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

Famous Last Words

Words can be golden.  Movies can be identified by a memorable quote and songs by a few lyrics.  For the most part words are remembered whether for good or for bad.

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What would you say to someone if you knew it was the very last time the two of you would speak?  What would your last words be?  Facebook and social media are filled with nonsensical posts of quizzes designed to tell you which type of flower or animal you are.  They are also overflowing with venomous attacks on people we personally do not know.  That’s correct, politicians.  The colorful adjectives used are appalling.

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Petty arguments and grudges can slither their way into relationships and do irrevocable damage.  The hurtful last words spoken are forever engraved upon hearts.  Those hearts are left broken and yearning for healing.   Forgiveness withheld robs us of years of happy times and memories.  Perhaps “I’m sorry” are words that are long overdue to someone.  It would be devastating to miss that opportunity.

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What legacy do you want your words to leave?  If you knew you were having the last conversation with a friend or family would it change your words and tone?  Life changes everyday, and tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Scripture tells us not to let the sun set on our anger but to make amends.

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Me?  What would I say?  I would not waste my breath on small talk, but rather go straight to the things that I wanted my family or friend to understand.  Wouldn’t you?  Treasured memories would be shared as we relived them once again.  Yes, I would apologize for any wrong that I had done or they felt I had.  Perception is real to the beholder.  Most importantly, I would give forgiveness and love.

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When I speak to my parents, children, and best friend the last thing I say to them is I love you.  Three little words that mean so much.  Those words should chase away any doubt they might have if they were loved.  Absolutely, whole heartedly, and forever they are loved.  I would make sure they knew that God loved them, too.

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My words for you are that you, too, know you are eternally, unequivocally loved by your Creator.  The Bible overflows with verses verifying this.  Never doubt it, even in times of turmoil.   Call to Him  and let His love fill you and give you peace.

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It would be wonderful if we had the foresight to know when we were speaking to someone for the last time.   Since we don’t, the next best thing is to temper our words with love and speak as if those were our last words.  Let’s make all of our words be worthy of being famous last words.

Jesus’s Temper versus Ours

We are all self-quarantined at home with this Covid19 pandemic.  Emotions are on a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Tempers are quick to flare. Our descendants will read about this in history books.  How are you spending your time, and how are you maintaining your temper?

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  After Jesus arrived in Jerusalem did you ever wonder how he spent His final week in ministry?  On Monday He taught His disciples a parable about faith when He cursed a fig tree that did not produce fruit. Do you remember that one?

They had been out walking and were hungry when they saw a fig tree with many leaves.  After they looked for the fruit, none could be found. It was barren. Jesus cursed it, and when they came back to it had shriveled up and died.   Scholars believe the tree being cursed represents God’s judgment on those that are spiritually dead.

Jesus was comparing the tree to the whole nation of Israel because it had become spiritually barren before the Lord.  It no longer produced fruit.  The people knew their  religion but did not live it.  They knew the correct words, but their hearts were away from God.

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This story of what Jesus also did might be more familiar.  Jesus also went into the temple and cleared it out of the dishonest money changers.  This time He was mad.  He had enough.  They were cheating people and making a mockery of the temple.  Jesus went through overturning tables and saying: “Scripture says ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer’, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” He drove the money changers and their animals out restoring order and respect.

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What has stayed with me about this story for many years is that Jesus stopped and braided a whip so that He could think about what He was going to do before just charging into the temple.  He didn’t fly off the handle but took time to think about the situation. Maybe He prayed.  I would imagine He did.

How about you when you become angry?

“So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” John 2:15

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Could you do this? I can’t tell you how many times I have flown off the handle in anger. Acted quickly without thinking things through.  My family calls that having a “short fuse”   because it does not take long to explode after the anger is lit.

Jesus is not like this. His righteous indignation toward what was happening in the temple was just. It needed to be done. He waited to think clearly and make certain it was done correctly.  How many times have I wished that I had done things like that?  Many! What do you do when you are angry?  How do you react?

Jesus had one week left with his disciples before his crucifixion and resurrection.  Everything was done in the right way without rushing.  In His time and in His way.  Even in a time of righteous anger He still slowed down and gave Himself time to cool off and think with a clear mind.  What a beautiful example for all of us.

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Hosanna! Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!

Happy Palm Sunday! Of all the Sundays before Easter throughout the years, this one will probably be the most memorable.  Never in my lifetime did I expect the church doors to be closed for any reason, but now they are. You know what?  Since it has happened now, we are all still able to worship at home with most of our churches and a plethora of others.  Our souls will not starve.  We have a buffet before us.

