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review 2019-09-22 10:00
Letters From Jesus Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book


Book: Letters from Jesus

Author: Chris Palmer

Genre: Religion / Biblical Studies/History & Culture

Release Date: September 10, 2019

“In Revelation 2:2, Jesus tells the church in Ephesus something intimate—Google Street View intimate. He says, ‘I know your works’ (Oida ta erga sou). Four words don’t seem like much, but in the Greek, it packs a punch.… Jesus chooses the Greek word oida, which expresses total, comprehensive knowledge. It is intimate knowledge that comes from being up close and personal. This knowledge isn’t hazy on the details. It doesn’t struggle to remember. It preserves the particulars. In the mind’s eye, everything is sharp and clear, like a well-taken photograph.” —Chris Palmer

Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation explores Christ’s warnings to the seven most prominent churches in Asia Minor in the book of Revelation. These letters date back to 95 A.D., but they help us make a fascinating discovery about civilization: life hasn’t changed that much over the last two millennia. Author Chris Palmer illustrates the truths contained in the Letters from Jesus using modern, everyday day examples. The host of the popular podcast Greek for the Week, he unpacks Greek words and phrases in these verses from Revelation with humor, joy, and biblical scholarship.

Why study Greek, even just a little bit? As Chris explains, looking at the New Testament in the original language in which it was written can offer us some beautiful insights into God’s Word. “It’s like reading the Bible in high definition,” he says. Also, “studying God’s Word in the original language forces us to approach it with reverence and awe, humbling ourselves to obey what it says, whether it’s something we want to hear or not.”

Click HERE for your copy.

About the Author


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.
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/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 in a unique way from the Greek. Chris is often invited to present Greek and hermeneutics workshops at Bible and ministry schools. He recently began working on his Ph.D. at University Wales, Bangor, in the area of Johannine Literature, particularly the book of Revelation.
His previous self-published books include Living as a Spirit: Hearing the Voice of God on Purpose, The 85 Questions You Ask When You Begin a Relationship with GodThe Believer’s Journey, and Escaping the Haunting Past: A Handbook for Deliverance.

More from Chris


Experience the Bible in high definition and learn some Greek with fun, easy lessons from pastor/scholar Chris Palmer.

My Review


As someone who majored in English literature, I have always had an affinity for languages. I took four semesters of Latin in college because of how much this ancient language undergirds English etymology. Similarly, ancient Greek holds an appeal, although I have never studied it. As soon as I heard about Chris Palmer’s “Letters From Jesus”, I requested a review copy, and I am definitely glad that I did. Although I needed to read through this book more quickly in order to post a review, it is best to proceed slowly and take time to absorb the gems of knowledge therein.

Focusing on the first three chapters in the Biblical book of Revelation, “Letters From Jesus” examines the seven churches and how the original Greek language informs the text. This, in turn, enhances our understanding of Jesus’ message to each church and how we can and should apply them to our own lives today. One of many interesting things that I learned while reading was how “the seven spirits of God represent seven functions of the Holy Spirit that make up His fullness”. Palmer hones in on a different area of study for each church, dividing them into sections within the book. The church at Ephesus concentrates on love; Smyrna, endurance; Pergamum, worldview; Thyatira, holiness; Sardis, the Holy Spirit; Philadelphia, Christian living; and Laodicea, faithfulness. Something that stood out to me was that several of these are fruits of the Spirit.

Revelation is a book that speaks of the future and the coming of the Lord’s kingdom here on earth, and while that in itself is enough to make it undoubtedly pertinent, Palmer points out many other facts that demonstrate that God’s Word is truly living and active. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, which was the language of the everyday man, emphasizing that the Gospel was not and is not only for the upper class but rather for ALL people. Indeed, reading Palmer’s analyses is insightful and truly drives home the point that we are in a daily battle against evil and the enemy of our souls. In response to someone wondering where God was when a horrific event occurred, Palmer says that “God puts up with evil so people have a chance to repent and be saved. Until the time of judgment comes, God will be patient and forbearing. Meanwhile, Satan will continue to stir up evil to make the world hateful toward Christ”. This is why it is so important for us as Christians to remain steadfast in our faith and to keep the light of Jesus burning strongly within us. Today’s cultural ethos “will let you keep moving further and further from the Lord without ever saying a word” because the focus is always on you and what is best for you, whereas Jesus will tell us what areas in our lives need to change in order for us to be aligned with His will and to receive His priceless gift of eternal life.

