Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Person Spending 'Mornings with Jesus 2012' Is.....

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The Random Number Generator has chosen the winner of 'Mornings with Jesus 2012.' That person is....


Congrats, RubynReba! I have sent an email to you.

For those of you who would like to spend 'mornings with Jesus' and this wonderful devotional, you can order your copy here.

Thanks to all of you who entered. Please come back soon, as there will be more giveaways to come.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Winner of 'Finally Free: Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs' is.....!

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We have a winner of the autographed copy of Patty Mason's 'Finally Free: Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs,' as chosen by the Random Number Generator. That blessed individual is.....


Congratulations, Janice! I will be emailing you shortly for your address.

Patty made this generous offer. I encourage you to take advantage of it!:

I am overwhelmed with emotion as I read the comments many of you have left. I am so moved in my heart that I would like to offer anyone who does not win the free copy of the book to contact me personally at so I can offer you a special book price of $5.00 per book +s/h. (Reg. price is $8.99) 
So many of the things you all are sharing I've been through and talk about in the book through my story. Be encouraged and know that I am praying for each of you. 
With a heart full of love for you,

Thanks again to Patty for writing such a wonderful book and sharing her heart in the process! She is truly a beautiful person inside and out!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Common English Bible - First Sunday of Lent Readings + Bible Giveaway!

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Please enjoy this beautiful slideshow offering readings for this first Sunday of Lent from the Common English Bible.

As part of the 'Change Your Heart and Life' blog tour, I am offering a paperback copy of the complete Common English Bible (Old and New Testament), courtesy of the Common English Bible Committee.

To enter, please leave a comment here, telling me why you'd like this Bible translation on your nightstand. Please leave a email address so I can contact you. 

The deadline for entry is Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. The winner will be announced here on Sunday, March 4, 2012, as chosen by the Random Number Generator. Thanks!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lenten Slideshow for Your Church or Personal Use

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Here we are in the first week of Lent. I have been blogging about the new Common English Bible, an awesome new translation. They have prepared a slideshow for the Sundays of Lent. You can take a peek at them here.

As part of the 'Change Your Heart and Life' blog tour, I am able to give away a paperback copy of this new translation every week of the blog tour, courtesy of the Common English Bible Committee.

To enter, please leave a comment, including your email address, telling me why you'd like a copy of this user-friendly new translation.

The deadline to enter is Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm. The winner, who will be chosen by the Random Number Generator, will be announced here on Sunday, February 26, 2012. The best to all of you!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Check Out This Link to Look Up Bible Passages in the Common English Bible!

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For those of you who are curious about the new Common English Bible translation that I have been blogging about as part of the 'Change Your Heart and Live' blog tour, there is a website set up where you can go and look up any Bible passage. You can check up your favorite verse here.

One of my favorites is Philippians 4:13; check it out:

I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength. (CEB

If you like what you see (!!), you can enter to win a Common English Bible paperback copy of your own, courtesy of the Common English Bible Committee. Just leave a comment here at this post. The deadline for entry is Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm. The Random Number Generator will choose a winner on Sunday, February 26, 2012.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who Does God Love?

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I love this truth!

Who does God love? from Common English Bible on Vimeo.

The Common English Bible is a great new translation! If you'd like your own copy, please leave a comment here! I will be giving away one paperback copy this week, courtesy of the Common English Bible Committee. 

Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!

Deadline for entry is Saturday, February 25 at 11:59 pm. A winner will be chosen by the Random Number Generator on Sunday, February 26, 2012. Blessings to you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten Readings from the Common English Bible + Bible Giveaway!

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Recently, I discovered a very solid Bible translation, the Common English Bible. I am happy to be part of their blog tour for Lent.

Please check out this slideshow featuring readings for today and the Sundays in Lent, including Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday.

As part of this blog tour, I am able to offer a paperback copy of this wonderful Bible, thanks to the Common English Bible Committee. To enter, please leave a comment offering your opinion on this translation. Please make sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you win.

The deadline for entry is Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be chosen by the Random Number Generator. All the best to you!

