Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Abduction - Steve Feazel & Dr. Carol M. Swain

Abduction: How Liberalism Steals Our Children's Hearts and Minds by Steve Feazel and Dr Carol M. Swain is a warning to our nation on how the liberal left is slowly turning the hearts and minds of America's youth toward a mindset that no longer uses reasoning and values accepted as moral, but blindly follows cultural mores presented by entertainment, and left-leaning educators and judicial systems. The book spells out the dangers of what is happening and offers practical advice for fighting back against those people and philosophies that are endangering the very foundations upon which our country was built.

I have often thought of the *"frog in the kettle" aspect of how we were slowly destroying ourselves as small changes were slowly accepted as norm. But, in recent years, the "temperature" has been turned up and the changes are astonishing quick. Tolerance no longer means what it once did, and all are expected to not just accept, but to embrace values that conflict with personal moral or religious convictions. Everyone is quick to take offense and there is no attempt to consider other beliefs. Minds are shut and anger is the ruling emotion.

Feazel and Swain point out the hypocrisy and inconsistencies that are so obvious to many, yet are being blindly accepted by others. Revisionist history is being being taught in classrooms, minors are being permitted to make life-altering decisions for themselves long before they are able to reason the consequences, and fiction is being presented as fact by our news sources. Professor Swain went through character attacks due to having an unpopular opinion, so is even more aware than many of how challenging it can be today to have a different opinion than the politically correct one. And I especially appreciated the Calls to Action and suggestions given to parents. 

The stories told in this book are backed up with a 30 page bibliography of sources. It's comforting to know that the authors did their homework and can tell you where to find the materials to investigate on your own. The book (including bibliography) is just over 300 pages, but is an easy read, and hard to put down. It is also endorsed by several conservatives whose opinions I respect. The ones who stood out to me are Dr. Alveda King, civil rights activist, pro-life activist, author, Christian minister; Eric Metaxas, New York Times Bestselling author of Bonhoeffer,  and If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty; Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; and Suellen Roberts, founder and president of Christian Women in Media and CEO of Global Media Summit.

I received a copy of this book from the authors, but all opinions are my own. Purchase your copy HERE.

Steve Feazel has a very diverse background which includes a Bachelors in Religion from Olivet Nazarene Univeristy, a Masters of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State University. He is a retired pastor but also has experience in state government, business, video productions and as a comedian. He has also served as a board member of a pro-life pregnancy center and a board member of a state chapter of the National Speaker's Association.

Dr. Carol M. Swain (B.A., Roanoke College, 1983; M.A., Virginia Polytechnic & State Univ., 1984; Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989; M.S.L, Yale, 2000; member of Phi Beta Kappa) is a Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University. She is the founder of the Carol Swain Foundation (2011) and Carol Swain Enterprises, L.LC. (2014). Dr Swain, a widely recognized expert on campaign and elections, racial politics, immigration reform, and religious liberty is an author of several books, a frequent speaker at events and on television, and was recently featured as an authority in the film, "Hillary's America." 

*"Frog in the Kettle" refers to the premise that a frog would jump out immediately if placed in a pot of boiling water, but if placed in a pot of cold water that was heated slowly, it would not notice the small changes until it was too late to save itself.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Amy Grant - Tennessee Christmas

Amy Grant has a new CD out in time for Christmas. Tennessee Christmas  is a collection of 13 songs that encompass the meaning of Christmas from a variety of moods and views. Just as the Christmas season is filled with many emotions, "Tennessee Christmas" has a little something for everyone. The album grew on me more as I listened to it a few times, but even my initial reaction was favorable. The songs range from the loneliness that some experience to the joy of being together with loved ones. There are also new songs amidst familiar classics and favorite hymns. This is the first time I have ever like "Christmas Don't Be Late" (sorry Chipmunks!) and I even liked the arrangement [of a song I normally dislike] "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Amy's husband, Vince Gill. The mixture of contemplative and light jazz music makes this album work well. I really loved what she did with "Joy to the World." This is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and I love it in a variety of arrangements; so while this slower version may not seem as "joyful" to some, there are times that this is exactly how I sing it at home. It reminds me that there is Hope. The final song, "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is a perfect reminder of the main reason we gather together on Christmas--- to celebrate the birth of Jesus, surrounded by the family and friends we treasure.

A sample from the album is "To Be Together."

