mapping makes note of that.
If you are drawn to scripture and learning like I am, this might be for you. Everything I read said to pray first for guidance. Shouldn’t we do that anyway? Then choose your scripture. From here you will need a template or blank page to begin.
This is a new journey for me, and I have found it exciting. There are a few verses in the Bible that I do not fully grasp. Those scriptures will be on the top of my list to map. What verse would you like to really learn?
I would love to hear from you. Are you a verse mapper? Would you share any tips with us? Tell us how it has increased your faith or changed your walk.
Rahab’s Courage by author Naomi Craig is a captivating retelling of Rahab’s story from the book of Joshua in the Bible. I am very skeptical when it comes to Biblical Fiction because some stray too far from the truth. When that starts to happen, I am finished reading. This one was wonderful and did not disappoint.
Author Craig has penned Rahab’s story in such an inviting way that I was immediately invested. It did not matter that I knew the story well. I could not put this well written novel down. With vivid descriptions, biblical accuracy, and well researched details, I was transported back in time. I was able to get a new perspective on this story.
This is the story of Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho. It is a story of faith, love, hurt, and redemption. One thing that stuck out to me was the age that the author assigned to Rahab. In my mind it was far from what I imagined so I had to read the Biblical account again. Her age is not specified.
The author’s writing style is pleasing. The story flowed along at an even pace. She is definitely gifted. The characters were relatable and much as I expected the actual ones were like. Rahab was tough and yet vulnerable at the same time. My heart hurt for the things that she had gone through. This novel helped me see her in a different light.
The tension and attraction between Rahab and Israelite spy, Salmah, made this romance sizzle. The faith element was inspiring. Old Testament people had a true, strong faith. It made me question the strength of mine. I loved that this book moved me in that way. Nathan was the other spy. His character was written with kindness and caring.
I highly recommend this breathtakingly beautiful view of Rahab and her journey to God. The Epilogue was especially touching so I enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. It would have been nice to have discussion questions for a reading group. Lovers of Biblical fiction will thoroughly enjoy reading Rahab’s Courage. I do agree with the author that this should be for older readers:
“Please use caution with younger readers or if this is something that would act as a trigger for you. If this book were a movie, it would have a rating of PG-13. Naomi Craig, Author”
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars for this stunning retelling. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words. Grab a copy for yourself. You will be entertained, inspired, and edified.
About the Book
Book: Rahab’s Courage
Author: Naomi Craig
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Release date: August 17, 2021
A scarlet cord tethers one ruined woman to the salvation of mankind.
Harboring two fugitives in a city slated for destruction, Rahab has one small chance of escape. In exchange for their safety, she bargains for her own. Their agreement rewards her courage, and she flees Jericho and a life of prostitution for a new life among the people of Israel. Never again will she have to depend on anyone—especially men.
Except Salmah won’t take the hint.
High ranking soldier and leader of the tribe of Judah, Salmah is determined not to repeat his parents’ mistakes. He will keep the Lord’s commandments. Rahab’s growing faith fits right in with phase one of his plans: find a wife who loves the Lord and settle down in the new land.
Rahab finds shelter and meaning in the Lord’s ways until her past comes back to haunt her. As her new faith is put to test, she finds herself alone. Isn’t that what she’d always wanted?
With her courage waning, only the Lord can turn Rahab’s life around again, but will He do it before she loses everyone and everything that really matters to her—to her heart?
Naomi writes Historical Fiction set in Bible times. She lives in a small town in the south-eastern mountains of Arizona She is an avid reader, Pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom.
More from Naomi
Matthew 1:4b-6a (NKJV)
Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.
On the brink of war and conquering the Promised Land, The Israelites stand fierce and determined, ready to see God’s victory. This time they will not waiver. This time, obedience will be their theme. But it wasn’t always that the Israelites stood with resolve as strong as Jericho’s impenetrable walls.
Rewind forty years. The Israelites have just been delivered from slavery in Egypt. 12 spies were sent into the land and brought back a good report. There were bountiful crops peace and giants.
