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Showing posts from 2017

Lasting Love by Alistair Begg | Review

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In Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure, Alistair Begg urges readers to get back to the basics of marriage and examine what the Bible says about it. 
Originally published in 1997, this book is written for Christians, whether they are married and feeling the love and excitement slip away, or if they are single and just thinking about marriage in the future. Begg says that the Bible gives clear instructions for marriage, and we need to look no further than the Bible to find the solution to our marital problems. He says that we need to reject divorce as an option and put work into bringing love back into the mix.
Alistair Begg is an older man, and many things he said were pretty outdated and awful. This is particularly evident in his chapters about gender roles within marriage. He told a story in the book where he told his hairdresser that he would stop giving her his business when she came back to work after having her baby, because he would not support a woman who neglected and …

NIV Thinline Bible | Review

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The NIV Thinline Bible from Zondervan is the perfect Bible to take with you on the go. It is thin and very light, with no study materials included. This would be a good Bible to take with you to church or to a Bible study.
There are thumb tabs along the sides, so you can easily flip to the right spot. There is a red ribbon bookmark attached. The cover is a soft, black leather. The Bible comes with a small box to keep your Bible safe, perfect for throwing it into your purse or your bag when you're on the go.
I would give this 5/5 stars, and I'd recommend it if you are looking for a Bible to take with you.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers as part of their blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible | Review

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This study Bible from Thomas Nelson was created to inspire Christlike thought, belief, speech, and action by unapologetically applying Biblical principles. This Bible takes a look at difficult and complex issues, and helps us to understand them and to respond like Christ. It includes notes and resources from all over the world.
There are eight subject areas that are covered: church, corruption, economics, education, family, government, sanctity of life, and virtue. I am really looking forward to reading completely through this Bible, because I think that it will be really beneficial for me. I am hoping that this will lead to more understanding of the topics and issues presented in the Bible.
This Bible is a sturdy hardcover with a dust jacket. If you take the jacket off, the book itself has the same image printed on it, which I really like. The pages don't seem as thin as typical Bible pages, which is another plus. The text is written in the typical two columns.
I would give this…

His Last Words by Kim Erickson | Review

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His Last Words by Kim Erickson is a seven week study of John 15-17, exploring what Jesus did and said in His last few hours on earth.
If you knew you only had a few hours to live, what would you do? Would you tell your friends and loved ones all of the things you think is really important? That is Kim Erickson's theory: that what Jesus said and did in His last hours was what He wanted us to know most, what He thought was the most important for us to know. 
Each week consists of four short lessons. The reader is to read the assigned passage in their Bible, and then slowly work through the study. The studies consist mostly of a little bit of reading, but mostly journaling and reflecting. After each question, there is a lot of space to write, and Erickson does not pressure the reader to fill in every blank if they have nothing to say. She urges the reader to go through the study slowly, because going fast can mean that you miss out on understanding.
This study is written for women, a…

Beyond the Castle by Jodi Jean Dreyer | Review

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Jodi Jean Dreyer is a Disney veteran, having worked for the company for 30 years in 22 different positions. This book is a collection of some of her fondest Disney memories, and her advice for finding your own happily ever after.

This book is all about how to live your life the best way that you can. Dreyer shares her experience on how to live a life full of hope, joy, and magic. She shared fun Disney facts, such as the official criteria for a Disney princess. It is very obvious how much Dreyer loves Disney.
I though Dreyer had great advice for how to live a more happy and fulfilling life. However, I had expected and wanted more of an inside look at Disney. What I got in this book was a self-help book told in Disney metaphors.
Overall, I gave this 3/5 stars. I'd recommend this book if you're looking for a fun book to teach you how to live a happier life.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers as a part of their review program. All opinio…

NIV Reader's Bible Review

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The NIV Reader's Bible from Zondervan is a large, sturdy, hardcover Bible. It comes in a cardboard sleeve for protection. The cover is that soft, almost fabric material. There is also a ribbon attached to mark your place.
What really stood out to me in this Bible is that there are no columns, just text organized like any other book. There are also no verse numbers. It is intended for easy, uninterrupted reading. Besides the table of contents, an introduction to NIV, and the standard table of weights and measures, there is no informational or study materials.
I really enjoy how it is formatted into a single column of text, however I am not sure how I feel about the fact that there are no verse numbers throughout the text.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Answering the Toughest Questions about Suffering and Evil