Winner of 'Conquering Your Goliaths' Is!

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We have a winner of 'Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones' by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones, thanks to the Random Number Generator

Congratulations to Kendra! I will be getting in touch with you shortly. Thanks for stopping by!

For those of you who are interested in reading this interesting book, you can order your very own copy here.

Many thanks to Kathryn for providing her book for this giveaway! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Author and Book Info Post – Thom Hunter’s “Who Told You You Were Naked?” The Counterfeit Compassion of Culture + Book Giveaway!

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Yesterday, I shared on my blog a guest post by Thom Hunter, entitled ‘Christians and Sex: The Deafening Silence.’ I found it to be powerful; it ‘forced’ me to question my views on a number of topics. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Today, I want to share with you more information on “Who Told You You Were Naked?,” as well as sharing Thom’s autobiography.

Here is the synopsis of Thom’s latest book:

Truth Hope Faith Grace "Who Told You You Were Naked?" is for men and women who seek freedom through Christ from the bondage of sexual sin. Thirsting for lasting freedom? Searching for truth? Crying out for uncompromised compassion? Yearning to move beyond shame and guilt? Ready for restoration? Sexual sin -- whether it manifests itself as homosexuality, sexual addiction, pornography, lust, idolatry, or adultery -- wreaks havoc. It can destroy the broken one and devastate the lives of family members and friends close enough to feel the impact of the personal implosion. Our 21st Century enlightenment leads us down a very dark path. In the interest of compassion, we re-define marriage, re-manufacture the military, re-shape education to focus on sexual identity, re-define the family, and refrain from sharing the truth. Christians are like the cowardly lion whose courage vanishes in the presence of a louder voice. As a result, Christians who struggle with sexuality either go into hiding or into the arms of the counterfeit compassionate culture. People who are not Christians, but are looking for answers to sexual problems, see the church as irrelevant, not as a place to find hope and restoration. While Christians debate whether it is too painful to be truthful or too compromising to be compassionate, culture doles out anesthetics and everyone goes numb or plays dumb. As a result, culture assumes the mantle of compassion and Christians seem loveless and fearful, judgmental and condemning. “Who Told You You Were Naked?” reminds us that God restores and rebuilds based on His never-changing truth rather than by surrendering His people to the whims of ever-changing cultural chaos. In the midst of all this chaos, there is truth, if we can find the courage to share it and the compassion to voice it. "Who Told You You Were Naked?" not only does that, but it shows the reader how he can as well. It will make a difference in the lives of men and women who want to be free from the bondage of whatever sexual struggle has enveloped them.

Here is Thom’s autobiography, as seen on his blog, ‘Signs of a Struggle:’ 

I am a married father of five who has fought and fallen and risen again to fight against same-sex attraction. It's been a long and difficult journey and my desire now is to encourage others not to give up, but to press on. I've moved beyond excuses to claiming responsibility and therefore power through the Grace of God, who knows me and walks with me. I believe that the church should be the place where those who struggle with sexual brokenness find hope and healing and support as they journey into freedom.

And here is additional information from his Amazon page:

Thom Hunter is the director of BridgeBack Ministries, based in Norman, Oklahoma. He shares the truth with compassion and encouragement for individuals and families who struggle with sexual and relational brokenness, particularly within the church and in Christian families. Thom and Lisa have been married for more than 35 years. He is available to speak to your church or group. Contact him at

Thom has generously offered to give away a copy of “Who Told You You Were Naked?” here; thanks, Thom! In order to enter, please leave a comment (including your email address, in this form – yourname at domain dot com) telling us why you want to win this book.

The deadline to enter is Friday, March 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. The winner will be chosen by the Random Number Generator on Saturday, March 3, 2012. The best to all of you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Blog Post - 'Christians and Sex: The Deafening Silence' by Thom Hunter

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Today's guest post by Thom Hunter is very provocative. The title says it all. Please take some time to read this and give it some careful thought.