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Today hundreds of years ago, Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. Scripture tells us that Jesus rode into the city on a young donkey. The streets were lined with people who threw clothes and palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage and respect. This was what people did for kings. They were treating Jesus like royalty. Using palm branches symbolized peace and victory. Jesus was coming in peace, triumphantly. The crowd of people shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.”

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This Palm Sunday we need to claim peace and victory in His name.  Amen.  Wave those palm branches high!  Did you know the Bible tells us “Do not fear” three hundred and thirty five times?  Wow!  One time for each day of the year.  Not only does He tell us not to fear or be afraid, but He has placed it in our spirit.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy 1:7.

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Let’s be Warriors and not Worriers.  In Matthew 6:34  it says “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  So how do you become a Warrior?  Read your scripture and pray.  Put on the armor of God.

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Pandemic has cast a black cloud on this planet, but the bright glorious Light from God shines through it.  Use good judgment and don’t lose hope.  We are entering the celebration of Holy Week, the anniversary of the events the week before Jesus went to the cross and victoriously arose.  Grab your palm branches and prepare for peace and victory.  Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

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Create in Me a Clean Heart

Does it take you some time to get your house ready for an important guest?  Maybe someone of importance is coming over or someone you love tremendously and you want everything to be perfect.  I know for me it takes days to prepare.  Things that are usually skipped are squeaky clean.  My oven sparkles like new even though no one is going to open the door to check.  Sound familiar?

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The same is true for getting our heart, soul, and mind prepared for Easter.  This time of preparation is called Lent and begins today on Ash Wednesday.  This is the first day many people from something.  It can be a food or drink such as candy or coffee, but it also could be a bad habit such as gossiping or complaining.

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Lent is a time of reflection and self sacrifice.  We deny ourselves or give something up to remind ourselves of what Jesus gave up for us.  Ours is a small token compared to the suffering and torture endured by Jesus.  Scripture tells us that when we fast it should be between us and God.  We shouldn’t boast about it.

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Lent is a time to draw close to God, to worship Him, and to repent of our wrongdoings.  Like Spring it is a time of newness.  We get rid of our dirt and cleanse ourselves with God’s help.  Ask Him to help us have a clean heart.  On Easter we celebrate our rebirth, our new selves.  Hopefully our transformation will last.

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I hope you have an amazing Lenten Season as you prepare yourself for Easter and the beautiful gift of salvation the  Lord has for anyone that just asks.  He is such a gracious, loving Father.  If you don’t know Him, I urge you to contact a minister and find out more.  He is so worth it.

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Words for 2020

As I begin each new year, God gifts me with a word or two for that year.  Do you have a word for your year, also?  It becomes something to ponder and work on making or doing better.

In the past I have had family, hope, victory, and other words.  For 2020 my words, there are two, are pray and love.  I was totally surprised.  God will reveal in His time why He gave me each word.  I might not even know until the end of the year when all of the pieces fall into place.  What I do know is that for this year I will make a concentrated effort to pray more and love better.

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Where do you get your word

People have asked me how to get a word for the year.  Since it comes from God the first step is to pray for one.  Then listen and look.  I hear Him gently whisper my word to me.  My best friend is inundated with her word.  She sees and hears it multiple times after praying so it is hard to miss.

What to do with your word

I find it a place to start working, a goal for the year.  Let’s take my word pray.  In an earlier blog I challenged readers to pray for twenty people this year.  I am taking extra time for intercessory prayer.  Everyday I read prayer requests on Facebook or have a phone call requesting it.  Honestly it did not take long to list twenty people.

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My family is always on my list.  Their safety, health, Walk or salvation are prayed for daily.  I pray for my grandchildren, nieces, and nephews everyday, too.  Asking God to watch over their future spouse is another prayer of mine.  When we pray there is no limit to what we can bring to the Father.

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Love is my other word.  I am praying about the significance of this word for me.  Perhaps I do not love my enemies and just think I do.  There are so many types of love that I need to refresh my memory and read up on them.

Jesus has called us to love.  In Matthew 22:36-39 it says: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  That is pretty simple.  Love is what we need to do.  Right?

What is your word

I would love to hear your word if you received one for this year.  Please tell me so that I can pray for you as you learn from it.  Let’s make 2020 a year of learning, doing things for the Lord, and helping each other.  Are you in?

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