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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Candle Prayers for Kids

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Beginning at a young age, children can be taught to pray. Candle Prayers for Kids provides many ideas for simple prayers and praises for kids, dealing with topics relevant to a child's life. Prayer topics include family, friends, school, holidays, pets, fears, health, and more.

Some of the featured prayers are only one sentence long, while others are more detailed. As children gain confidence in their prayer time, these pre-written prayers show them how easy it is to talk to God. The prayers encourage children to turn to God in times of celebration and trial:

"Dear God,
Please look after me at bedtime.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and feel scared.
Help me to remember that you are always with me.
Then I won't need to be afraid.
Day and nigh, God, I'm glad you're my friend" (p. 79).

Prayers for Kids is illustrated in a vintage style, with pictures on each page. The hardback book is sized just right for little hands, and the text is written on an easy reading level, so emerging readers will be able to sit down with this book on their own.

I like how simple the prayers are, because this shows kids that prayer is accessible and something they can do easily throughout their days. Stopping to thank God for little and big praises, and turning to him in times of trial are important habits to teach at a young age. Prayers for Kids makes this easy and fun.

{The publisher provided me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.}

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Love Letters from God

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If you are looking for a unique Bible story experience, Love Letters from God is worth looking for. It is a really special book, geared toward young children, but one that all ages will enjoy.

Love Letters from God Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist is a hardback picture book that includes interactive features, lots of color, and fun fonts. It is visually beautiful and inviting, offering opportunities for kids to open "letters" after each story. 

The illustrated pages remind me of scrapbook pages, with lots of things to look at and enjoy. As a read-aloud book, Love Letters from God keeps children busy looking as the stories unfold. 

Each story ranges from one to two pages in length, featuring content from both the Old and New Testaments, such as the Creation, Daniel in the lions den, Jonah and the big fish, Jesus feeding the people, and much more. Parents can personalize the book by adding their child's name at the top of each letter. When children open each letter, they have a message from God related to the message of the story. At the end, children have an opportunity to write their own letters to God.

This sweet picture book is a wonderful gift idea, unlike any other Bible story book. It is sure to become a treasured heirloom.

{The publisher provided me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.}

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible

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The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers is a practical and straightforward Bible handbook.

Each book of the Bible is covered, featuring its Setting, Summary, and Significance. Drs. Marty and Seevers are both Bible professors, and they make it easy to understand the Bible. Their talents as teachers shines through in their writing, and I find The Quick-Start Guide to be an especially valuable resource in our homeschool classroom. The way it is written is especially engaging to my teenage children, and they are able to look up things for themselves when they have questions or want to delve deeper into their Bible study.

The concise chapters give readers a clear explanation of the basics of each book of the Bible, with important elements highlighted. Obadiah, for example, is summarized in one paragraph, and its Significance is described as: "Do Not Gloat When an Enemy Falls" and "God's Promises Are Always Fulfilled" (p. 124).

The Quick Start Guide is not a comprehensive in-depth concordance. Instead, it thoroughly lives up to its title, and provides Bible readers with a quick, easy reference book to make the Bible more accessible and understandable.

{The publisher provided me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.}

Monday, September 1, 2014

Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions

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Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, and Other Hard Topics is written by mother/daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson.

This is a very different sort of parenting advice book. It deals with topics that are difficult, and instead of being a "50 questions" type book that gives small snippets of advice, the authors really delve into each area. They stress that the book isn't to be used as a script for a conversation with your child, but rather as a guide for learning more, looking to God's Word, and talking with your child in a personalized way. 

Answering Your Child's Toughest Questions includes chapter on the following challenging topics:
  • What is Sin?
  • Why Do People Die?
  • Who Is Satan? What Is Hell?
  • Why Do People Get Divorced?
  • Why Does the Bible Say That? Difficult Bible Stories
  • Why and How Do Some People Sin Sexually?
  • Why Does God Let Natural Disaster Happen?
  • Why Do People Fight and Kill?
The authors suggest ways to talk to your children when topics like these present themselves. They offer guidance for discussing the topics for three different age ranges, again stressing that parents speak to each child using familiar language. Suggestions are given for preschool, ages 5 to 10, and ages 11 and up. Parents are repeatedly pointed toward Scripture and encouraged to pray and follow the Holy Spirit's leading.