I think that it is safe to say that we all have struggled with understanding God's role in the suffering and evil in our fallen world. It is something that can turn us away from God. It's something we struggle to explain to non-believers. 
Answering the Toughest Questions about Suffering and Evil was written by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz in order to answer some of the questions we have all asked ourselves. If God created everything, did He also create evil? Why doesn't God eliminate suffering and evil? The authors collected and answered ten of the most popular questions they are asked on the subject.
I don't like not knowing or understanding things. So when I picked up this book, I wanted something along the lines of "God allows evil because blank as stated in the Bible here." I want simple, straightforward answers so I can fully understand. However, that is not the case here, and that is not the fault of the authors. It is due to the nature of the topic its…

NIV Color Code Bible REVIEW

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I received a lovely copy of the NIV Color Code Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

This is a gorgeous, sturdy, hardcover Bible aimed toward kids in order to teach them important key verses. Verses within each chapter are highlighted in different colors based on the topic the verse is about. Included topics are God, sin/evil, Jesus, new life, spiritual growth, prayer/praise, heaven, love, family/children, love, and animals. I feel like this would be really helpful for a kid reading the Bible through the first time. 
Like I said, this is just a gorgeous book. I love the colors on the cover, and there is a ribbon attached to mark your place. The pages are thin, as is typical for a Bible, but are a little bit thicker and stronger than in most Bibles (perfect for kids, who tend to be a little rough on things).
I would recommend this Bible to a parent looking for their kid's first real Bible. A good step up from children's Bibles.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publ…

Matchbox 20: A Brief History of Everything

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A few weeks ago, I went to a Matchbox 20 concert with my mom and my sister! Though it was a ton of fun, it ended up being a pretty big ordeal.
We had to drive a few hours to get to the venue. Since I live kind of in the middle of nowhere, I pretty much have to drive a few hours for any kind of concert or event. Good thing I love road trips! On the way to the venue, we stopped at A&W to satisfy and root beer float craving, and found an adorable Disney-themed little free library along the way.


So, I should mention that pretty heavy storms were predicted for the night of the concert. And it was an outdoor concert. 
Shortly after we arrived at the venue, it started sprinkling. Not too hard, so it was fine waiting outside.

However, after Counting Crows (the opener) played for literally hours, it starting storming heavily right on top of us! We were told we had to take shelter immediately, since the lightning was coming down right around us. It was a long walk to the nearest buildings …

365 Devotions for Living Joyfully by Victoria York | Review

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I recently read 365 Devotions for Living Joyfully by Victoria York.

This devotion shares a verse for each day along with a couple of short paragraphs encouraging the reader to take on life with a more positive perspective in order to live with more joy. There is also a short prayer at the end of each devotion. 
It is ideal to start reading this on January 1st, since the date is printed on the top of each page. You would read one page every day for a year. Also, this is definitely geared toward women. 
The book itself is a beautiful, small hardcover. It is very sturdy. The pages are shiny and glossy, and there is a pretty ribbon bookmark (though it was stuck to the pages and left a mark when it arrived).
Overall, I really enjoyed this devotional. I thought that the material was really well written and stood out to me in a new way. I would recommend this to someone, and I gave it 4/5 stars.
xx Heidi
*I received a free copy of this for review from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers as …

Included In Christ by Heather Holleman | Review

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Included In Christ by Heather Holleman is an 8-week study of Ephesians geared toward women, with a focus on individual verbs in the verses that influence our lives and our perception of ourselves. While this can be done individually, it is geared toward a group.