Buy Tennessee Christmas: http://smarturl.it/TNChristmasAlbum?IQid=flyby
Like Amy Grant on Facebook: http://facebook.com/AmyGrant Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/amygrant Subscribe to Amy’s VEVO Channel: http://smarturl.it/AmyVEVOSub Follow Amy on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/AmyGrantSpotify 

Amy's team is also asking for fans to upload any videos they may have of them surprising loved ones for the holidays to social media. Use the hashtag #TNChristmasSurprise! Your video may be part of a compilation video Amy will be posting across her social media platforms.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):   I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Bible Journaling Kit

Bible Journaling---making art in your Bible to create a more personal connection to Scripture and with God---has become more popular than ever. Have you tried it? Whether experienced at journaling or still considering it, this kit from Ellie Claire, a division of Worthy Publishing, is a fabulous collection of needed tools.

This Bible Journaling Kit comes complete with: 
  • 4 sheets of word stickers
  • 4 sheets alphabet stickers
  • 24 tab stickers
  • 8 colored pencil twists
  • 1 journaling pen
  • 1 pouch with adjustable strap
  • 1 ruled page protector mat with tracing lines
If you are unused to writing in your Bible, or feeling intimidated by the prospect of creating Art, this kit is a perfect way to get started. Remember, this is for your spiritual journey and to help you to connect with God in a more personal way. This kit has all you need to get started! I know I have always liked to make notes or highlight passages that really speak to me. Going back through your Bible, you are then reminded of times that were especially meaningful.

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC/FlyBy Promotions for sending me this kit.

**There is also a link for free coloring pages---AND another chance to win a Bible Journaling Kit! EllieClaire/Worthy Publishing is also sponsoring a giveaway with FIVE winners!! Winners will be announced on Dec. 15, 2016.
Enter at Bible Journaling Kit Giveaway
Here are places you can get kits for yourself or as gifts:
Also check out the Ellie Claire Gift & Paper Expressions on Facebook for more amazing products. 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Abigail: The Belle of Bravery

Abigail, the Belle of Bravery is the third book in The Adventures of Rooney Cruz. Bible Belles highlights five "superhero" women of the Bible: Hannah, Esther, Abigail, Ruth, and Deborah. Each of these women has a super power to they use to serve God and this series highlights that to teach young girls a valuable lesson. These books were created by Erin Weidemann and illustrated by former Disney illustrator, Rob Corley.

 In this story, Rooney is back again with another adventure, and another lesson to be learned. When Rooney's brother Anthony deliberately angers the boys across the street, she is afraid that more trouble will be coming. What does she need to do? Her angel Mari has already taught her about the superpowers of prayer and patience, and now she has another story to help Rooney. Through the story of Abigail, Rooney learns about being brave enough to do the right thing. Just like Abigail, God will give her the courage of God to boldly face any problem with the confidence that He will see her through it. (Read about Abigail in 1 Samuel 25)

Another great story from the Bible Belles series. I love seeing stories of the women of the Bible being taught and directed to girls so that they have examples they can follow. I actually just re-read the story of Abigail in my own daily Bible reading recently, so I was delighted when offered the chance to review the version for younger children. Adults know how little things can escalate into large problems out of circumstances that we don't always understand. The lesson here of being brave and doing the right thing is perfect during a time of great misunderstanding, and one that needs to be learned early. Just as Abigail was able to wisely diffuse a threatening situation, Rooney was able to ease the growing tension and help bring peace to her neighborhood. Little things can make a difference, but being brave can seem scary. Teaching a child that God can give her the courage she needs to act boldly and do what is right---and on a level that is easily understood---is awesome. I highly recommend "Abigail: The Belle of Bravery" and the entire Bible Belles series.

Check out their other great books at BibleBelles.com

I received a copy of this product from Bible Belles. I was not required to give a positive review.
They have also authorized a giveaway copy to one of my readers. Please respond by November 30, 2016. 

To Joey, With Love DVD

To Joey, With Love is a documentary, based on home movies, of the final 2 and a half years of musician Joey Feek. Husband-and-wife singing duo Joey+Rory, 2010 Academy of Country Music New Vocal Duo winners, were in the midst of a whirlwind life when they did the unheard of for those who are experiencing extraordinary success. When Joey became pregnant, they decided to take a year off and simplify life for a year, living on their small farm. What started as Rory filming their lives and preparation for the birth of their child turned out to be an extended time when it was discovered later that Joey had cancer. The film follows the decision to take time off to the birth of their daughter Indiana, born with Down Syndrome, and continues through Joey’s struggle with and ultimate surrender to cancer—and is an intimate peek through the joy, despair, love, laughter, struggles, and hope as this family experiences a life they never planned. Narrated by Rory Feek, the DVD will be available on Dec. 20, 2016. You can pre-order it here: tojoeywithlove.com/buy

My Review: I seldom cry when watching movies, but this one did move me to tears several times, for varying reasons. To be honest, I hesitated when offered the chance to review the DVD since I knew so little about Joey+Rory. Of course, I had seen the stories trending and knew that Joey had passed away---I had even prayed for them frequently during her illness, but I don't think I had ever heard even 1 song by them until watching the DVD. Plus, knowing of her passing, I was not sure if this was something I would want to see.

