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review 2020-06-25 04:00
I AM Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  I AM

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre:  Juvenile nonfiction, Bible stories

Release Date: 2016

Creator, Comforter, Healer, Friend. God’s names tell us who He is, what He is like, and what He does. This beautiful book covers 40 of the Bible’s many names and descriptive titles for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, including Jehovah Jireh, The Lord My Shepherd, Immanuel, Rabbi, and I AM.
 
Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. As they develop understanding of God’s character and His love for them, children will grow to know, love, and trust the great I AM more and more.
 
“Those who know your name put their trust in you.” –Psalm 9:10



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 Year and 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

 

 

You can often guess someone’s age by considering their name. Diane, for example, was popular in the 1950s, so . . . that tells you something about me.

But God’s personal name? Well, it’s ageless. Just like Him.

When Moses met God at the burning bush and received the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, he wasn’t exactly thrilled at first. He peppered God with questions, including, “When I tell the people that I met you here and you gave me this assignment, they’re going to want to know your name. What should I tell them?”

The Israelites had just about forgotten who the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was.

But God hadn’t forgotten them. Not at all. God told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. . . . Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).

I AM WHO I AM. I always have been. I will always be. I will never change.

Choosing a book title is rarely easy, and choosing a title for this book about the names of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit took a long time. I couldn’t be more grateful to the Tommy Nelson publishing team who developed and settled on the title I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God.

My prayer for every child who reads this book and every family that goes through the book together, and for myself: May we all grow mightily in our understanding of who God is and our relationship with Him! As Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name put their trust in you.”
 
 

My Review

 

From the moment I first opened Diane Stortz’s “I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God”, I knew that it was going to be spectacular. If you can, I recommend getting the hardcover version because the embossing on the front cover and the sparkling waves just can’t be conveyed on Kindle. There is a nice blue ribbon bookmark inside, as well. All of the pages are in full color and are gorgeously illustrated with figures and scenes that will appeal to young readers. The format is well-executed, with the book divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. For the former, the name of God is given in English and then Hebrew, with a pronunciation (which I found very useful), such as The Lord My Rock (Jehovah Tsuri), and for the New Testament, with a few exceptions, the English name is given, such as the Good Shepherd. This is followed by a Scripture verse and Bible story, noting which chapters of the Bible the story comes from; a key point; a What Does It Mean section that connects the story to kids’ experiences today; a brief prayer; other Scripture verses that explore the same theme; and a short What Happened Next paragraph that explains how God is working and how this story ties into the following one.

For a medium-length children’s book, “I AM” is a respectable compendium that highlights many of the main stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Some of those which are not directly focused on, such as Noah’s ark, are told in the What Happened Next sections. This is not a substitute for the Bible, nor is it meant to be, but rather a supplement that allows kids and their guardians to connect some of the many names of God with familiar Bible accounts. I learned new Hebrew names just reading it myself as an adult! Because it is a children’s book, the stories are naturally toned down and do not include all of the mature details, but they still demonstrate conflict and how God fights for us, as with David and Goliath and Daniel and the lion’s den. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to young readers and to families who are able to read it to their little ones.

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

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away  the grand prize package of signed copies of all three I AM books!!
 
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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text 2020-04-04 05:00
A People Chosen Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  A People Chosen

Author: Karen Engle

Genre:  Non – Fiction / Christian / Bible Study

Release Date: March, 2017

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



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


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

 

 

 

More from Karen

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Interview

 

What drew you to the time period that you write about?

 

The Lord put Israel on my heart about twelve years ago. It was out of nowhere, but the compulsion to study about Israel, the people, and the land was so strong I couldn’t deny it. I went to Israel for the first time in 2012, and that sealed the deal. My Bible went from black and white to technicolor. As I learned more and more about God’s plan for Israel and the nations, I was struck by how there was so much to learn from a biblical perspective but no clear Bible study to teach about it. After creating a 16-week curriculum for the college level student in my master’s program (which never was used because I don’t teach Bible at the university level), I realized God had outlined the Bible study for me through the creation of that curriculum. A People Chosen was half-written before I even put pen to paper.

 

I now have a deep love for the culture and context the Bible was written in and helping others to understand it better, too. I also have a passion for helping others to understand why what’s happening not only in the land today but around the world as God brings his Jewish people home is so important. He’s a promise-keeping God, and when he says he will “gather [the] again from all the nations where he scattered [them], he will do it—and is doing it in our day.



Describe your book in five words.

 

Biblical evidence of God’s faithfulness.



What is your favorite book?

 

Our Father Abraham by Marvin R. Wilson. I’ve read it five times and will read it again next year. It’s the most solid resource I’ve found for understanding the link between Judaism and Christianity, between the Old and the New Testament. It’s biblical and historical yet relevant.

