I have a new batch of book reviews today, like four loaves of fresh bread, warm and inviting right out of the oven. Hopefully, at least one of these resources will provide the nourishment your soul is craving right now.
I remember seeing this author slip by me during one session at She Speaks 2017. I wish I could have said hello and congratulated her on her publishing contracts. But it was nice to settle into this Christmas devotional and get to know her a little better through her written words.
Asheritah Ciuciu writes with a quiet, contemplative style. She did not grow up observing Advent (like I did as a Lutheran school girl), but she decided to study Advent practices as an adult. She created this lovely, brief book based on her studies.
The book is divided into four weeks of devotions to reflect the four weeks of Advent. Each day dips deep into biblical and historical contexts to unpack the names of Jesus. I like that each day includes a thoughtful challenge and a beautiful prayer. But what I like most is that each week includes a group devotional option and fun activities you can do with your family (including service activities).
I’m a mom to one teen and two tweens, and this book is perfectly suited for the ages of my children. If your children are younger, you can easily modify the weekly group readings and questions to accommodate their level of understanding. This book is suited to personal study, perfect for busy moms due to its brief length.
In my family, we light an Advent candle on a wreath each Sunday night and read a Christmas devotion. This book will help us focus on Jesus with reverence and awe during our family Advent devotions.
Win a copy of this book!
You have the chance to WIN a copy of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by entering the drawing below! Simply follow the Rafflecopter prompts and choose the “answer this question” option to tell me you’d like to win this book, right in time for your own Advent devotions.
I received a free review copy of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus from Moody Publishers–I am grateful for their generosity.
Some books hold the power to change your entire perspective. All Things New did that for me, and I consider it a rare and beautiful treasure I will never forget.
Many books have been written about heaven, but few focus on the renewal of earth and God’s promises of rewards. I was moved to tears again and again by the glimpses of pure joy, hope, and love I had never recognized before in scripture. I love how John Eldredge illuminates familiar Bible passages with such rich meaning, and does so with almost whimsical, boyish glee.
Even though I’ve been a Christian my whole life, hope has been a struggle for me. As one who has suffered from emotional abuse, depression, and rejection for decades, I clung to my faith for survival. Only in the past couple years have I learned that God has an abundant life waiting for me beyond survival mode, and this book powerfully pulls back the curtain on the wonderful treasures Jesus was preparing for me while I was suffering, and is still preparing for me now.
A Powerful Quote
I highlighted many passages for further reflection, but this long one gave me the most pause, based on Isaiah 60:5:
Imagine–after your enemies are judged and banished, great treasure chests are then brought in and set before you…Jesus tells you to open them. You ask, “What are these, Lord?” and he replies, These are the gifts I meant for you in your former life but were stolen or prevented from making it to you. I return them now, with interest…You hear laughter coming from one, for so much of what has been lost are memories and joy…Then you turn to your right and ask, “And what are these chests, Lord?” These are the rewards for your life’s choices, your victories, your perseverance, and your service. In addition to your estates, of course, he says with a smile.
Those treasure chests are yours, friends; their contents will thrill your heart and redeem so much of what you have endured here…You will open those chests, look, and be radiant. Your heart will throb and swell with joy.
Does that passage whisper hope and joy to you like it does to me? I am not exaggerating when I say this book is in the top 10 most life-changing books I’ve ever read. The best thing of all is that the inspiring message comes straight out of scripture. John Eldredge simply unlocks God’s glorious truth in a winsome, powerful way and seasons it with poignant insights and anecdotes.
Hope That Lasts
I give this book my highest recommendation to anyone looking for hope that lasts. And oh, how we need hope in these difficult days. If you have ever suffered from injustice, rejection or abuse, this book will help heal your wounds like nothing else has done before. If you want to give yourself the best early Christmas present ever, order All Things New today.
I received a free review copy of All Things New from the BookLook Blogger program. Thank you so much for this life-changing gift, friends at Thomas Nelson!
Jerry Bridges’ books have had a profound impact on my faith. His book The Practice of Godliness helped transform my thinking as a teen. Trusting God was a rock I clung to during marriage woes. Respectable Sins helped me weed out some long-held habits that didn’t seem so bad.
Transforming Grace is no less powerful or profound than his other books. Jerry Bridges’ writing style reminds me of the Apostle Paul. He unfolds God’s truths simply in a systematic fashion, and each word holds quiet power. I like the orderly way he explains Bible passages in such depth, yet with such practical application.
Grace for the Entitled
The primary scripture he uses to explain our broken view of God’s grace is the parable of the workers in Matthew 20. He says we live in an age of great entitlement, and we secretly feel that we earn God’s grace through works. I never saw myself as entitled, only others, until I read this book. His words convicted me of my prideful and skewed viewpoint I didn’t even realize I was holding. I’m grateful for the gentle correction.
Even though Jerry Bridges was a gifted theologian who shared deep truths (he passed away in 2016), his personal stories are so humble and inviting that you feel at home while you read this powerful book. This updated edition includes over 100 pages of discussion questions for small group use and even a “Help for Leaders” section. My small group will LOVE this deep, thoughtful reflection on God’s abundant grace–I can’t wait to tell them about it!
I received a free copy of Transforming Grace from the Tyndale Blog Network. Thank you, friends at Tyndale, for sharing this wonderful book with me!
Back in May 2017, I was blessed to interview Sarah Koontz for my Meeting God in the Garden series. She opened her heart and home to us then, and I’m happy to share about her newest online Bible study now.
Is November a good time to begin an online Bible study? Even if you are pressed for time, the answer is yes. Staying in God’s Word will help you trade your holiday anxiety for peace. Sarah’s study is uniquely designed to give you a small, digestible dose of Ephesians for 31 days via email.
Sarah is a talented graphic artist as well as a talented writer. She combines her skills with insight, humor, and relevance in the Worthy of the Calling study. You receive free printables and other sweet goodies in this online study.
It’s not too late to sign up for Worthy of the Calling. You’ll enjoy the bite-sized portions of Ephesians delivered in Sarah’s fresh, funny, down-to-earth voice. I enjoy every one of my visits to her blog and I’m excited that more women will learn about her ministry through this online study.
I received a free copy of this study from Sarah Koontz. Thank you Sarah!
In celebration of one year since my first book published, I’m happy to offer my three books in my 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway, along with nine other great books I’ve read this year. I’ve reviewed many of these books on my Book Reviews page. These books are great resources for you, or you can use them as Christmas gifts for family and friends. I’m so grateful for the generosity book publishers have shown me, and now I’m sharing their gifts with you.
Now it’s time for you to register!
Rules: Open to U.S. residents only. No purchase is required for entry. All entries will be verified. Entries that do not meet verification requirements will be disqualified. Twelve winners will be selected based on the top number of entries. Books will be mailed via USPS on or before Nov. 17, 2017.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this page and not to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Come back every day between now and Nov. 13 for more entries. Answer one of these questions for an entry (make sure to mark the entry form when you comment):
Questions for you:
- What is your favorite Christmas devotional, and why? Please share with us!
- Have you ever read a truly life-changing book? I’d love for you to share the title in the comments.
- Have you done an online Bible study? If so, which one has been your favorite? I love recommendations. 🙂
- Are you giving books as Christmas gifts this year? Which book in the giveaway would make a perfect gift, and for whom?
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Enter your email address below to instantly receive access to these Christmas Peace printables:
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- Bedside Reminder Cards
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