I was wrong! Rather than a melancholy story of a life cut too short, this DVD is a celebration of life. Nothing is sugar-coated, but the viewer is drawn into the lives of these people in such a way that there are as many tears of joy as there are of sorrow. Watching them LIVE their lives rather than just accepting defeats and falling into despair is a true encouragement for others. Of course, their faith in God as their sustainer and hope is a message that shines through. I do recommend you see this for yourself and share it with others. In the midst of sorrow, there is also inspiration and hope for this life and beyond.

Website: ToJoeyWithLove.com
Buy DVD: ToJoeyWithLove.com/buy
Rory's Blog: thislifeilive.com
Facebook: To Joey With Love

Disclaimer: Thank you to Icon Media Group for sending me a link to watch this film! They also are offering a copy to one of my readers. Simply respond by Thursday, December 1, 2016 to be entered. USA residents only.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Gift of Music

Christian artist Lindsay Huggins knows the joy of music. Having grown up in a musical family, she always desired to build a career around performing. So when she moved to Nashville after high school, no one was surprised. What started as a dream to be in the spotlight soon shifted and took on a deeper meaning, and for the past seven years, Lindsay has been traveling the country sharing the Good News of the Gospel through song.

Music has been a large part of Lindsay’s life. She grew up singing and performing in church with her parents and sister and with other peers. While her focus has mainly been vocal music, she studied piano and flute during her youth. She met Craig at Trevecca Nazarene University when they were placed on the same music ministry team. He also played trumpet and bass guitar through college and was the sound technician for the vocal group. After graduation Lindsay jokingly says she decided to keep the sound guy, and they were married. Craig continues to use his musical gifts as part of their ministry together. And as tradition would have it, their four year old son has discovered his love for any instrument he can get his hands on.

Seeing that spark of joy in her son stirred something in Lindsay. Knowing the undeniable positivity that music provides, she had an idea to do something bigger than just singing concerts. She wanted to impact students in her community with the gift of music, specifically the chance to learn and perform music of their own. With almost any extra curricular activity, there are costs associated, and the school band is no different. There’s a monthly rental commitment, adding a new line item in the family budget, and depending on the instrument, numerous accessories to ensure the proper function and performance. Lindsay hoped she could lessen that burden for students who were longing for the same musical experiences she had, but were limited by finances. She began to formulate a way to make that happen.

After approaching the board of directors of her non-profit organization, Lindsay Huggins Ministries, she reached out to the band director at the local middle school and inquired about students who might not be able to afford participation in the band program. It seemed like perfect timing - God’s timing - when applications from families immediately came in. With a few phone calls and the signing of instrument leases, Lindsay Huggins Ministries was able to provide rental instruments and starter packs to the first music scholarship recipients in September.

They were thrilled to have instruments in hand, and were ready to jump into their new musical adventure. “When I mentioned that I hoped they would fall in love with music and want to continue their study beyond just the first year, one girl beamed with her trumpet in hand, ‘I’m going to be in band all the way through high school. I’m so excited!’”

The benefits of music are widely recognized, ranging from emotional connection, to language development, and even mathematical concepts using in engineering. Lindsay knows firsthand that music speaks to people, as it was a song that spurred her to make a leap in her person journey of faith and accept salvation in Christ at age 13. She also knows the thrill of using music to communicate to others, and hopes that these young students might find joy and expression in their music as well. 

For more information about Lindsay Huggins, or to make a tax-deductible donation to the music scholarship program, visit LindsayHuggins.com

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Complete Jewish Study Bible

The Complete Jewish Study Bible by Hendrickson strives to help both Christian
and Jewish followers connect with the Jewish roots of our faith. The previous edition was translated by David H. Stern with this updated version containing new introductions by Rabbi Barry Rubin. With these introductions, additional material about Jewish customs and feasts, and a translation of some names from English to Hebrew, this helps the reader to connect deeper.

I can only speak from the Christian point of view, so I do want to say upfront that this Bible is better for those who are familiar with the Bible and have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the history of our heritage. A beginner or new believer may get a little lost despite the excellent English to Hebrew translations provided both with the names and in footnotes throughout the Bible. A serious scholar will love it! This Bible provides a greater depth of understanding about traditions that may be unknown, therefore, a new richness is uncovered as new insights are discovered. I love that I can expand my knowledge as I pursue my study of God's Word. I want to apply His word to my life today, and it helps to understand what was going on during the time these words were first written or revealed to mankind. There are also additional color-coded articles and maps provided.