As I mentioned earlier, each chapter focuses on a verb for the week. This was a really cool and interesting concept, and was done very well. Focusing on individual words really brought the verses into a new light for me and gave me new things to consider. 
What you need to do this Bible study is your Bible and a journal. There are a ton of journaling prompts each day in the study. Holleman asks the reader to do lots of journaling, reflection, and imagining. She includes space for journaling, but I would recommend having your own journal. I would also recommend leaving yourself plenty of time to journal and really think about your responses. This way, you're able to give it enough thought.
She also includes resources for wr…

Kids' NIV Visual Study Bible | Review

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This NIV Bible, by Zonderkidz, is intended to allow children to read the Bible along with images that will allow them to really explore and understand the stories, people, places, and history. It also had footnotes all throughout the Bible, as it is a study Bible intended for learning.
I honestly didn't think that the Bible had that many images in it, just a few small ones every few pages. I didn't think that it had enough pictures to call itself a "visual" study Bible. However, the images included were very interesting, and the rest of the study material was informative and done well, in my opinion. It was all well organized, too.
The Bible is hardcover and very sturdy. I think it would hold up well over a long period of time. It has the nice glossy pages, Bible-thin of course. It has a nice ribbon attached to mark your place. 
Overall, I didn't think that this Bible was special really, or better in any way than lots of other study Bibles for kids that I have s…

Art at 2,000 Degrees

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Earlier this summer, my family and I decided that we wanted to try something new. So, we signed up for a class and locked ourselves in a sweltering room for a day. We tried glass blowing!



First of all, we all showed up wearing flip flops and shorts, a big no-no when it comes to dealing with melted glass that's about 2,000 degrees. However, after the instructor assured us that, "eh, it'll be fine", we headed into the studio to start working.


We picked out what kind of project we wanted to do, picked out what colors we wanted, and got right to work.


I was really surprised by how much work the instructor had us do on our projects. Of course, she helped make sure I didn't completely ruin my piece, but I actually heated, shaped, and worked the glass, and blew the glass into shape at the end. 

I decided to make a bowl. So, after blowing into the tube to shape the glass into a sphere, I had to take a big breath in to create the indent in the bowl.

After we finished our…

Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion by Gary Chapman REVIEW

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The purpose of this book, overall, is to pinpoint and examine the purpose and origin of anger. It is with this in mind that a person will then be able to control their anger. 
Anger is defined as "a strong passion or emotion of displeasure, and usually antagonism, excited by a sense of injury of insult". This illustrates that anger is a response, fed by feelings of disappointment, hurt, rejection, and embarrassment. It is a response that causes us irritation, frustration, pain, and other displeasure.
One common mistake that people make is trying not to be angry at all. We bottle it up, which just causes explosions later. However, Chapman emphasizes that anger comes from the very nature God, as God experiences anger 375 times in the Old Testament alone. Anger comes from our concern for justice and rightness. 
Chapman uses examples from his own experiences and from what he has witnessed as a counselor. The main outcome of this book is for the reader to learn how to make anger…

The Red Letter Words of Jesus by Jack Countryman REVIEW

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This book is a daily devotional. Each day, there is a Bible verse which is a quote of Jesus, with devotional material on the next page, starting with the book of Matthew.
I actually really enjoyed reading through this. The verses that the picked are ones that I know and have read many times, but they really stood out to me and meant much more in this devotion with the lesson they included. I wrote down and journaled for almost every verse, and I recommend that other readers do the same. I also recommend reading just a page or two each day, and going through it slowly. 
The physical book itself is gorgeous. It has a soft leathery cover, with engravings along the edges near the spine. The pages are soft and shiny, but sturdy. 
The only thing that I didn't like is that is just kind of ends. There is an introduction at the beginning, but no kind of wrap up at the end, which I would have liked.
Overall, I gave this 3/5 stars. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a light devotion…

A Journey to Victorious Praying by Bill Thrasher | Review

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"When our heart ceases to pray, we are not praying." -Bill Thrasher


A Journey to Victorious Praying by Bill Thrasher was written to give readers a revival and reawakening in their prayer lives. You know that your prayer life has died when you pray without expectancy of any outcome, and I feel safe in saying that we all eventually reach that point. When this happens, we have to ask, "Why pray?" That is where this book comes in. We need to let the Holy Spirit move us, and guide and empower us in prayer. True prayer starts with God and the prayer burden He places on our heart. Also, it is thanksgiving (not just prayer and supplication) that truly brings us to peace. Finally, do not forget to share your real concerns, burdens, and desires with God. He already knows all of them, but getting them out in the open with God will lighten our burden.
The book is split into sections for daily reading, perfect for those who want to focus on smaller sections at a time, or do not…