Intended as a weekly devotional, “Letters From Jesus” contains 52 relatively short chapters. Each opens with a Scripture verse followed by the Greek with a few corresponding words highlighted. A personal, contemporary introduction leads into the situation of the church that is being discussed, with bonus information in blue boxes. Then there is both a prayer and an activity for the week, followed by a list of six Scriptures to explore each week. Endnotes are included and are almost exclusively relating to Greek grammar for the word and language lovers among us. I did notice editing errors throughout the book, but although it is not marked as such, my hardcover copy may be an ARC. I hope that the Kindle edition includes hyperlinks to the Scripture passages at the end of the chapters for easier reference. Regardless, I highly recommend this enlightening book, particularly for those interested in Greek and for group studies, but also for intrepid individuals endeavoring to better understand the letters to the seven churches and how they apply to us.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 14

The Power of Words, September 15

Through the Lens of Scripture, September 16

Godly Book Reviews, September 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 19

My Devotional Thoughts, September 20

Mary Hake, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 21

For the Love of Literature, September 22

Retrospective Spines, September 23

Texas Book-aholic, September 24

A Reader’s Brain, September 25

A Diva’s Heart, September 25

janicesbookreviews, September 26

Inklings and notions , September 27




To celebrate his tour, Chris is giving away a grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card, copy of LETTERS FROM JESUS, copy of HEBREW WORD STUDY!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


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review 2019-09-08 10:00
Waiting for God Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book


Book: Waiting for God

Author: Xochitl Dixon

Genre: Non-Fiction, Devotional

Release Date: August 7, 2019

Inhale God’s Word. Exhale in prayer. Rest in God’s love.

If your heart is weary and longing for answers—for healing, for provision, for miracles—Waiting for God renews your hope with strong biblical truth and encouraging Scripture-based prayer.

Conquer your fears and frustrations as you inhale God’s Word, exhale in prayer, and rest in God’s love. Live a life of deeper connection and immediate communion with God that can lead to contentment in His constant presence, no matter what your days hold or how long God’s deliberate delays may last.

Xochitl Dixon writes each chapter with heart-touching transparency and vulnerability, as she shares her own story as well as the stories of others who are trusting God through waiting seasons with no apparent end in sight. As a woman who lives with chronic pain, Xochitl understands constant struggle yet chooses to put God on the throne of her life. 
Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Author


Xochitl (So-Cheel) E. Dixon has a heart for loving God and people. She’s passionate about intercessory prayer, nurturing spiritual growth, and the prayerful study and application of Scripture. Through her daily struggles with chronic pain, due to an upper back injury she endured in 1992, she writes with transparency, ministers to the hurting, and inspires hope through worshiping God in all circumstances.
She serves as a regular contributor to Our Daily Bread (www.odb.org), a ministry devoted to making “the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all.” Her devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace (Discovery House Publishers) is available for pre-order and releases August 7, 2019. She is a contributing author for the upcoming Our Daily Bread devotionals: What Really Matters (August 7, 2019), And He Walks with Me (October 2, 2019), and Moments of Peace for Moms (October 2, 2019).
Her devotions have also been included in All God’s Creatures (Guideposts, 2019), God Hears Her (Discovery House, 2017), Our Help (Discovery House, 2017), and This Far by Faith: Legacies of the Black Church (Discovery House, 2017). Her nonfiction has been published in My Amazing Mom (Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2018), Second-Chance Dogs (Revell, 2018), LIVE Magazine (2019), and Church Health Reader (2019).
She followed God from California to Wisconsin and is enjoying Midwest adventures with her best friend and husband of over 25 years, Dr. W. Alan Dixon, Sr. She loves their sons, A.J. and Xavier, spoils her service dog, Callie, and likes serving as a speaker, traveling, photography, reading, singing, sketching, studying Scripture, and nurturing authentic relationships.
Xochitl connects with readers and shares encouragement devotions, prayer, and Scripture-based memes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog at www.xedixon.com. You can also follow her Author Page on Amazon’s Author Central.

More from Xochitl 


"Never pray for patience."


My friend’s warning pricked at the back of my mind. Without realizing it, I began lacing my prayers with fear, doubt, and caution. I couldn’t risk being thrust into situations that would force me to develop patience, so I did everything in my power to avoid asking the Lord to help me be patient.


But even when I didn’t ask Him to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in me, I always seemed to end up in circumstances that stretched my faith as much as my patience.


When my agent challenged me to write the book I had to write, I pitched Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.


