Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Jesus Bible, NIV

I received a complimentary copy of The Jesus Bible, NIV from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest and objective review. I can honestly say, I love this Bible and so does my 10 year old son.

This Bible is designed for kids ages 9-12 and it is definitely designed well for that age range. It is hardcover Bible which is great for kids to carry around without ripping it. The design is simple but “cool” for a kids Bible.

It includes several great features to help kids see Jesus throughout the Bible. There are 365 devotions included, each with a short prayer at the end. Each book of the Bible begins with an introduction to the book which tells kids how Jesus can be found in that book.

There are also application notes called “Live Like Jesus” to help kids apply Biblical truths in their own lives. I also really like the “Hints of the Savior/Jesus Revealed” sections. This section highlights promises and prophesies made about Jesus in the Old Testament and tell you where they are fulfilled in the New Testament.

I would highly recommend this Bible but what do I know, I’m not a 9-12 year old kid. My son however had this to say about it. “Mom, when you finish reviewing that Bible, I’m going to read it from Genesis all the way to the very end”!! That statement tells me all I really need to know about it. If it encourages my son to read the word and gets him excited about it, that’s all that matters to me!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Trust, Joy, Miracles!

I have been incredibly blessed to get to know some fantastic women in Arkansas who spend countless hours sharing their lives online. Tell me what you want to know about, and I can probably find a woman in Arkansas who is blogging about it! Parenting, Marriage, Family, Food, DIY, Travel, and so much more!

One of the things I noticed at the beginning of the year was people sharing what their focus word was for the year. Different people may call it different things, but a focus word is a word that you are going to keep in front of you for the year. Something to help keep you focused on a goal you have or a habit you want to form (or get rid of). It isn’t really a new year’s resolution, but an effort to make your life better in some way this year.

Karen over at Tings Mom wrote about her word being less (Be sure to go read her post). Less stuff, less technology, less stress!! I could definitely latch onto that word too, but God has been putting different words in front of me.

Now that it’s the middle of February, I’m going to share my focus word(s) for this year (better late than never). There were three constant themes that kept recurring for me in January and I kept trying to decide on one to use as my focus word, but I just couldn’t shake any two of them. They all three are sticking.


Over and over again I am confronted with situations that have been overwhelming to me. Situations that I could not control and could not change. In the midst of that I kept hearing “trust me”. Sermons, songs, advice from friends all reminding me to keep trusting in the Lord and I will be ok. Trusting God is an ongoing journey for me. Not because I don’t have every reason to trust Him, but because it is a process of letting go of your human will and emotions and letting Him be in control.

 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

A friend of mine said a few weeks ago that her prayer for everyone this year is that their journey would be a journey of joy. I immediately said, count me in!! I haven’t shared my whole story on this blog and likely never will, but the last few years have been full of tears and sadness. I am ready for some joy in my life. This year I am going to seek out in my own life what it means to have the Joy of the Lord and for it to be complete.

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11 (NIV)

How many of you know that, as Christians, we serve a supernatural God? We serve a God who has the power to change situations and circumstances, but do we really believe that He can and will? I hear story after story of people being healed, delivered, and set free. I am ready to see myself and the people around me, be healed, delivered, and set free.

I know that God can and will, because He has done for so many people before me. I wrote a blog post a while back about this (you can read it here). Not only can we see miracles through the stories from the Bible, but people living and breathing and walking around today have amazing stories to tell.

This video is of Sister Martha Tennison preaching a mother’s day service in Adrian, Michigan. If you ever get a chance to hear her preach in person, don’t miss it! She will have you laughing and crying all at the same time and I promise you that you will leave changed in some way.

This entire message is on trust, but there is a story in this video that starts around 18:40 into it. It is a story she tells often of 16 red roses. I encourage you to watch the entire thing, but to get my point, at least skip ahead and listen to that story.

For Moses and the Israelites, the miracle was in the Red Sea. For Noah, the miracle was in the flood. For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the miracle was in the fire. For Lazarus, the miracle was in death. And for Missy, the miracle was in 16 red roses and a man she had never met before.