NIV True Images Bible | Review

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The NIV True Images Bible is a Bible for teen girls. It is full of extra content designed to help teen girls with stuff like body image, decision making, friendships, and sex, more. 
This Bible starts with helpful information for the reader about reading the Bible, whether they are very familiar with the Bible, or if this is the first time they've picked one up. The back of the book has guides for reading, study ideas, and Christianity basics. Included throughout are 52 profiles of women in the Bible, topic guides, "love notes" from God and space for reflection. Each book begins with the author, date, setting, verses to remember, themes to consider, and life lessons. This Bible relates the stories within to things a teen girl might experience.
I would recommend this Bible for pre-teens (rather than teenagers) who have never read the Bible before, as the content is geared toward a younger audience. The physical Bible itself is very nice. It is a sturdy hardcover with a b…

The Essential Guide to Prayer by Dutch Sheets | Review

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"God dwells where there is prayer."

This book by Dutch Sheets, originally published as The Beginner's Guide to Intercessory Prayer, is all about the power and importance of intercessory prayer, praying for one another. Sheets stresses that we pray for others as part of the service Jesus has called us to, and also as a way of finding peace and getting closer to God. Prayer is how we maintain a relationship with love, so we should pray with the intention of building a loving relationship with Him, and everything in life flows from that relationship. Relationships based on love are the relationships that last. Most importantly, God works miracles through us on earth. However, we need to pray and allow God to use us to make it happen. We are God's link to activity on earth. Finally, we must always remember to persevere. Intercession is a marathon, not a sprint.
It was really interesting reading about intercessory prayer. I have read many books on prayer, but this was th…

How To Overcome Worry by Winfred Neely REVIEW

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Everyone deals with worry and stress. It's part of human life, but it isn't a part of God's plan for our lives. In this books, Dr. Winfred Neely gives his advice for overcoming worry in a worry-filled and anxiety-creating world. 
First of all, concern and care for others and ourselves is healthy and biblical. However, it becomes unhealthy when it turns into worry. This is because, not only is it detrimental to our physical health, but also to our spiritual health, as worry and anxiety are rooted in unbelief that God is taking care of things. While Neely notes that there is no on/off switch for worry, he gives a bunch of Bible verses and tips for working past your worry and being able to put all of your trust in God. Foremost, Neely stresses the importance of prayer. Bringing all of your concerns to God allows you to talk through the problems with Him, and be able to give the problems over to Him. Prayer is the key to conquering worry. Prayer is supposed to have an answer,…

A Selfish Plan to Change the World by Justin Dillon REVIEW

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This book is all about using what means you have to change the world. Justin Dillon, founder of Slavery Footprint, argues that you don't need much to change the world, just your passion for a cause, and whatever resources may be available to you. Changing the world is for everyone.
How to change the world...big question. Dillon suggests asking yourself: what bothers you? What do you think is broken? Finding these issues that really tug your heartstrings and make you angry is the starting point. Dillon states, "When you say, 'I wish someone would just fix it,' there's a good chance that person is you."
As I mentioned before, Justin Dillon created slaveryfootprint.org, a website where you can find out how many slaves it takes to provide the things you use everyday. As much as we like to think that it is a thing of the past, slavery is still rampant today, and Dillon is working to stop it. 
Dillon also argues that changing the world is selfish, but it's a g…

Let's Be Real by Natasha Bure REVIEW

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In this book, Natasha Bure gives advice for teens, from dealing with boys and breakouts, all the way to keeping your faith and being true to yourself in today's world. 
Though the intended audience for this book is teens and younger girls, and I'm a bit older than that, at 21 I still really enjoyed the advice in this book. It gave me a new perspective on a lot of things, and made me realize actions that God has taken in my life in the past. It led to quite a bit of journaling and thought on my part. 
Honestly, I just chose this book to review because it was written by DJ Tanner's daughter, and I was hesitant going in due to the fact that I'm a bit old for some of the themes. However, I loved this book so much. Natasha Bure seems like such an honest, genuine, and mature young woman. She is a great role model, and I would have loved a book like this when I was in high school. She was very open and honest, so I could really relate to everything that she talked about. 
I …