I thought I’d be sharing tips about how to persevere through trials and endure suffering with grace. But after I signed the contract and received a deadline for my manuscript, my husband received an unexpected job offer.


We followed the Lord from California to Wisconsin.


Writing became a challenge as I suffered a setback in my healing journey. I endured high levels of pain and fatigue. My husband and I struggled with frustration as we adjusted to life in the Midwest during one of the coldest winters in history.


And God changed my perspective on waiting for Him, which has nothing to do with patience.


I’ll be sharing my answers to the end-of-chapter questions on my blog (www.xedixon.com). I’m excited to invite you to join the adventure.


I look forward to growing with you as we wait for God, inhaling His Word, exhaling in prayer, and resting in His love as we trust daily in His plan and pace.


My Review


“Hurry up and wait!” With unknown origins but generally attributed to the American military, this phrase encapsulates contemporary culture. Always bustling, stampeding through life at a pace often well above the safe speed limit and bemoaning any red lights we encounter along the way. We want what we want, when we want it. Manifest destiny, right? The American Dream. Have it all, do it all, be it all—on our own timeline, of course. We are not usually patient people; I know I’m not. I try, but far too frequently I fall short and haste reigns. It’s the waiting that trips us up. It’s also the waiting that offers us peace and fortitude.

When I began reading Xochitl Dixon’s “Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace”, I knew that the timing was God-ordained. I just didn’t realize how much so. It dovetailed nicely with my previous read, “Obedience Over Hustle” by Malinda Fuller. Trust is something I’m really focusing on in my faith walk this year. Some days are better than others. This week has fallen into the “others” category. Sometimes the thing we wait for takes us by surprise and turns us upside down, even when we were expecting it. The day after I began “Waiting for God”, one of my very dearest friends and sisters in Christ went home to be with Jesus. We bonded over shared chronic illnesses, and in the short four-and-a-half years that we knew each other, we prayed expectantly for healing. The Lord worked in miraculous ways in her life, bringing her back from the valley of the shadow on multiple occasions. This last crisis was different, though, and in my heart I knew that the time had come for her to meet Jesus face-to-face.

As I slowly read through “Waiting for God”, my mind hazy with a mixture of grief and joy, the devotionals ministered to my heart. I have had my own seemingly long period of waiting, now over seven years into chronic illness life with a body that fails more each year, and waiting is not on my list of favorite pastimes. You know that a book is written through the power of the Holy Spirit when each Scripture cited speaks to you personally and you find yourself continuously highlighting quotations from the book itself. One of my favorites early on was: “When we focus on living for God, like Joseph, we can accept everything that occurs during the wait as an opportunity to grow closer to Him and others.” That’s what it’s all about! Learning to rely upon God completely, and to look beyond the superficial shell of our trials to see the pearls growing within.

Living with multiple chronic illnesses, some days it can be so difficult to see life from the lens of eternity, the way that God does. Our suffering seems to go on forever, and eternal life with the Lord seems so far away. We know that one day all of our suffering will end, yet that one day can seem terribly long in coming. This quotation from the book offers a new insight: “Living by faith one day at a time is of greater value than recounting the number of days we’ve been hurting or trying to figure out how much longer we’ll have to endure our trials.” Indeed, “He promises peace, even when we don’t experience relief from our suffering on this side of eternity.” Our part is to accept it! In order to do so, we must surrender to Him, which is a recurrent theme in “Waiting for God.”

With a devotional format, “Waiting for God” can be read straight through or on a daily basis. Each chapter opens with “Today’s Truth” and a Bible reading, which in the Kindle version is a hyperlink that conveniently takes you to the Scripture online. Each chapter ends with an Inhale, which is a relevant verse from Scripture, and an Exhale in the form of a prayer. There are also 3-4 discussion questions that are relative to what is currently going on in your life and can therefore be re-explored with each read-through. This is a book to be savored, and one that I would recommend for anyone at any point in their life’s journey. Personal stories drive home the point that we all need to be growing in our relationship with the Lord, regardless of what our waiting looks like and whether we are experiencing a mountaintop zenith or a valley nadir.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 2

April Hayman, Author, September 3

Genesis 5020, September 4

A Diva’s Heart, September 4

Through the Lens of Scripture, September 5

AndreaChristenson, September 6

Kelly Harrel, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

For the Love of Literature, September 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 9

Just the Write Escape, September 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 11

Texas Book-aholic, September 12

A Reader’s Brain, September 13

janicesbookreviews, September 13

Inklings and notions, September 14

Cultivating Us, September 15

God is Love, September 15




To celebrate her tour, Xochitl is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Waiting for God, and a copy of God Hears Her (Our Daily Bread 365-Day Devotional)!!

