Zip It

Featured

Ehman, Karen. Zip It: The Keep It Shut 40-Day Challenge. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

zipit

SUMMARY:
Everyone needs a reminder at some point to keep it shut rather than opening the mouth. Though not always easy, author Karen Ehman makes it a bit easier with her 40-day challenge devotional. Beginning with the many scriptures surrounding words, each short devotional progresses through a brief lesson, personal stories, relevant examples, the main ideas summarized, a lesson for the lips, and ends with a heart-felt prayer. Short and simple yet straight to the point, this useful devotional helps tackle an important skill.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though I haven’t read her book by the similar name, Keep It Shut, I was able to follow and use this devotional but perhaps not quite as absorbingly as if I had read her book previously. Apparently with a journal available to accompany this devotional, I am thinking the set of the books might work very well together. Perfect as a group ministry, a self-challenge or even a sermon series, Zip It has a good message to share and learn in a fun, engaging manner. Absolutely a book that will make you think before you talk!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Zip It from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Embracing the Race

Featured

Preuett, Lisa. Embracing the Race: 40 devotionals for the Runner’s Soul. USA: Crosslink Publishing. 2016.

embracingtherace

SUMMARY:
Organized into three page devotionals, Embracing the Race couples running with scripture and truths. With 40 unique devotions set up in a running race manner, a running concept is transitioned into a faith-filled element, followed by thought-provoking self questions, a scripture verse, and a prayer. With personal stories, encouragement, compassion and friendly writing, author Lisa Preuett shares the journey, both running and following Jesus.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Oh, how I needed this devotional right at this moment. Coming into running season with several events on the calendar, I so needed the encouragement. Finding myself agreeing (or commiserating) with most of what the author wrote, I appreciated the link to scripture and the Biblical point of view. With each devotional ending in Ready (questions), Set (scripture verse), Go (prayer), I loved the set-up mimicking a race. Relating to certain pieces, I really like some of the signs she mentioned along the race course as I have muttered a few myself (“Forward is a pace”, “It seemed like a good idea when we signed up”, and my favorite, “Can we walk now?”). But, the words of encouragement are priceless when filled with faith (“Be courageous, I’ve designed you for this purpose”, “Keep going, I promise you will get through this”, and “You cannot imagine what is waiting for you at the finish line”).  An excellent choice for the runners in your life; I know it was perfect for me. Thanks, Lisa!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Embracing the Race from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*

Cherish

Featured

Thomas, Gary. Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

cherish

SUMMARY:
More than love, “cherish” includes respect, gratitude, honor and adoration. When cherish is combined with love in a marriage, it has the power to change everything within that relationship. In his new book, Cherish, author Gary Thomas explores and shares the positive effect cherishing another person can have. With a faith-based backdrop, the word cherish is applied to many aspects within a marriage, abundantly coupled with personal stories, relevant analogies, beautiful words, ideas and actions, as well as lots of compassion and encouragement.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading through the book Cherish, I found it to be a very smooth, interesting read but also one I was constantly shaking my head in agreement with. Trying to read only a few chapters at time so I had time to digest the material; unfortunately, it did not work that way as I was consistently starting the next chapter, pausing only to share (and have my husband read) snippets of each section. Definitely a book for any stage of marriage, it would be perfect for a counseling session, pre-marriage workshop, a marriage ministry or even a sermon topic. I am convinced…to cherish is priceless!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Cherish from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

A Spectacle of Glory

Featured

Tada, Joni Eareckson. Libby, Larry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2016.

aspectacleofglory

SUMMARY:
As a person who has lived her life with a disability, author Joni Eareckson Tada has not let it define her but wakes up to embrace each day despite the struggles associated with it.  Her new devotional, A Spectacle of Glory, shares scriptures, thoughts and prayers for each day. As a yearly devotional, not only does it draw readers closer to God, but also reminds us of being made perfectly in His eyes, just the way we are. Short and simple yet to the mark.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read many of Joni Eareckson Tada’s books through the years, of course, I was interested in her newest devotional. With many years devoted to sharing her testimony, this devotional shines for Jesus. Beautifully written, I enjoy the length of each devotion but also that it is a year-long devotional. Great for the difficult times in life but also a reminder of the uniqueness of each which God designed as intended. God is good.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Spectacle of Glory from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness

Featured

Ortega, Yvonne. Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness- Moving from Broken to Beautiful Series- Book 3. Salem, OR: Trinity Press International. 2016.

movingfrombrokentobeautifulthroughforgiveness

SUMMARY:
Forgiveness can be one the hardest elements yet also the most restrictive or freeing. In her latest book in the Moving from Broken to Beautiful series, speaker, counselor, and author Yvonne Ortega shares her own personal stories coupled with relevant scripture to demonstrate the power of forgiveness. Outlining 12 steps to move through the forgiveness stage, both forgiving yourself as well as others, each chapter finishes with activities, affirmations and journaling pages. The freedom that can be experienced through forgiveness while moving from broken to beautiful is priceless.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Sometimes forgiving ourselves can be the most difficult thing to do, followed closely by truly forgiving others. Though a shorter book in length, the messages and knowledge packed within are long. Knowing the author has already experienced many forgiving instances in her own life makes the book read more like a talk with a good friend. Based in faith, with compassion and strength, even those not realizing they need to give and receive forgiveness will find nuggets to grip. After reading this current work in the series, I plan to search for the previous books. After all, we all need forgiveness in some form.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness from Bookcrash and the author.