Nahshon, as the leader of Judah (Numbers 2:3), should have been influential in his tribe’s decision to trust the Lord—especially since Caleb one of the two who trusted, was from Judah. Yet nobody believed. They all grumbled. So instead of what should have been a quick journey, it took forty years.
And the entire generation couldn’t enjoy the benefits of trusting God and His promise.
He sees the penalty of his father’s disobedience. It shapes his life he adheres to the ways of the Lord. Plague after disobedience hardens his resolve. He will obey the laws of the Lord so it will go well with him in the new land.
So what is a man with this moral stature doing with a Canaanite? A harlot? Every sordid detail that makes up Rahab goes against his moral fiber.
Faith that was spoken about all the way into the New Testament. Rahab steps out in sacrificial faith to a God she doesn’t yet know, for strangers who have no reason to trust her.
As such, the Lord honored her faith. As He does when you and I step out on that limb because we’ve felt that stirring in our soul.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
Not only did the Lord spread His mantle of protection over Rahab, He also saw fit to include her in the lineage of His Son, Jesus.
Rahab’s Courage is a love story. A story of stepping out in faith. Of changing expectations of yourself and others. Of how the Lord can redeem and use any who are willing to put off the old and become that new creation.
***The scripture is clear that Rahab is a harlot. Due to the nature of this life, this story addresses prostitution, rape, and post traumatic stress. Please use caution with younger readers and if these subjects would act as a trigger for you. If Rahab’s Couragewas a movie, it would have a rating of PG-13
Author Judy DuCharme has written a captivating Christian suspense novel with Blood Moon Redemption. I don’t exactly know what I expected this book to be, but it far exceeded anything I imagined. It was phenomenal! Even the cover is intriguing.
This is a multi-generational story beginning when the Jewish people were driven from their homes in Spain. That was a time I had not thought about before reading it. I knew the Jewish people were driven out of various places in Europe, but this was the first time I thought about Spain.
This is the story of Bible prophecy and an artifact from the night the Jewish people fled from Spain in late 1409s. Teetering between modern day and the past, it weaves together the tale of the last tassel ripped off of a prayer cloth and the lives it has touched.
This is also the story of Tassie, a modern day woman. She is a wonderful character and easy to befriend. Unfortunately, she has been deceived by her boyfriend Omar. He is an unsavory character to say the least.
I absolutely love the writing style of author DuCharme. She gradually drew me into her spellbinding story and kept me turning page after page. At times I cross referenced my Bible to verify what it said about end times. The author has done an excellent job researching biblical information as well as details on Israel and the Jewish people. Books that have a Christian message (and this one does) and also teach me something (yes, again) are my absolute favorite ones.
I highly recommend this thrilling, suspense, end time novel. It would make a breathtaking movie. Book Clubs and reading groups would find this fascinating with so much to discuss. 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: Blood Moon Redemption
Author: Judy DuCharme
Genre: Christian suspense
Release date: October, 2018
An ancient relic, a puzzling prophecy, and a young woman tied together through the ages . . .
It was just a relic, and hers, just a name. Who knew what time it really was?
The blood moons were always surrounded by great persecution and great provision, great trial and great triumph.
When the Jews were expelled from Spain and traveled with Columbus, only a tassel from a prayer shawl remained with them to signify their faith. That tassel, handed down, stolen, and hidden, became a marker of God’s protection and now is the focus of a terrorist scheme and a young woman’s destiny.
Blood Moon Redemption is an end-times thriller that will keep you riveted until the very last moonrise.
Judy DuCharme grew up with Lake Huron next to her back yard and has always loved the water. She, her husband, daughter, and son moved to Door County in 1984. After teaching 5th Grade at Gibraltar School for 22 years, Judy followed the calling that tugged at her all her life to write. Blood Moon Redemption is her 6th or 8 published books and she is the recipient of numerous awards. She also writes for Guideposts Magazine. If you visit Door County, you may find her hiking in the woods, jet skiing on the bay, worshipping at her church, teaching a Bible study, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, playing with her amazing grandson, or sitting outside enjoying the beauty around her.