'Christians and Sex: The Deafening Silence' 

By Thom Hunter

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing and perfect will. -- Romans 12:2

I always wanted to sing, but never had any confidence in my voice, nor did I ever learn to read music.  Still, that didn't discourage me from joining the First Baptist Church youth choir.  The summer trips were great; the youth musicals inspiring, the snack suppers worth the effort.  The choir sounded great too, but I can take no credit for that.  I did not want to be heard, so I kept my voice so low it couldn't have added much,

If I got a little too loud in practice and Mr. Shadle would hear a bass off key, he would silence all the tenors, altos and sopranos and ask the bass guys to sing alone, walking back and forth in front of us, leaning in with a hand cupped over his ear.  He never found me; I would just mouth the words as he approached and let the other guys carry the weight for all the sound.  I made the choice to have no voice.  I didn't contribute much to the singing and, because I was hiding, I never got the instruction Mr. Shadle might have given me, so I really still can't sing on key . . . at least not on purpose.

When it comes to the chorus of sexual chaos into which this current generation is falling, I think a lot of Christians have made the choice to have no voice, opting to let others carry the tune.  Many Christians are choosing cowardice over courage; callousness over compassion; indifference over love; comfort in ignorance over strength in truth.

What are we afraid of?

Recent headlines paint a picture of a nation obsessed with sex, not in the way of the google-eyed fraternity beer-boys in weekend football commercials, but in a disastrous dead-end way diminishing individuals and dealing death.  Indeed, we're beginning to see life basically defined by sexual identity, a dwindling down of self-worth that leads to division and judgment . . . and endless pain.  And Christians, if they're not just sitting it out on the sidelines are too often speaking harshly and arrogantly, putting more distance between them and ones who need them. Sadly, some of the most judgmental people in public may not regularly be in church, but they often cite scripture and portray themselves as advocates of righteousness.

So, what is true?  The truth is that, scripturally, any sex outside of a marriage covenant between one man and one woman for life is a sin. The truth is that Christ died for all sinners, sexual or otherwise.  The truth is that people who are confused about their sexuality and think themselves gay, or people who find themselves addicted, or people who find themselves giving into temptations, having sex with the same sex, lusting after someone other than their spouse, staring at pornography on their computers, fantasizing . . . are people who, like you, were made in the image of him, and like you -- and all other sheep -- have gone astray. 

The truth is, they are as loved by God as you are . . . and the truth is when one of them jumps off a bridge, or leaves a spouse, or hides in a closet, or moves into a dangerous and misdirected lifestyle, we should weep and pray . . . not point and parade in our own over-rated righteousness.

Maybe we're afraid of looking tolerant, so we settle for looking ignorant instead.  But . . . tolerance does not necessarily mean agreement.  Being tolerant of others is not a compromise of our own beliefs, it is a demonstration that we know and understand that sin can and will wrap itself around the mind and heart and soul, and only Christ can break those bonds.  We're not privileged to know how and when He will do so, so we continue on in hope and love.  If we demonstrate our conviction that a relationship with Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with God, then we need to tolerate people we disagree with and be prepared to witness to them . . . and we can do so without endorsing their ideas. If our personal convictions are true and strong, they are not endangered.

When it comes to sex, we don't much teach and we don't much preach.  And we certainly don't reach, as in out.  While our pews on Sunday have their share of pornography addicts and same-sex strugglers, rare is the church where any effort is made at all to provide a safe place for confession, accountability and repentance.  To most of the sexually-broken, church looks more dangerous than a dark corner in a Mafia-run Mexican village.  Our message is simple:  "Just don't.  And if you already do, don't tell us."  We have some "don'ts" who will and will never look for help.  We have some "already do's" who would die before revealing.  And some of them are dying inside within easy reach of the light.

Are we obsessing about sex?  Consider these telling events where some of the crucial decisions of life were determined by sexual intrusion:
A judge declared that "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" should not be enforced in the military, no matter what the military itself or the American people think.

A high school coach in Main steps down after accidentally posting nude photos of himself on Facebook, an account open to his students.