Chosen With Esther

Featured

Ramos, David. Chosen With Esther: 20 Devotionals to Awaken Your Calling, Guide Your Heart, and Empower You To Lead By God’s Design (Testament Heroes-Book 6). Amazon Digital Services. 2016.

chosenwithesther

SUMMARY:
With a strong message to share that even though we may not be chosen first for things (invites, teams), we are always intentionally chosen by God to fulfill His will. Though not always what we may have hoped for and expected, God chose us for a purpose just as He did Esther. As the queen chosen to free the Jews, while not easy, she eventually understood her purpose. Breaking the story and characters into understandable pieces, author David Ramos also includes personal correlations, provides a take-away thought, and concludes with a complementary prayer.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written in a friendly, non-judgmental manner, this wonderfully written devotional by David Ramos shares the story of Esther in such a way that most can learn from. Relating the Bible story to the everyday makes it that much more effective; a writing talent this author employs well. With a lesson to ponder, thoughts to consider, and hope to be found, through compassion, honesty, and grace, Chosen With Esther not only shares the story of Esther but also reminds that each is chosen and has a purpose with God. “You were chosen for such a time as this.”

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Chosen With Esther from the author for my honest review*

Authentic Living

Featured

Exley, Richard. Authentic Living: 365 Devotions for Deliberate Faith. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

*authenticliving

SUMMARY:
With the new year upon us, it seems to be the perfect time to begin a yearly devotional. As an accomplished author, pastor and speaker, Richard Exley shares 365 devotions intent on deliberate faith in his new book, Authentic Living. Organized into page-length devotions with a scripture verse and prayer included, each unit lasts for a few days so the concept can be experienced from several different angles. With topics such as relationships, grief, prayer, the Holy Spirit and faith, each is written with compassion, grace, strength and thought which allows for guidance and daily time with the Lord. Though shorter in words, the impact is deep.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Filled with in-depth messages in daily devotional form, Authentic Living is a wonderful devotional for yearly use. In a compact book easy to take along, this handy little book may be short in length but speaks directly to the heart. With scriptures from different Bible translations, stories from the author’s personal life experiences and deeper topics, this devotional choice is full of understanding yet to the mark. (The only thing missing is a ribbon for marking my spot but that is just a personal preference.) Definitely a devotional I plan to use this year!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Authentic Living from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Wake Up to the Joy of You

Featured

Stassinopoulos, Agapi. Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life. USA: Harmony Books. 2016.

wakeuptothejoyofyou

SUMMARY:
Filled with 52 meditations for a calmer, happier life, Wake Up to the Joy of You is filled with practices, thoughts, ideas, intentions, compassion, and encouragement to love yourself while being yourself. Each chapter begins with a corresponding quote, a personal story, guided meditation and/ or suggestions for the week. Filled with positive thoughts, gentle methods, helpful lessons, and self-compassion, author Agapi Stassinopoulos makes the journey easy to self-discovery and a life filled with joy.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With life so full of negativity, busyness, guilt and self-doubt, this book is a wonderful reminder that grace, joy, peace and spirit live within each of us…they may just need to be discovered and brought to the forefront. A beautiful hard-cover book which is broken into sections on self-care, roadblocks, and conflict, Wake Up to the Joy of You celebrates the real you that you were meant to be. I plan on using this book throughout the year to rediscover my true self underneath all the busyness, hurriedness, and craziness that is part of life. As my word for the year (as well as my middle name-Joy), this book will couple perfectly with my devotional book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Wake Up to the Joy of You from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Successful Women Speak Differently

Featured

Burton, Valerie. Successful Women Speak Differently: 9 Habits That Build Confidence, Courage, & Influence. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

successfulwomenspeakdifferently

SUMMARY:
With a strong message to stop underestimating yourself and start believing you are capable of far more than you know, author Valerie Burton emphasizes the importance of communication and the power of words to strengthen successes and minimize failures. Full of research, personal stories and reliance on Scripture, Successful Women Speak Differently is organized into chapters focusing on the 9 habits that build confidence, courage and influence. With each chapter introducing the key factors, scripts for success, points every woman should know, self-coaching strategies, and a vital aspect to remember, this book is a powerful tool.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read several of her previous books, I know Valerie Burton uses a no-nonsense direction to obtaining success. As a life coach who encourages, guides, and ultimately delivers, her books are well written, interesting, organized and to the point. Heralding and defining the importance of communication, Successful Women Speak Differently is full of necessary and dynamic directives for strength, confidence and success. Perfect for most everyone to read as it deals with networking, interviewing, and communicating both in personal relationships and work environments. Definitely a book I will refer to again and again; a lot of knowledge is packed into this mighty book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Successful Women Speak Differently from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Grace For The Moment

Featured

Lucado, Max. Grace For The Moment: Inspirational Thoughts For Each Day Of The Year- Large Deluxe Edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2016.

graceforthemoment

SUMMARY:
Packaged in a beautiful chocolate brown, leather-like covering, Grace For The Moment offers inspirational verses, scriptures, thoughts and encouragement for daily encounters with God. In a deluxe edition with a larger print size, the font is more easily readable. Organized into daily readings for each month, the accompanying ribbon marks the spot. Full of devotions offering grace while ensuring God’s love for all, this repackaged best-selling book by leading author Max Lucado, is abound with promise.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already a reader of several books by this author, this was one I hadn’t yet read. Upon first glance, it struck me as a beautifully packaged devotional book, complete with a place-marking ribbon. The covers made of imitation leather and the larger font were a welcome sight. As I started to read, the bite-sized daily inspirations were encouraging and held my heart through-out the day. Full of God’s love and grace, the brief readings had a longer and larger impact which would be welcomed by most anyone. Perfect as a gift, in a church library, or for personal use, while I may gift a copy to those I know, this copy will remain on my own shelf for the next year as my own daily devotional.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Grace For The Moment from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*