The Weekly Prayer Project

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Hiltibidal, Scarlet. The Weekly Prayer Project: A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect, and Connect with God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Encouraging readers to be more intentional in their connections with God, author Scarlet Hiltibidal presents a personal journal filled with scripture, Bible verses, writing prompts and pages of lined paper for journaling thoughts, ideas, prayers, and dreams. Each two-page layout is broken into weekly topics under a broader subject. Encased in a hard cover book, this prayer project includes a presentation page, soft illustrations, reflection stories and a page marking ribbon.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Designed for the busy person who still yearns to spend time with God, The Weekly Prayer Project allows for the project to begin at any time, topics to be rearranged, and thoughtful, heartfelt writing to take place. Simple yet providing a deeper connection if desired, this book truly meets the reader where they are in faith. Based on prayers, each corresponding scripture verse and writing idea encourages personal consideration. Though not necessarily a devotional, this book touches more on prayers which could be easily incorporated into devotion time. Perfect as a gift, ministry or even a Bible study, this is a project I intend to complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Weekly Prayer Project from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Chasing Grace

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Richards-Ross, Sanya. Saving Grace: What The Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God And Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Sharing her successful yet difficult story of running and life, author and Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross writes of her triumphs and downfalls, happiness and heartache, achievements and collapses, all while realizing we cannot do it alone. Applying her 4-Ps approach (Push, Pace, Position and Pose) to her running career and extending it to her life, Sanya Richards-Ross acknowledges and shares how her trust in God allowed her to embrace and develop her given talents on the track as well as in life…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Opening the book and not closing it until it was finished, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Like having a conversation with Sanya herself, the book just flowed. Truly appreciating the closing of each chapter with one of the 4-Ps, not only did I listen to the encouraging words for life but also have incorporated some of the thoughts into my own running mantra. As a true Christian model, Sanya Richards-Ross is blessed yet humbly and enthusiastically tells her story. Definitely a book I will return to in snippets for self-reminders…excellent!

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

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

This Life I Live

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Feek, Rory. This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in rural America with little money and less direction, country singer and award winner Rory Feek shares bits of his life culminating with his greatest love story. As an American country and bluegrass duo, nothing prepared him for the loss of the love of his life. Sharing his wife Joey’s courageous battle with cancer, Rory Feek managed to cope and in turn, bless others with his story. Well written, honest, heartbreaking and healing, This Life I Live may change your own life, or at least make you love better and live stronger…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not necessarily a fan of all memoirs nor a fan of country music, I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Straight-forward in a realistic yet graceful manner, I found myself drawn into Rory and Joey’s story before I even realized it. Easy to read yet with a deeper message, This Life I Live celebrated life through mourning, happiness through sadness, and memories through meaning. So glad I took the chance on a book I would have normally passed on, I can only recommend this book to all.   (Tissue alert- have plenty on hand.)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of This Life I Live from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

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*

The Stage Is Set

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Wright, Bryant. The Stage Is Set: Israel, The End Times, And Christ’s Ultimate Victory. Grand Rapids, MI: Backer Books Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Pastor, founder and chairman of Right from the Heart Ministries, and author, Bryant Wright has led several Bible study trips to Israel and shares his love of the land in his new book, The Stage Is Set. Focusing on the ever-changing current world while recalling God’s promises of the past, present and future, graphs, scriptures, thought provoking ideas and personal stories join together in this book based on the Book of Revelation. Throughout the book, the question begs to be answered, are we ready for the end of times?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well-written and reader friendly, The Stage Is Set offers possible scenarios for which we must be ready. Outlining events in an easy to understand manner, author Bryant Wright challenges his readers. Though I found the book interesting albeit I was not in total agreement on all points, it definitely was worth the read. Making a wonderful Bible study or sermon series, it would also create meaningful faith-filled discussions. Well thought out and organized, this book just seemed to seamlessly flow through the chapters.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Stage Is Set from Baker Books for my honest review*

Love Your Work

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Dickie III, Robert. Love Your Work: 4 Practical Ways You Can Pivot To Your Best Career. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a changing economy resulting in a changing workforce, changes are inevitable. Perhaps a career swap, a new work opportunity, or a chance for advancement, in his new book, Love Your Work, author Robert Dickie III shares perspectives on all of these possible changes. Outlining the four quadrants of a career (Revector, Renew, Reinvent and Repurpose), and combining them with career skills while including character and integrity, the future of growth and opportunity is then observed. Equipped with an action plan, a career move can be examined or staying in place can be made better with the importance of loving your work.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With diagrams, highlighted notes, depths of experience and doses of humor, Love Your Work was easy to read, clear to understand, and undeniably relevant. Filled with personal examples, ideas for thought, and pivot-point challenges, I found this book well written, reliable, prominent and useable. Definitely a book I will refer to again as well as share with friends, it would also be successful as a group study, career training, or ministry workshop. Is your career all it could be? You may just be surprised…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Your Work from Moody Publishers 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.

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*

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*

Let Food Be Your Medicine

Colbert, M.D., Don. Let Food Be Your Medicine: Dietary Changes Proven To Prevent Or Reverse Disease. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

letfoodbeyourmedicine

SUMMARY:
Struggling with his own illness, Dr. Don Colbert thought outside the box to overcome it. Sharing his methods, and hopefully the same positive results, his updated version of his book, Let Food Be Your Medicine, is about making changes to live a healthy lifestyle which both treats and prevents diseases. With a section on information to help make the best choices regarding inflammation, weight loss, and proper nutrition, it also includes a section on specific illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, autoimmune, diabetes, cancer, dementia and mental illness. Concluding with appendixes on a 21-day meal plan, shopping lists, material on pesticides and mercury, as well as supplements, the material is very well organized and easily useable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As I’ve already made several of the healthy lifestyle changes suggested, this newly updated version now supplies a 21 day meal plan which follows the modified Mediterranean Diet as a suggested starting point. With clear evidence of the positive effects of the Dash Diet and Mediterranean Diet, this book enhances those diets with healthy choices for food, exercise, awareness and faith. Full of really helpful information with specific illnesses and challenges organized by chapters, it provides nutritious menus, foods to avoid, and personal stories that may change your life for the better. As a New York Times best-selling author specializing in anti-aging medicine, Dr. Don Colbert has impacted many through his research and walk with God.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Let Food Be Your Medicine from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*