Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Life Essentials Interactive Study Bible

In the CSB Life Essentials Study Bible, renowned Bible teacher, Dr. Gene Getz guides readers through Scripture by expounding on 1,500 life principles found throughout the Bible. Distilling these truths into life principles, Dr. Getz helps readers remember and apply the Bible’s wisdom to everyday life. The CSB Life Essentials Study Bible integrates a multimedia digital study system with more than 250 hours of in-depth video teachings from Dr. Gene Getz on these essential life principles (accessed through smartphone-accessible QR codes). Questions follow each principle to inspire personal reflection or group discussion. A topical index and cross-references for all 1,500 life principles are included, and each book introduction provides a list of corresponding life principles found in that book.

 Features include:
  • Commentary and application questions on 1,500 life principles
  • 250 hours of free in-depth video teaching to accompany each life principle
  • Two-color interior design
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Presentation page
  • Two-column text
  • Topical subheadings
  • Black-letter text
  • 9-point type
  • Textual footnotes
  • Concordance
  • Full-color maps

The CSB Life Essentials Study Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible® (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.

Dr. Gene Getz: 

MY REVIEW: I always love the opportunity to review Bibles and this one is an exciting discovery. I get frustrated with myself when I am doing daily Bible reading and my mind gets distracted. I have tried various plans, and really need them while reading a few books (like Leviticus, Numbers, etc), but my mind does tend to wander. So the set up of this Study Bible is an intriguing surprise.

Using a structured technique in each chapter: "The Nehemiah Principle," "The Amos Principle," "The Romans Principle,"... and you get the idea, Dr. Gene Getz gives insights, as well as highlighting key verses to help the student [of the Bible] to focus on what is being said. Of course, you should read it all, but that extra illumination is a huge help for me to hone in with what the Bible is saying. Commentaries, maps, concordance, and footnotes are very useful inclusions that I use.

The Reflections and Response section is useful for both personal and group study. They are connected with smartphone-accessible QR codes to videos. There are more than 250 hours of videos by Dr. Getz. A downside for me is that I don't own a smartphone (but have been considering getting one). However, I believe the Life Essentials Interactive Study Bible is well worth owning for the other info I am gleaning. The hardcover and stitching are very sturdy and the print size is comfortable to read.

GIVEAWAY!! There will be a very short turnaround on the giveaway this time. Type #LifeEssentialsL3 in comments to be entered. The contest ends on May 16, 2020. Many thanks to the publisher and LEV3L Digital for the giveaway!!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

I Still Believe - Review and Giveaway

One love can change your life. One life can change the world. From the creators of I CAN ONLY IMAGINE comes an inspiring love story for the ages. Rediscover the wonder of love in I STILL BELIEVE, based on the real-life story of chart-topping singer Jeremy Camp.

From Lionsgate/ Kingdom Studios and starring KJ Apa, Britt Robertson, Gary Sinise, and Shania Twain, this was an eagerly anticipated film. After an excellent opening weekend, the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic put a close to theaters. This led to a few weeks of successful VOD, and now the film has now been released to DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital Downloads. Get yours at your favorite retailer or the website.

I saw an early prescreening of the film and really did enjoy it, and I refreshed my memory this week with the digital download offered to LEV3L bloggers. The film is based on the story of Christian musician Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa. Their love story was tragically cut short due to ovarian cancer, but the film cannot be written off as a dramatic, tragic tear-jerker. It tells the story of a young, sweet romance between two people who grew even closer to each other and increased their faith in God. Melissa's story is one of courage, peace, inner strength, hope, and inspiration. She wanted her life to make an impact on others and this film fulfills that purpose. Jeremy's grief was heartbreaking, yet the viewer is inspired by his faith in God and that he kept his trust in God and his hope in the future.

I really did enjoy the film but not quite as much as I did I Can Only Imagine. Without giving any spoilers, a couple of scenes seemed out of place or a bit baffling (although they may have actually happened that way). However, I do highly recommend the film; I just get nit-picky when something doesn't quite make sense to me. Overall, the film is definitely one you will want to add to your personal film library. I have watched it 3 times so far and am excited to have a copy to watch many more times. 

SPEAKING OF OWNING A COPY... Here's YOUR chance to win a Digital Download of I Still Believe! Enter to win with #BELIEVEL3 ... and Submit your question(s) for Jeremy to answer in his video--- about the film... about his music... about his life... about his source of Hope (or, tell me your favorite Jeremy Camp song) in comments under the post. 

The giveaway includes:
  • FREE digital edition of I STILL BELIEVE
  • I STILL BELIEVE pop socket (for your smartphone)
  • I STILL BELIEVE wristband
  • Exclusive QandA with Jeremy Camp (via video)

Submit YOUR questions for Jeremy to answer in his video--about the film, about his music, about his life… about his source of Hope… anything. Jeremy will answer select questions by video... to be shared soon.


Monday, May 4, 2020

The Englisch Daughter

Old Order Amish wife and mother Jemima has put her marriage and family ahead of herself for years. She's set herself aside. Raising four children, she's followed all the rules and has been patient in looking forward to her time to chase a dream of her own.

But when she finds out that her life savings for pursuing that dream are gone--and her husband, Roy, has been hiding a child with another woman--her entire world is shattered. Will she be able to listen to God and love Roy's child? With so much at stake, how can she and Roy fix their relationship before their lives come crashing down?

My Review: My attention was fully captivated by the story of, The Englisch Daughter, by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall. The story was unlike any I have read in Amish fiction with a few twists and turns and a bit of mystery. All of the characters are well developed and the story is richly-layered with emotions that tug at your heart and demonstrate a faith determined to honor God despite circumstances. With each unexpected event, shattered dream, or moment of heartbreak, these characters, especially Jemima, turn to God... albeit, sometimes after trying to fix things themselves with poor results. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fiction.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah. This in no way affected my opinion. 

Buy the Book:


CINDY WOODSMALL is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of twenty-five works of fiction and one nonfiction book. Cindy’s writing has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She lives outside Atlanta with her husband.

ERIN WOODSMALL is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of four. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. More recently she and Cindy have co-authored five books.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Grief Triggered

My crockpot quit working this weekend... and I cried. It was frustrating because I use it a lot, and I had just bought a roast. I had filled the crockpot with meat, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and onion... and was looking forward to a meal I had not prepared in several months. It was frustrating because I had spent my expendable income the day before on things that could have waited another month. But, none of the above is why I cried.

I cried because Caitlyn gave it to me. I had a large family-sized one; it was so big I cooked an 8 lb turkey in it one Thanksgiving when my oven quit. I had told Caitlyn that it was getting more difficult for me to pick up, even when empty.

She didn't buy a new one but simply gave me the one in her kitchen. When I realized it wasn't working, my mind immediately was flooded with the memories of us talking and laughing about what I could make for her... since she never cooked anything in it. I could picture her smiling face as clearly as if she had just handed it to me.

Suddenly, I was reminded that those moments will never happen again. Throwing it away brought another flood of tears. It felt like I was giving away another part of her. It's been almost 18 months since she died, but unexpected things and memories still have the power to remind me of the person I loved so dearly and lost.

Ironically, I have been wanting to buy another crockpot, even smaller than hers, but I never thought it would be such an emotional experience. Despite everything, there does come a time to move on. The crockpot is certainly replaceable! Caitlyn is not but I am reminded that I will see her again, healed and whole, and never again to be parted. She is safe with the Lord for now.