God is in the miracle working business, and I believe that if we trust Him we will see miracles happen this year!

For me this year is about trusting God completely, finding Joy in Him, and not only seeing the miracles happen, but by my trust and obedience, being able to be a part of other people's miracles.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Challenge to Obey and Encourage Obedience

Today has been quite an interesting day. In fact, I haven't had a day like this in quite a while. A day that has both challenged me and given me much to think about.

I had to go to Dallas for work, so I boarded a plane in Little Rock this afternoon and was on my way. The thought provoking moments began as soon as I hit the airport terminal, but those aren't the stories I want to tell today.

I flew on Southwest Airlines. If you have ever flown Southwest, you know that there are no assigned seats. They assign you a boarding order based on when you check-in for your flight. The first ones on the plane get the first choice of where to sit.

I was excited to see when I checked-in the day before online that I was in boarding group A and was 13th to board. I thought, "oh good, I can get a good seat". Well, we boarded the plane to find out that this flight was a connecting flight and was already VERY full when we boarded. I ended up going almost all the way to the back of the plane but I at least found an aisle seat.

There was a lady sitting next to the window on the row I sat on and that left a middle seat empty. As the flight attendants came over the speaker they told those still trying to board that only middle seats were left so please just take a seat in one of those. Two ladies who were flying together were trying to sit close to each other. One of them asked me if I would move to the middle seat (her friend was sitting across the aisle). Because just the idea of confrontation, especially with strangers makes me anxious, I obliged and moved to the middle seat.

The lady sitting next to the window leaned over and said, "that was very kind of you, but you didn't have to do that". I smiled, and said, "oh, it's ok". That started a conversation and I really enjoyed talking with this lady on the flight. Turns out, she was a flight attendant for Southwest and was returning to Dallas after working the last three days. I was delighted when she spoke of going to church in the morning and of listening to K-Love while she traveled. 

At the end of the flight as we were descending, the lady sitting in the aisle's phone rang. She pulled her phone out of her purse to see who was calling. Here is the conversation that followed between the off duty flight attendant sitting by the window and the lady sitting in the aisle.
  • Window Seat: "ma'am, your phone should be on flight mode or turned off". 
  • Aisle Seat: "really"? 
  • Window Seat: "yes, you should have put it on flight mode when we took off in Little Rock". 
  • Aisle Seat: (gave a dirty look and slid her phone back in her purse) "well, thank you". 
The lady in the window seat leaned over and said to me, "I guess it doesn't matter that she could cause the plane to crash, I guess she doesn't care about that". She proceeded to tell me that if she was working the flight, she would have done more, but that since she wasn't, she wouldn't make a scene.

This got me thinking. How many times do we live life like that? How many times do we do one of the following:
  1. Know what we are supposed to do, but don't do it. Know what God has asked us to do but we don't do it.
  2. When corrected, ignore the correction that is being given. When God reminds us what He has asked us to do, we ignore it or just straight up say "no".
  3. Look on someone else doing something that we know could hurt them and the people around them, but because we don't want to cause a scene, we don't do all that much about it.
Obviously, because I'm sitting here writing this post, the plane landed safely, but what if it hadn't? Had her phone caused any problems with the safe landing of that flight, it would have been due to the things above, her disobedience AND the off duty flight attendant not wanting to cause a scene.

Here is how this all challenged me, and my challenge to you. The next time you feel like your falling from the sky and your about to crash, take a good look at where you have been. Ask yourself if you have done anything in disobedience. Look to God to see what you need to do to make it right. And then be willing to obey what He tells you.

Also, if you are near people who are disobeying God and living life in a way that is detrimental to themselves and others, you have a responsibility to confront them in love. You won't always get results, but as followers of Christ, I don't think we can sit back and keep quiet when those around us are falling and crashing. Their wrong choices are not our burdens to carry (we can't live their life for them), but that doesn't mean that we should sit back and watch them crash without trying to help them.

Obedience isn't about what you can't do, it's about doing what God asks us to out of love to Him.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15

Obedience is an act of Love toward God. Encouraging obedience is an act of love toward each other.