More from Judy
My brother, a lawyer, is a voracious reader and likes to write reviews. When he wrote of Blood Moon Redemption, he stated: ‘Most novels have pacing that gives you natural places to stop for the night but this one runs right through the stop signs.’ Current, Historical, and Prophetic, Blood Moon Redemption is a riveting novel following the suspenseful and gripping journeys the characters must travel to find their true destinies. My hope is that you are intrigued enough by all the prophecies, history, and stories here-in, that you will further explore the amazing truths that Tassie, her friends and family discovered.
The Rabbi’s Touch, Ten Encounters with Jesus that Changed Everything by author Annetta Lammers is a small book that packs a mighty punch. This is a biblical fiction that may be used as a devotional or even Sunday School or Small Group lesson. It is that well done.
This book examines ten different times that people cry out to Jesus for healing. Can you relate to this? I certainly can. Many times I have asked Jesus for His healing for myself or a loved one. Haven’t you?
We read story after story about how Jesus heals people with a touch or word. Each one is different, but all of them are extremely thankful. Their lives are forever changed. In this book the author whisks us away to Bible Times so that we might experience what those miracles and their results were like. It left me awestruck.
The author does an exceptional job keeping to the Bible in her retelling. Her style of writing drew me in even though I knew the stories. Each titled chapter begins with a scripture before the short inspirational story. After reading this beautiful book, I was led to read the biblical account again.
I highly recommend this. It would make a great small group ten week lesson. Seekers and seasoned followers of Christ will be encouraged and moved by this. It will make a nice gift, and I will revisit it around Easter for a Lenten devotional. Celebrate Lit provided a copy, but these are my own words. It receives a 5 star rating from me.
About the Book
Book: The Rabbi’s Touch
Author: Annetta Lammers
Genre: Biblical Historical Fiction
Release date: Sept, 2020
Ten Gospel Encounters
What if you could live in the story? What if you could meet Jesus and have His eyes meet yours and know His great love for you? What if you could feel his healing touch and know your body was well? Author Annetta Lammers explores ten encounters with Jesus found in the gospels and tells their stories. Through reflection, study of the Greek and living each story she retells the encounters of Jesus touch, voice and power.
Annetta Lammers is a wife, mother, homemaker, and educator. She savours quiet walks in the woods, the texture and colour of pottery and reading Biblical fiction with a cup of coffee. Her fascination and love of God’s word has motivated her to study over the years. You will find more of Annetta’s reflections at annettalammers.com.
More from Annetta
I counted my journals, wondering. A drawer filled with thirty-three journals. The years of words held in those pages cover countless seasons of living and following Jesus. Even the gaps of silence speak volumes in the journey.
This passion for writing, evident in that drawer of journals, has had the dream of a book tucked within it. And, quite by surprise, a book has formed and grown these past years. The Rabbi’s Touch began innocently with the study of Blind Bartimaeus. His miracle took shape in my imagination, taking on sounds, images and emotions. Notes and reflections about his healing found their way in the current journal. Hidden Greek meanings fed my imagination until I was Bartimaeus meeting Jesus. That encounter took on words that needed to be put down on paper as his story. Bartimaeus’ story led to another short story, which led to another. Each story was driven by the desire to enter the lives of those who met Jesus and were healed. Each story was written with the longing to encounter Jesus for myself, as if I had never met Him before. Perhaps I would grow in knowing Him. And I did.
As the stories grew, so did a quiet desire for others to meet Him as I had. Perhaps others could meet Jesus on their dusty road, make eye contact with Him, hear His voice and feel His healing touch? Perhaps a conviction of what He can do will grow, and they, too, could be determined to press in to receive what is His to give? Perhaps they also will cast aside the veil they have been hiding behind and walk free? Perhaps you can meet Him, too? So, here it is, a collection of first-hand stories, ready for you to encounter Jesus.