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


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review 2019-09-03 10:00
Chronic Love by Brooke Bartz: Book Review and GIVEAWAY Link!
Chronic Love: Trusting God While Suffering with A Chronic Illness - Bartz, Brooke

“Chronic Love” captured my attention because of its subtitle: “Trusting God While Suffering with a Chronic Illness”. For the past seven and a half years, since age 24, I have been battling chronic illness, and one diagnosis follows another in a domino effect as my body continues to fail me. It wasn’t until this year that I truly accepted that despite treatments, beaucoup medications, and natural remedies, my body was not going to get better in the physical sense. The goal is to have the best quality of life possible while acknowledging that I will always be disabled. Having “invisible” disabilities makes life more challenging because people assume you are well and don’t understand why you can’t do things or go places. On the other end of the spectrum are those who blame you for your illness and insist that you are sick because your faith is not strong enough or because God is angry with you. This year I have endeavored to stop waiting for my conditions to improve and really persist in glorifying God more than ever in spite of the pain and symptoms, so this book was a very timely read.

Brooke Bartz specifically addresses chronically ill women in “Chronic Love”, although the Scriptures and writing easily apply to everyone. Those of us with chronic illness are always hoping for a panacea, which the medical field just can’t provide. However, something that we often overlook is that if we belong to the Lord, we already have the cure! “If you are in Christ, you have the healing most people don’t. Living life on this earth healthy but without Christ proves the fatal disease.” Along with that, there are many other gems in this book. Each chapter employs the adjective “chronic” affixed to a Christian concept, upending the negative connotation of the word and demonstrating how Christ’s character and example show us how to live no matter the state of our physical condition. As Bartz reminds us, “[t]o have physical health but no salvation is the most fatal and terminal disease of all.” For those of us who are in Christ, we have the assurance that we will enter His kingdom whole and complete, and that one day He will give us resurrection bodies. Even a human lifetime of suffering cannot compare to a glorious, pain-free eternity with Christ!

Two of the main points that “Chronic Love” makes are that suffering makes us like Christ and also increases our dependence on God. Something that struck me while reading was that when we bemoan our condition we are actually hurting God because we are going against His will for us; we know that He uses all things for our good and for His glory if we are His children (Romans 8:28). Like Job, we may never know why we have chronic illnesses, but we can trust that our Savior knows and that He helps us to endure. He may choose to bring us healing, or He may not, and either way, we need to trust Him and rely on Him alone.

This is a book that is suitable for either personal or group study. At the end of each chapter are detail and main idea questions about the chapter’s contents as well as a prayer. “Chronic Love” overflows with Scripture verses and an abundance of encouragement and affirmation for women in all stages of illness. While this is written in a conversational language that is easy to read, it took me several days to finish it because I found myself wanting to savor and ponder the Bible verses and the author’s perspective. My only complaint is that the author tends to state the same phrase of a Bible verse followed immediately by the Bible verse itself in the same terms, which becomes very repetitious, instead of paraphrasing first. If you or a loved one suffer from chronic illness or are a caregiver for someone who does, “Chronic Love” will minister to your heart and soul and give you strength for the journey.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through JustRead Publicity Tours and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Purchase your copy HERE.


Chronic Love is on tour with Just Read Publicity Tours from September 3-7, 2019. Visit the LAUNCH PAGE to see the full list of stops!





One winner will receive a print copy of Chronic Love, a Chronic Love T-shirt, a Chronic Love coffee mug, a copy of Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges and the workbook Trusting God Even When Life Hurts




Giveaway begins at midnight on September 3, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 10, 2019. Winners will be notified within two weeks of the close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of the prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses are valid. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

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review 2019-08-30 17:53
Trust and Obey
Obedience Over Hustle: The Surrender of the Striving Heart - Malinda Fuller

Back in first grade, we had to design a T-shirt about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to be a writer. That dream got sidetracked for a few years during and after high school, and although I thought I was working toward my career goals, God had other plans. Less than a year after graduating from college I started having health issues, and before long I became chronically ill with a laundry list of conditions that grows with each passing year. I kept stubbornly waiting for healing, and it wasn’t really until this year that I accepted that I am likely not going to get better, although of course nothing is impossible with God! In the meantime, I had started writing book reviews, as I have always been an avid reader, and several doors opened. I don’t get paid, but I do get free books, which is a bibliophile’s dream! As I commit to reviewing more and more books, of which the vast majority are specifically Christian, I realize that out of pain and loss God has brought me back to the dream that He planted in my heart as a young child, allowing me to glorify Him through reading and writing. I do not have a big following on social media, but I do have the contentment of knowing that I am doing what the Lord created me to do, and that I am hopefully planting seeds that He will water and grow.