 

 

Who is your biggest inspiration?

 

Carl Laney, one of my professors at Western Seminary and a fellow Israel-lover!

 

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

I prefer traditional books. I’m one of those weirdos who loves the feel of a book cover, the smell of the pages. I like to write in my books (I know, sacrilegious to some!) but it helps me remember important information I want to remember later. I listen to audiobooks, but only for pleasure. If I’m reading anything more academic, it’s a real, old-fashioned book.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of an Israel-themed basket: 6 copies of my book/Bible study A People Chosen, the movie The Hope on the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the book Your People Will Be My People, and a $25 gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-02-27 08:45
Vestige of Hope Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Vestige of Hope

Author: Sara Blackard

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: December, 2019

Does his future lie in the past?
 
Thrown out of his element into a time not his own, he must overcome his doubts to save the life he never knew he wanted.

Soldier, Hunter Bennet, is always in control…

…control of his missions.
…control of his life.
…control of his emotions.
 
Until he hesitates on an important mission, leaving a child orphaned. Chased by the demons of failure, he finds himself thrown back in time. Why has God called him here?
 
Viola Thomas’s idyllic life in the new state of Colorado is shattered when her father fails to return from his winter trapping trip in the Rocky Mountains and a man tumbles into her life from the future. Threats from an unwanted suitor who has pestered her for years jeopardize all she holds dear. Now she must trust a man from a world far from her own.
 
Hunter must reach through the shadows of doubt to save his future but in doing so will he fail in the most important mission of all?



Click HERE for your copy!

About the Author


I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember being able to hold a pencil. In elementary school, I had journals full of short stories and poetry. While it’s always been a passion of mine, I didn’t think I could write for a living until I told my kids their only limit is the limit they put upon themselves. With that little piece of encouragement, I had to obviously show them I was right. Now I’m enjoying the adventure of writing and diving into the publishing world. I love to write romantic stories full of adventure and weaved with God’s message of love.
 
Between school and my launch into authorship, I’ve been busy having and homeschooling five children, moving to the wilderness of Tok, Alaska, serving in different ministries, building a house ourselves, and purchasing multiple businesses.

More from Sara

 

I’ve always had a fascination with speculating on how I would react if I suddenly ended up in another time. Growing up, I’d daydream about finding myself in a field of heather in medieval Scotland, waking in the back of a wagon traveling across the prairie, or walking through the wilderness with the colonials. I loved reading and wanted desperately to jump into the scenes I experienced while turning the page of a cherished novel. Of course, there’s no real way a person can time travel, so my dreaming was just that, dreaming … or was it?

A few years ago, I was doing a Kid’s Club Bible lesson at the local school about Philip and the Ethiopian and had my mind blown. In that event, God transported Philip to a town about twenty miles away. It was like Scotty beaming Kirk up and placing him where he was needed. I’d read that story before, but for some reason skipped right over that little nugget of information. Now here’s the part that got my mind spinning, if God could move someone in the blink of an eye across miles, why couldn’t He move someone through time? Time travel was now not only feasible, but God revealed a greater depth of Himself to me.

My mind started exploding with a story of a family in the middle of Colorado at the cusp of its statehood. What would cause God to throw a person in the middle of the wilderness? What would it reveal about the journey each person had to take to find their identities in who God created them to be? Hours, months, and years passed as the characters and story grew until they spilled upon the computer screen in a river of words.

One small sentence tucked within the middle of Acts opened my heart to a new dimension of God’s magnitude and released the dream of writing I had buried within me. I love how God does that, opens the well deep in us, nurturing the desires hidden there to reveal bit by bit who we are in Him. With Him nudging me along, my childhood fantasy of becoming a writer and transporting people to another time and place has become a reality with my debut novel Vestige of Hope, the first book in the three-book series Vestige in Time. My prayer is that my writing shows the traces of hope God leaves in my reader’s own hearts and lives. I pray God will ignite passions as He reveals himself one small sentence at a time through His word.
 

My Review

 
An auspicious start to the Vestige in Time series by Sara Blackard, “Vestige of Hope” is a twist on the time traveler trope. Opening in the present day with Hunter, a US Army Delta Force officer on compulsory time off after a tragic outcome on a mission, his storyline very quickly merges with that of Viola Thomas and her sisters in 1877. The Thomases are anxiously awaiting the inexplicably-prolonged return of their father from the winter trapping season. When their paths merge, sparks fly in more ways than one.