Greek Word Study: 90 Ancient Words That Unlock Scripture by author Chris Palmer is an educational tool for those wanting to delve deeper into scripture. It is a great starting point for learning Greek words and delving deeper into scripture.
This is a fabulous resource. Author Palmer has done detailed research and presented it in an easy to read and understand form. His book has ninety words, and I can only hope to learn them all in time. For me, this brought much more depth to scriptures that I have studied many times before.
Each chapter is dedicated to one word. It is listed in English and Greek along with the definition for each. In the end of the book is an index of Greek – English Index and an English – Greek Index that contain the chapter number of the word. That makes it easy to refer to certain words.
The author uses everyday terms and items to help explain the words. I liked that this is a book for everyone. It is not just for Bible Scholars. Anyone wanting to learn will definitely learn when reading this. It is a book that will be used many times.
I highly recommend this excellent study tool. Everyone that owns a Bible should read it. It will shine new light on scripture in a deeper way. Every church library should carry at least one copy. This would make a fantastic study for any age. It definitely gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit but this is my honest opinion.
About the Book
Book: Greek Word Study
Author: Chris Palmer
Genre: Christian Non-fiction, Educational
Release Date: July 17, 2020
“Flour. Sheep. Coins. Wheat. Jesus never abandoned the familiarity of His time because what He had to say was so celestial or deep. Instead, He took advantage of what people already understood. In doing so, He didn’t just leave a way of salvation for us, but also a pattern of teaching to follow. This alone was my inspiration for how I chose to write Greek Word Study.”—author Chris Palmer
In a follow-up to his highly acclaimed book Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Rev. Chris Palmer has written Greek Word Study: 90 Ancient Words That Unlock Scripture. With wit, humor, grace, and scholarship, Chris offers biblical insights while teaching Koine Greek words and phrases one delightful bite at a time. Unlike other books that overwhelm readers with Greek grammar, word formation, tenses, and the like, Chris makes the language accessible to anyone, using modern stories and analogies that engage readers and draw them into the Scriptures. Learning some Greek words and phrases helps you read the Bible in high definition!
“You don’t need to be scholar to read this book and you don’t need to know an ounce of Greek either. In fact, you don’t even have to really know much about the Bible at all,” Chris says. “All you need to do is just kick back and enjoy.”
The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and founder of Chris Palmer Ministries. He is host of the popular podcast, Greek for the Week, seen on several Internet platforms. His first book with Whitaker House, Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, has received dozens of five-star reviews from readers.
Chris began in full-time ministry in 2006 and began to preach internationally in 2009, helping many congregations grow, flourish, and expand. His desire for missions is to train and educate pastors, encourage congregations, support the vision of local church, and show the love of God to the culture. He has done this successfully for a decade in over forty nations of the world in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean, working with both traditional churches and the underground and persecuted church.
Chris earned a B.A. in Pastoral Studies from North Central University and an M.A. in Exegetical Theology, magna cum laude, from Moody Theological Seminary. He is a sought-after Greek scholar for his ability to make God’s Word come alive from the Greek in a unique way. Chris is often invited to present Greek and hermeneutics workshops at Bible and ministry schools. He recently began working on his Ph.D. at the University of Wales, Bangor, in the area of Johannine literature, particularly the book of Revelation.
His previous books include the self-published Living as a Spirit: Hearing the Voice of God on Purpose, The 85 Questions You Ask When You Begin a Relationship with God, The Believer’s Journey, and Escaping the Haunting Past: A Handbook for Deliverance.
Read an Excerpt
Study 12: Immeasurable: Hyperballō; ὑπερβάλλω) And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might. (Ephesians 1:19)
Over the years, I’ve been privileged to travel to many lands and countries to preach the gospel. One of the best parts about this is experiencing the different cultures, particularly their food and cuisines. Meals are times of joy and jubilee, when the hosts go all out to make me feel at home.