This encapsulates much of the message of Malinda Fuller’s “Obedience Over Hustle” and is partly why this book resonated with me so strongly. The book is divided into two segments: “Confronting the Hustle” and “Choosing Obedience.” As Fuller points out, our culture builds itself around doing more, being more, beating out the competition and being at the top. While I’ve never been very competitive, I am a perfectionist, so I am always striving. Being chronically ill has added another layer to this, as there are many things that I can no longer do, so I push myself harder in those things that I can do. Reading this book, I realized that this is hustling, and that while society promotes it, God doesn’t. “Hustling is chasing after a goal at any cost. It’s the pushing that comes from a heart focused on what others have and what others are doing, rather than choosing contentment and listening for the voice of God.” That’s the crux of the issue: hustling is about what “I” can do, rather than about working with God and relying on Him.

On the other side of the coin is obedience. In order to be obedient, we have to acknowledge that God is in control, and often it isn’t easy to hand over the reins to our lives. We want things to happen in our way and according to our schedule, but submitting to God “means that we surrender not only to His plan but also to His timeline”. We have to acknowledge that His ways are always best and that He is sovereign. If we are walking with Him, we can expect Him to ask us to do things that are outside of our comfort zone and that seem to fly in the face of reason. Think of Joseph, Noah, and Moses, and so many others from the Bible. Obedience is “living with the knowledge that His opinion is the only one that matters and that seeking Him first is a command worth following.” What He calls us to do won’t be in accordance with popular opinion and what the world tells us, but what blessings flow forth when we obey!

“Obedience Over Hustle” has an interactive framework. Most chapters open with an account of a Biblical character demonstrating either hustling or obedience, with contemporary examples of obedient women throughout the chapters. At the end of both segments, divided into and corresponding to the chapters, are questions to discuss, journal about, or ponder, as well as Scripture verses to look up. This is therefore ideal for both group and individual study, and while it is geared toward women, I think that it would be appropriate for men as well. We all need to learn how to slow down and obey God more fully!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2019-06-04 03:54
I Dare You!
The God Dare: Will You Choose to Believe the Impossible? - Kate Battistelli

Kate Battistelli, author of “The God Dare”, is the mother of Grammy Award-winning artist Francesca Battistelli, who writes a foreward for this book. Kate puts together a work of love that challenges the reader to put feet to their faith and to trust God through every circumstance and season of life. The God Dare comes when God calls us to step out of our comfort zone and do something that will bring Him glory, something that the world needs and that we are specially equipped to provide. Because a God Dare is not something that we could ever accomplish in our own strength, but rather would be impossible without God’s providing and intervention. When we step out in faith and wholeheartedly pursue whatever God is calling us to, we can rest assured that He will provide for us and make a way forward.

Throughout “The God Dare”, Battistelli explores familiar Biblical figures and their God Dares. These are people who ultimately changed history because they responded affirmatively to God’s call. One of the beautiful facts about their journeys is that each was beset with hardships, some self-inflicted and some not, which provides inspiration and hope for our own God Dares. We can learn from their examples, knowing that “God calls us according to our destiny, not our history,” so no one can be disqualified! The retelling of these Biblical stories dovetails well with the personal experiences which Battistelli shares, emphasizing both a Biblical basis and a continual working of God among us today.

Arranged with an engaging format, this book is useful for both individuals and groups. It can even be used as a devotional study. Each chapter ends with “Scriptures to Think About”, “God Dare Secrets” that summarize the chapter’s content, and “Discussion Questions” that challenge readers to truly immerse themselves in the Word of God. There is quite a bit of repetition throughout the book, but this does help to reinforce the stories and ideas, and I appreciated that Jeremiah 29:11 appears many times. I did have one bone of contention with regard to the section on Job, because I do not believe that God Himself takes away, but that rather He allows the enemy to take things away from us, ultimately for our good and His glory. I would recommend this book to those searching for their place in the world and to those who are doubting, especially those who have dealt with infertility, miscarriage, or abortion.      

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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