Answering Your Child's Toughest Questions tackles each topic by educating you about what the Bible says about them before offering ideas for discussions with your child. By preparing parents with knowledge and understanding, the authors instill confidence and make these conversations easier to face. I really like how the advance planning for these things makes spontaneous middle-of-the-night conversations more productive. The authors also encourage parents to talk about these topics before you need to:

"It is important to have build a firm foundation with your kids about the death of a loved even before they have to experience it personally. You shouldn't wait until a dear family member or friend dies to bring the topic up. If you wait, you will be grappling with your own faith and emotions. Trying to talk to your children about death then will be unnecessarily difficult" (p. 45).

Kids of all ages are curious and have questions. Parents are the best source for having these tough conversations and directing their children in a Godly way. Whether a young child dealing with a death in the family or a teen who accidentally encounters porn on the internet, Answering Your Child's Tough Questions gives you parenting confidence. 

{The publisher provided me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.}

Reckless Devotion

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Heidi and Rolland Baker's Reckless Devotion is a collection of 365 meditations. The Bakers are missionaries who have been working with the world's poorest people and orphans for more than thirty years. They have seen and continue to see first-hand what God can do, and their "reckless devotion" to the ministry fuels the passion in their writing. The short devotions in Reckless Devotion don't pull any punches, getting right to the point -- the heart -- or what it means to abandon ourselves to Jesus and take up his cross daily.

In "Authentic" (#109), the Bakers address division in the church and challenge readers:
"Instead of immersing ourselves in the controversial debates surrounding what we think God will and will not do, we need to connect with the fundamental power and simplicity of the true Gospel. God will always defy our definitions of Him. He will always break out of our imagined boundaries for Him" (p. 117).
"Pure Religion" (#79) explains their hearts for missions:
"The reason I am in Africa, the reason I have come to serve here, the reason I am alive, is for this purpose and this purpose alone: to learn how to love as Jesus loved. Every day Jesus meets me in unexpected ways. Sometimes He is an orphan looking for love and unconditional acceptance. sometimes He is a widow desperately begging for a simple job in order to provide the basic necessities of life for her hungry children. Sometimes He is another lost and broken person who just needs a hug and someone to listen" (p. 87).
Each week's worth of readings ends with a "Come Closer" section with bullet-point calls to action -- practical and convicting actions you can take to strengthen your faith.

Many of the devotions are not accompanied by Scripture references, and I would prefer to see more direct mention of specific verses. Otherwise, I like how the Bakers draw from their personal experiences and write in a way that is easy to comprehend. Also, because the readings are not dated, they can be read in any order.

{The publisher provided me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.}

Saturday, August 30, 2014

NIV Pink Bible

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The NIV Pink Bible is an exquisitely beautiful Bible for any woman, and especially for those touched by breast cancer. This "invitation to hope" includes the complete text of the NIV Bible, an index to verses of hope and encouragement, and a collection of prayers, reflections, and encouragement interspersed throughout the text. Truly a gorgeous Bible that is even more irresistible to pick up.

Encased in a slip cover/box, you cannot fully appreciate just how special this Bible is until you take it out. The cover is hot pink and pink Italian duo-tone leather with pages are edged in silver. The slim-line design has stitching and a silver embellishment on the cover and a hot pink satin ribbon bookmark. It is also designed to lay flat when open. 

The reflections and devotions included in the NIV Pink Bible are written especially for women who are enduring breast cancer, but anyone who is facing trials will relate to the inspiring words of comfort written by a breast cancer survivor. Topics include:
  • A Prayer of Hope
  • Handling Suffering
  • Holding on to Hope
  • Facing the Reality
  • Overwhelming Odds
  • Staying Positive
  • Asking for Help
  • Surrounded With Prayer
These practical and encouraging readings include Scripture references for further study.

Besides the fact that the NIV Pink Bible is visually beautiful, the words contained inside are words of hope and everlasting life. I especially like that this Bible isn't "overdone" with its theme. There are just enough extras, and the focus remains on the Word of God. 

I think this Bible would make a wonderful gift for any woman -- something truly special!

{The publisher provided me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.}