Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Women of Christmas Book Review

Experience the Season Afresh with 

SUMMARY:  God Reached Down from Heaven with the Best Gift of All
      A sacred season is about to unfold for three women whose hearts belong to God. Elizabeth is barren, yet her trust in God remains fertile.  Mary is betrothed in marriage, yet she is willing to bear God's Son.  Anna is a widow full of years, yet she waits patiently, prayerfully for the Messiah to appear in the temple courts.
     Following in their footsteps, you too can prepare for the Savior to enter your heart, your mind, and your life in a vibrant, new way this season.  Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs explores the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary and Anna, unwrapping each verse with tender care and introducing you afresh to The Women of Christmas.

REVIEW:  If you ever read a book by Liz Curtis Higgs (or even if you've never read a book by Liz Curtis Higgs), you definitely need to read this book.  She opens up the Christmas story in a way I've not seen before, focusing on the women God used in bringing the Messiah to His people.  Like the summary says, the author goes verse by verse, going over all the intricate details and presenting old ideas in a new light.  She starts with Elizabeth and the details surrounding the birth of John the Baptist, explaining them in simple but profound ways.  Mrs. Higgs does the same for Mary and Anna but doesn't end there.  She also gives account for the men involved in this important time - Zechariah, Elizabeth's husband; Joseph, Mary's betrothed; and Simeon, a righteous and devout man who was waiting for the birth of the Messiah.  As they are in the gospels, their stories intertwine but Liz lays them out with her trademark humor and way of explaining things.
     This book is for anyone looking for a new way to look at and study the events surrounding Jesus' birth.  It is tops on my list and one I look forward to reading again and again.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

Liz Curtis Higgs is a popular conference speaker, who has presented inspirational programs for audiences in all fifty United States and fourteen foreign countries.  She is also the author of more than thirty books, with 4.5 million copies in print, including her non-fiction study of Ruth, The Girl's Still Got It, her best-selling series, Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible; her award-winning Scottish historical novella, A Wreath of Snow; and a series of children's books, including The Pine Tree Parable.
     Liz is happily married to Bill Higgs, who serves as director of operations for her speaking and writing office.  They share their life together in a nineteenth-century farmhouse near Louisville, Kentucky.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The God Puzzle Book Review

How the Bible Fits Together to Reveal God
as Your Greatest Treasure!
*Presents the Bible as one seamless story
*Share deep truths in a way kids will understand
An easy to use workbook for kids ages 7 - 12

SUMMARY:  God is not something to study . . . He is Someone to Know!
Parents:  Finally, the resource you've been looking for to teach your child about God!
  • any parent, knowing little or a lot, can teach their child with no preparation
  • deep theology and themes of the Christian faith presented so a child can interact with and understand
  • deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ and a personal relationship to Him
  • can be done at any pace that works with your family
  • each lesson connects the pieces so the child understand their faith
Here, at last is a resource:
  • perfect for parents who may not have a strong background in the Christian faith as well as those who have been Christians a long time and are looking to build a solid foundation for their own children
  • written by a Children's Ministry Professional, Sunday school teacher and mom with years of hands-on experience working with children

REVIEW:  My three kids fall right in the suggested ages for this workbook.  Always looking for new ways to teach them biblical ideas and foundation, I jumped at the chance to look at this book and see what it offered.  
     My 12-yo daughter and I worked through one lesson on our own; my two boys (ages 10 and 6) and I did one together; and the three kids and I worked on two as a family.  The material we looked at was easy enough for my youngest to understand but not so easy that my oldest was bored.  As the summary mentions, you do not have to prepare anything to do these lessons with your kids.  Most of the time, I just decided to do a lesson, picked up the book and a bible and started teaching.  My 6-yo enjoyed it so much he asked if we could do another exercise together.  The presentations are laid out in an orderly fashion with lots of scripture verses to look up.  It also provides activities for the kids to do, like a crossword puzzle, fill in the blank, search a word, and coded puzzles to name a few.  At the end of each lesson, the children are encouraged to write down what they've learned, their thoughts and a prayer.  
     This is one children's bible study that I will gladly share with others (or at least the name, not necessarily the book  :-)  ).  I can't wait to do more lessons with my family.  

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group for review without compensation.
Valerie Ackermann has a BA in Theology and has been a full time Children's Ministry Director for over 10 years. She is also a weekly Sunday school teacher, wife and busy mom of two boys ages 9 and 11.  She has hands-on experience as a children's ministry professional, teaching and leading children of all ages.