20 Things We'd Tell Our Twenty-something Selves by Kelli and Peter Worrall REVIEW

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20 Things We'd Tell Our Twenty-Something Selves is a book by Kelli and Peter Worrall, which seeks to give advice to all of the twenty-somethings in the world going into their "quarter-life crisis", the terrifying and confusing time when young adults begin making crazy changes in their lives, from moving out, going to college, and getting married. The Worrall's are teachers at Moody Bible Institute, and are approached all the time by students seeking advice about the future.
I requested this book from Moody Publishers to review because my friend, a student of Peter Worrall, read this book for a class and loved it, and she recommended it to me. 
The Worrall's use this book to give twenty pieces of advice for millennials growing up and moving out into the world. Each chapter ends with activities, questions, and other readings for the reader to consider. A Bible study to accompany the book is available for free online.
The advice that they gave really hit close to ho…

The Dawn of Christianity by Robert J. Hutchinson REVIEW

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The Dawn of Christianity: How God Used Simple Fishermen, Soldiers, and Prostitutes to Transform the World by Robert J. Hutchinson gives a detailed history of the early Jesus Movement, starting just before Jesus' death and ending with the apostles. 
The book went very in depth and informative, yet was written simply enough so it was very easy to understand. It was filled with pictures of the places and things that were being discussed. Everything was explained so clearly, and events in the Bible made a lot more sense to me after. Surprisingly, it did not read at all like a textbook, and I found myself immersed and unable to put the book down. 
This book was so interested, I really loved it. I have it 5/5 stars and I'd definitely recommend it. 
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Hitler's Cross by Erwin W. Lutzer REVIEW

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Hitler's Cross, written by Erwin W. Lutzer, outlines the ways in which, during the Second World War, Adolf Hitler used and twisted both the cross and Christianity to promote himself and further the Nazi agenda. This book seeks to explain "the 'hows' and 'whys' and 'what ifs' of this tragedy". The primary focus of this book is to teach readers how Hitler crushed the church in Germany during his time of power, and to explain where God was in the middle of all of this. 
First of all, it is important to understand that nothing happens without God's consent. Therefore, He allowed the Holocaust to happen. Trust me, I know how hard this is to accept and understand. Lutzer explains that God uses even things He hates to direct the world to an appointed end. Satan does have an influence in this world, but only to the extent that God allows. 
Secondly, this book describes in great detail Hitler's personal religious beliefs and how they influenced the…

7 Reasons Why You Can Trust The Bible by Erwin W. Lutzer REVIEW

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"If the Bible is based on facts, we have hope for our present crisis in religion and morality."
"The Bible is a book of answers, not a book of questions."
"Religion, if it is worth believing, must be based on facts."

7 Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible by Erwin W. Lutzer is a thorough examination of the historical, logical, and scientific proof of the validity of the Bible. No ancient manuscript in history has been doubted or held with as much skepticism as the Bible. For Christians, this book will validate and give you reassurance in your beliefs. Our faith is based on lots of evidence, but it is still faith. For non-Christians, it gives you another perspective to consider will all of the facts and information.
This book is so full of information regarding the validity of the Bible, and the lack of validity of many other popular theories. I had no idea that so much physical or historical evidence existed that proves the Bible. However, Lutzer stresses …

Acceptable Worship by Dr. C.H. Snyder REVIEW

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Acceptable Worship by Dr. C.H. Snyder helps readers understand what kind of worship God accepts and what pleases Him. The author's goal was to write a book that would help people understand what the Bible says about worship. The focus of the book is to more from correct understanding to wise and proper obedience. 
God designed man with the need to worship. However, it is important that we choose to worship God and no one/nothing else. In order to give acceptable worship, our actions need to be for the glorification and honoring of God, and not for our own benefit. We should worship God in order to be close to Him, because we are in awe of Him. In good times and in bad, we should always be glorifying God. Not only in church on Sunday, but throughout the rest of the week as well in our everyday lives. Obedience is also an act of true, acceptable worship.
The book is Biblically sound and easy to understand. I really enjoyed reading it, and I feel like I learned a lot from it. I think…