This is especially true in Sicily. I’ve often joked with my Sicilian friends that eating is a full-time job there. Sicilians take pride in making sure you are well fed, and you’ll often hear them say, “Mangia” (eat) or “Mangia qualcosa” (eat something), even right after you’ve just eaten. Food is of the utmost importance there and the answer to many of life’s problems. I understand this because my grandparents were of Sicilian descent.
There’s a joke in Sicily about a young man with a guilty conscience who tells his mother, “Mama, I’ve robbed a bank.” She says, “Well, that’s not good.” Then, he says, “And I’ve stolen a car.” His mama says, “I see. That’s not good either.” Then he says, “And I haven’t eaten today.” And she jumps up from her seat and screams, “What! You haven’t eaten? What’s wrong with you!?”
I once invented a joke of my own that the Sicilians found funny. I said, “After studying God’s Word, I’ve discovered the disciples of Jesus were Sicilian.” They looked perplexed. While they were still scratching their heads, I had them turn to John 4:31, which says, “Meanwhile the disciples were urging him [Jesus], saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’” I think that joke has been making its way around Italy ever since.
Needless to say, there’s never been a time when I’ve been disappointed with mealtimes. I’ve been to Sicily twelve times and I can’t think of one instance when I didn’t have more than enough food placed before my eyes. I will never forget the first meal I had in Sicily. It was on a Sunday afternoon after church. I was told we were going to have “a little something” before dinner that evening. They brought out course after course after course. I was stuffed to the gills before the main course even arrived¾and this wasn’t even dinner.
My translator told me later, “Chris, the Sicilians go all out for every meal. You are never going to survive if you try eating everything.” If I’ve learned anything about the wonderful Sicilian people over the years, it’s that they don’t mess around when it comes to food: it’s always going to be over and above, more than enough, and plenty left afterwards.
The apostle Paul talks about God’s power this way in Ephesians 1:19. Here, Paul was sharing with his church in Ephesus what he prays for them. He tells them that he prays they will know the hope that God has called them to and the riches of God’s “glorious inheritance in the saints” (verse 18).
The hope that God called us to represents the beginning of the Christian life. While we did call upon God to be saved (see Romans 10:13), He first called us. He called us to belong to Christ and have a new life free from sin, to be holy and separate from the world, and be part of God’s celestial family.
The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints alludes to the end of the Christian life. It is our total inheritance, which we will receive when the fullness of time comes. Until then, we are waiting for it with patience. In short, verse 18 speaks about the beginning and end of the Christian life.
At present, we find ourselves in the middle. Our Christian life has taken off, but we have yet to receive the totality of God’s promises. As we make our way toward receiving this final inheritance, we find our path strewn with all sorts of challenges, difficulties, and suffering. To push us past these and over the goal line, God has given us His power—“what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.”
The Greek word for “immeasurable” is hyperballō. It is a two-part Greek word that comes from: hyper (above, over, beyond, more than) and ballō (to throw or cast). It literally meant to “throw beyond” or “surpass.” Over time, it came to express other means of excessiveness such as outbidding someone at an auction, extreme heat from a fire, unbearable pain, and the intense brightness of stars. Hence, it was a word used for something that stood out, excelled the norms, and went beyond the standard amount.
The idea in this Scripture is that God supplies an over-and-above ration of His power to help us overcome the obstacles and challenges we face so we can receive the full inheritance promised to us. Not just a little, just enough, or even more than enough, but an over-and-above, highly excessive amount, like a meal in Sicily. We can stuff ourselves with God’s power and never come close to exhausting it. It’s all around us and is ours for the taking. And we aren’t to be stingy with it because there is enough to go around and plenty to take home.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can tap into this smorgasbord of power. The way Paul tapped into it: through prayer. When you come into prayer, you stand before a banquet table that is heaped with everything you could possibly need to overcome your troubles. And you are free to take.
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.
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?
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.
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.
About the Author
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 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.
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
Lot’s Daughters & A Levite’s Concubine: Abused
Two Tamars: Rejected
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!”