Not only is the book "heavy" with the depth of knowledge, it weighs more than the Bible I normally use. The one I have is a hard cover and I love the outward appearance of it. It is a beautiful addition to your library---but do not just leave it sitting. This is a book that needs used frequently. The print is very easily read, but my one issue is that there is no room to write notes on all of the pages. For both Christians and Jews (especially Messianic) who want to learn more of our shared heritage, while studying God's Word, I do recommend The Complete Jewish Study Bible.

Disclaimer: I'm a part of the CWA Review Crew and I received a copy of this book at no cost to myself in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chase the Lion - Mark Batterson

Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson is based on the Old Testament story in 2 Samuel 23 about a warrior in the army of King David named Benaiah. Those who read Batterson's 2006 best seller are familiar with Benaiah---who chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day—and then killed it.

But there is more that is known of Benaiah, and a bigger lesson to be learned from his action with the lion. Most people would run from a lion, but Benaiah chased it. He overcame his fear and went after the personification of it.

This is what Batterson is saying in his sequel to In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day. Benaiah chased his fear, faced his fear, and used it as an opportunity to move forward. For Benaiah, becoming King David’s bodyguard and eventually the Commander-in-Chief of Israel’s army under David's son, King Solomon. Batterson says that your dreams should be so big they scare you. He says that 'Chase the Lion' is not just a catch phrase, but a radical approach to life. The fear of failure prevents one from seizing opportunity by the mane and conquering all fear.  You cannot succeed if you are afraid of failure, but you have to accept that you may fail several times.

Do I agree? Yes and no...but my opinion does not really matter for a book review. I know many people who have huge dreams that may feel overwhelming. For those, this book can be a huge inspiration to never give up "chasing the lion" until ultimate success. For others, like myself, there are no grandiose dreams and we are quite content. I do, however, love to cheer on others, and I recommend this book. Not only is it great for those who feel God has called them to greater things, but I enjoyed reading it and felt inspired. Even the smaller dreams and dreamers need encouragement. I admit that I did prefer 'In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day' but 'Chase The Lion' did engage my attention and was well-written.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah "Blogging For Books" program at no cost to myself. However, I was not required to write a positive review.

Mark Batterson Social Corner:


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Say and Pray Devotions ~ Diane Stortz

Say and Pray Devotions is a very sturdy padded board book that serves many purposes. The left hand side gives a topic, with a short sentence to expand upon it and then the right side gives a short Scripture that could be easily memorized by a 3 or 4 year-old and a simple prayer to use. Examples are listed below:

  • YUMMY!
    Good food tastes yummy and helps me grow.
    [God] gives food to the hungry - Psalm 146:7
    Thank You, God, for good food. Amen.
  • Good News
    Jesus is our Savior. That's the good news!
    We bring you the good news. - Acts 13:32
    Thank You, God, for Jesus! Amen.
And then there are the illustrations, by Sarah Ward, on all pages that are labeled to help teach reading and word identification. Just as we read the Bible to learn and for it to make an impact on our lives, this simple book can be used the same way for toddlers and younger kids. 

I want to add that this is a very sturdy padded board book. It has easily survived my 14 month old great-granddaughter's attempts to read it by herself and the sticky pages were easily cleaned after she left. I love having a book that I am comfortable with the little ones holding themselves that is also useful for me teaching them simple concepts of my faith. The pictures with just a one word description are fabulous for the younger ones, but can also lead to conversations ranging from what is seen on to telling stories based on imagination. I believe this is going to be a favorite book at my house.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through FlyBy Promotions.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

66 Ways God Loves You ~ Jennifer Rothschild

The Bible is a book that is actually 66 books in one volume. It contains history, poetry, instruction, but it is also God's love letter to his people. In 66 Ways God Loves You, Jennifer Rothschild goes book by book as she walks with you through the 66 letters from God. 

  • In Genesis God Fashions Me With His Hands
  • In Proverbs God Offers Me Wisdom More Precious Than Rubies
  • In Revelation God Receives Me as His Beloved and Treasured Bride
Those are just 3 examples of how God speaks to His people through His Word. Rothschild gives a short reading that sums up each book, along with Scripture that brings a deeper understanding. Using only a couple of pages for each book, this is a wonderful small devotional to use daily or to use as you read through the Bible. You can begin each book with this concise overview to gain a better understanding of what the Author is saying.

I love it! It is a small book, but it contains a powerful message of God's love for us. It's great that it also reminds me of a favorite song: "He Is" by Aaron Jeoffrey! This book has the same impact, letting me know the different ways God reveals Himself to me. Whether it is used as a reminder, a reassurance or balm to a broken spirit, I highly recommend this. It is also a wonderful gift for a friend or yourself. Definitely 5 stars.

Many thanks to Icon Media Group for providing me with a copy of this book at no cost to myself. I was not required to give a positive review.