Your Money Map by Howard Dayton REVIEW

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Your Money Map: A Proven 7-Step Guide to True Financial Freedom is a guidebook by Howard Dayton instructing us in how we should handle our money and get out of debt: doing it God's way. 
Many people are surprised to learn that there are over 2,350 verses in the Bible that deal with money and possessions. Overall, I believe that the main point is to be faithful to God with your possessions, since we don't actually own anything. We are stewards of everything that God allows us to have. We come into this world with nothing, and we can take nothing with us when we are gone.
Dayton recommends that the reader interact with the book and do the exercises within, rather than just reading the book. He also suggests that the reader do this with another person for support and accountability. It gives all kinds of additional resources for those looking for more information about getting out of debt and being financially responsible. 
The one big problem that I had with this book was the wr…

"Discipling as Jesus Discipled" by Dann Spader: Review

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"Discipling as Jesus Discipled" is a workbook by Dann Spader and published by Moody Publishers. It aims to make disciples who will go out and make disciples who will, in turn, make more disciples.
Spader uses this workbook to teach Christians how to create disciples who make disciples. The focus is all about relationships, with each other and with non-Christians (or future disciples). When Jesus made disciples, he loved them and cared for them, he maintained relationships. This is how we should be discipling, too. 
This is a workbook designed for a 10-12 week small group study. Unfortunately, since I received this for review, I just worked through it quickly on my own. I think that it would be much more beneficial to go through this workbook in a group study and be able to have discussions about the content.
I would love to go through this again in a group study in the future. The questions are very challenging and thought provoking. I highly recommend this for a small grou…

The Story: 365 Devotions: REVIEW

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The Story: 365 Devotions is a daily devotional from Zondervan with the purpose of helping you discover your role in God's story. Each day shares a short Bible verse, which an explanation and a connection to the reader's life.
I started this on January 1, and I will continue to read a page each day until the end of the year. So far, I have really enjoyed the devotionals. It only takes a minute or two to read the devotion of the day, and each day comes with an impactful personal take-away. The publishers created this book to help the reader find their place in God's epic story and to help them understand how God's plan works. 
It slowly goes through the Bible and is split into Old and New Testament. On Day 45, I'm still in Genesis, so it's a very in depth study. 
The book itself is a small paperback. I really like the size, and it's really good quality.
I haven't finished it yet, but I am loving going though it a day at a time, and I am looking forward to…

The Anxious Christian by Rhett Smith REVIEW

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Is anxiety un-Christian?

The Anxious Christian is a book by Rhett Smith, in which the author talks about his own struggles with an anxiety disorder. All too often, particularly in the Christian community, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are seen as the fault of the sufferer, and that if they just prayed harder and trusted God more, these problems would go away. That is just not the case, but that stigma exists that makes Christians ashamed of their anxiety, and prevents them from seeking help.
However, Smith asks the questions: Can God use your anxiety for good? What if He is using it to speak to us? That can be hard to imagine, but Rhett Smith uses his book to show how God used his anxiety to create opportunities and show him things about himself. It is important to look at your anxiety as a catalyst for growth, and rethink situations that make you anxious.
I did find this book to be helpful and interesting. Rhett Smith has a very friendly writing voice that is enj…

NKJV Know the Word Study Bible Review

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The goal of this study Bible from Thomas Nelson is to aid in understanding the Bible. Understanding meanings, events, and stories in the Bible is something that a lot of people often struggle with. This allows you to study the Bible in three different ways: Book by Book, Verse by Verse, and Topic by Topic. 
I received this as an e-book. and I didn't like it. I think the Bible itself is fine, I am just not a fan of the e-book version. It seems very disorganized and it is really hard to find anything. Flipping through the pages, I had no idea where I was half the time. I do think that this study Bible could be useful, but I would definitely recommend the physical copy for study. I'm sure the content itself is great, but to be honest, flipping through, I couldn't find anything I can talk about here to give you some examples.
I really wish that I had the physical copy to compare it to, but I would have to give the e-book Bible 1/5 stars.
xx Heidi
*I received a copy of this bo…