I am not typically a fan of time travel stories or books that feature them, but I was pleasantly surprised by “Vestige of Hope.” Blackard manages to achieve the suspension of disbelief necessary for readers to enjoy this novel, while maintaining a realism that anchors her work firmly on the foundation of faith. Hunter begins this story with “his own demons of failure stalking just over his shoulder”, and as his faith matures he slowly comes to see beyond his failures to the realization that he is not meant to carry his burdens alone. Viola struggles to keep a positive outlook in her own situation, and having David stumble into her story opens her eyes and her heart to the beauty of miracles. She tells David, “I know God will bless you wherever He takes you, Hunter.” As the two grapple with their own obstacles to unashamed faith, God’s grace and mercy become ever more apparent. The lesson remains true for all of us: God is faithful, and He will take us through the storms of life, no matter how upending, in order to bring us closer to Him.

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

Blog Stops

 

Texas Book-aholic, February 26

For the Love of Literature, February 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 28

Betti Mace, February 29

Artistic Nobody, March 1 (Author Interview)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 2

Inklings and notions, March 3

For Him and My Family, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 5 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Pause for Tales , March 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 8

My Devotional Thoughts, March 9 (Author Interview)

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, March 10

 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour. Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of Vestige of Hope & Vestige of Legacy!!
 
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 2020-02-27 05:00
“When we search for manna in our life, we can see God’s hand, whether we are in want or plenty.”
In Want + Plenty: Waking Up to God's Provision in a Land of Longing - McDaniel, Meredith

Whether you are currently walking through the desert place or not, Meredith McDaniel’s “In Want + Plenty” will speak to your heart. Subtitled “Waking Up to God’s Provision in a Land of Longing”, it gets to the heart of the matter, because we are all longing for something, and the only One who can satisfy us is God Himself in the person of Jesus. This book is unique and interactive, taking readers through the book of Exodus on a journey to recognizing and drawing sustenance from God’s provision. The author’s compassionate heart and counseling background shine through and coalesce as she guides readers through the Israelites’ journey, which our own lives mirror in so many ways. This connection focuses on manna: that which God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness and that which we receive today. McDaniel explains that “God’s willingness to enter in and hear the hearts of his people is a form of manna. He is God and he does not owe us that gift of his presence, yet he offers it constantly.” Indeed, this is our blessed assurance, that “when we surrender to trusting Jesus and enter a relationship with him, recognizing him as the ultimate Manna in our life, we do find peace.” Regardless of our circumstances, God is always there, “making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).

“In Want + Plenty” has an integrative format perfect for either group or individual study. Its arrangement reminded me of a devotional. There are nine sections interspersed with questions for personal reflection, as well as re:story questions for journaling at the end of each section and a re:sound, a song meant to heal. Highlighted phrases throughout the text and quotations pulled from the text and placed in the margins appear in green and draw the reader’s attention to them while summarizing the valuable skills. Each section begins with an exploration of the Exodus journey, followed by personal stories from the author that are germane to the Biblical story and to the focus of that section. This is a great arrangement because it teaches how the Old Testament is still vitally important to our faith. Furthermore, “In Want + Plenty” demonstrates that our own journey through the desert will lead us, also, to a land of milk and honey if we accept the Manna that God sent for us in the person of Jesus.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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review 2020-02-26 01:24
Onward and Upward!
Saints: Becoming More Than "Christians" - Bevere, Addison

I'll be honest, when I first saw the cover of "Saints", I made the assumption that it would be a compendium of revered figures in Church history. Then I saw the subtitle, "Becoming More Than 'Christians'", and decided to investigate further. I was sufficiently intrigued to request it for review, and I am glad that I did! Rather than a tedious monologue, I discovered an engaging and stimulating call to return to our first love, Jesus. 

With "Saints", Addison Bevere sets forth a timely exegesis of what that term actually means within the Bible's context and how we can and should strive to apply it to our lives so that it becomes ingrained into our identity. As Bevere explains, saints are those who have faith in Christ and are in a continually-deepening relationship with God through Him; "a saint is someone who brings a future reality into the present." As a language buff, I appreciate how he expounds upon the semantics of the Bible's use of the term "saints" over "Christians." Furthermore, I find his open acknowledgement and explanation of seemingly contradictory facts or statements in certain Bible passages, such as those relating to fearing the Lord and also not being afraid, wise; as such, I would recommend this book to nonbelievers, especially those with an agnostic bent. 

Bevere is in tune with today's society and its Gospel needs, accurately pinpointing some of the most prominent areas of spiritual dearth and pointing readers toward the source of abundance: Jesus. He makes it clear that while nothing can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38-39), we can separate ourselves from God's grace because “Pride is the grace blocker.” I love how he progresses from the Old Testament to the New Testament because so many focus only on Jesus in the New Testament. "Saints" is truly where the rubber meets the road of our faith journey, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to take their faith in Christ to the next level. Onward and upward! 


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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