There’s a Fly in my Tea

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Ratcliff, Crystal L. There’s a Fly in my Tea: The Importance of Maintaining a Christian Testimony. USA: Crosslink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Based on the analogy of having a pesky fly in your delicious glass of iced tea, author Crystal Ratcliff explores the many unhealthy, unproductive things in our life that can impact our Christian testimony. With eleven chapters devoted to the “flies” and how to swat them, this shorter devotional exhibits and works around a scripture verse, includes personal stories and examples, incorporates more Bible verses and finishes with questions for self-reflection. Relevant, timely and engaging, There’s a Fly in my Tea will cause you to pause and consider…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well written and easy to read yet full of strong messages, encouragement and possible solutions, I thought the “fly in your tea” theme was creative, interesting and worked well for this women’s devotional. Relating some definitely important and thought-provoking ideas, There’s a Fly in my Tea delivers introspection, learning and truth. With devotions centered around everyday concepts (service, talents, worship, forgiveness), this book would be perfect for a Bible study, personal reflection, a ministry or sermon series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of There’s a Fly in my Tea from Bookcrash for my honest review*

Devotions From The Kitchen Table

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Edwards, Stacy. Devotions From The Kitchen Table. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Filled with 90 devotions surrounding the kitchen, Devotions from the Kitchen Table invites readers to rest a moment, pause with friends, gather at the table, and enjoy the many blessings bestowed in the comforts of home. Supper, pinwheels, crumbs, gardening and fingerprints are just a few of the many two-page devotionals included in this new book by the author, Stacy Edwards. Coupled with gorgeous photographs in each short yet full devotion, the pale pink ribbon only magnifies further this beautiful and inspirational devotional.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Charming, delightful and brilliant describe this warm and pleasurable devotional. With thicker, shinier pages full of colorful photographs, a short message themed around a Bible verse, scripture references and a prayer to keep close to your heart throughout the day, I would be happy to receive as well as proud to give this stunning book. Based on thoughts from the kitchen (dishes, desserts, coffee, laundry), when joined with scripture and personal stories, this devotional seeps relief, contentment and happiness. The only thing that could possibly have made this even more enjoyable would have been included recipes for the lovely pictures. Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Devotions From The Kitchen Table from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Waking Up Slowly

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Burchett, Dave. Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual Lesson From My Dog, My Kids, Critters, And Other Unexpected Places. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum/ Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Finding spiritual lessons in such unexpected places as the zoo, the beach, and a coffee shop while spending time with family, friends and grandchildren through prayer, thoughts and love, Waking Up Slowly reminds us to wake up slowly and enjoy life. Full of revelations, scripture verses, Bible references, personal stories and beautiful photographs, author Dave Burchett offers unique perspectives on moments usually missed. Based in a hard-covered book with an inviting cover, each short chapter finishes with a thought from God and a dose of grace…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Captivated by the adorable cover, loving the hard-covered book with beautifully smooth pages, admiring the fun pictures and appreciating the organized layout, I truly enjoyed Waking Up Slowly. Perfect for personal use, in a church library, as a Bible study, or a Life Group idea, I would also be proud to give this book as a gift to family and friends. Based on a dog theme while branching out to other areas, this is one book I will reread as well as keep on my bookshelf. Wondrous!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Waking Up Slowly from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Zip It

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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*