President Obama declares that contraceptives and morning-after pills must be covered across the board, regardless of religious beliefs of employers and providers, including Catholic Church organizations, thus setting up a major battle between church and state.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who is married, was accused of sending sexual messages and naked photos to a female sports reporter and other women.

Bishop Eddie Long, leader of a 25,000-member megachurch in Atlanta, faces accusations he sexual coerced four men, former parishioners.

The U.S. Supreme Court took up a free speech case against Westboro Baptist Church, an independent "church" group that protests outside military funerals with signs that say "God Hates Fags."

More states legalize same-sex marriage, prompting petition drives to change state constitutions to make the marriages illegal, bringing deep divisions into view.

At least five teenagers across the country recently committed suicide after being taunted as allegedly gay.  One young man in my own hometown of Norman allegedly went home after a public City Council meeting recently where an ordinance to celebrate GLBT was debated and he shot himself in the head.  The remarks made at the meeting were demeaning and callous, with no regard for who might be harmed by the painful condemnation.

Authorities arrested 10 people in the Bronx, N.Y., in connection with the brutal assault of two teens and an adult who police say were tortured for being gay.

Porn filming was put on hold because a major porn "star" is infected with the HIV virus. According to Family Safe Media, a new porn film is shot every 39 minutes in the United States alone, and more than 50% of Christians report that pornography is a significant problem in their homes.

Teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease rates continue to rise. Statistics show that more than 60% of teens have had intercourse before high school graduation.

The U.S. Customs Service reports there are more than 100,000 Internet sites offering child pornography.

Scan the Internet and you will find countless more headlines about sex.  And while the bullying of the gay teens has brought that particular issue to the forefront and created a sense of sensitivity, the underlying issue is the fact that the church has ceded sexuality to culture.  
Christians may not condone what once would have been considered a sexual revolution, but has now become our sexualized reality . . . but we are accomplices in our silence, from the pulpit, in our homes, in our own lives. We're not adequately putting forth an alternative for those who are trying to find their identity through sex.  And we're not showing grace to those who have fallen into one of Satan's most attractive traps.  We leave them thirsting, we scrimp on forgiveness, we withhold entry on the only path to redemption because, why?  We're afraid we'll get tainted?  Misunderstood?  Labeled as either tolerant or intolerant or as moral bigots?  What tender hearts we have become toward ourselves, even as we have hardened our hearts toward others. Surely we cannot be satisfied to let Ellen and Oprah handle this. Let's not assuage our guilty feelings by watching coverage of candlelight vigils for the ones who took their own lives in despair, not when we are called to be the light.
Woe is me is not an expression of faith.

Too many Christians gather together to lament the fact that the world -- somewhere out there -- is going to hell in a hand-basket.  We shake our heads back and forth with pained expressions, declaring the sexual perversion of the modern day must be a sign of the end times. For some, sexual brokenness may well usher in their personal end time, as they find themselves drowning in sexual addictions down the street from the sanctuary door. If we really believe the end is near, should we not be working ever harder to take them with us?
Truth Should Trump Tradition

Some Christians have ingrained Leviticus 18:22 so deeply into their spiritual psyches that they cannot find any room to combine it with the slightest vision of love and grace and forgiveness and healing.  Dismissing the sexually broken homosexual with a lifted chin and the word abomination, they live in a world dominated by their memories of "Daddy says all homos go to hell" and that settles it.  Why can't they reach out to the ones they would so easily condemn and quote 1 Corinthians 6:11?  "And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
Toss the Winnie the Pooh Routine

There's too much head-scratching "What's a bear to do?" and not enough "I love you."  Why do we find it so difficult to love someone who struggles with sex?  Somehow we’ve forgotten that we can show compassion without compromising truth. If we show love, we open doors.  If we open doors, we enter lives.  If we enter lives, we have a chance to speak the truth of God's grace to heal and restore all of the broken.  Why do we determine that some brokenness is beneath us and beyond God?   There's too much hand-wringing and too little hand-folding; too much pointing and too little praying.  And, when we pray about something, should we not also ask God what He might want us to do about it?  As in "do."
Quit Hiding Behind the Smokescreen of Indoctrination

We so often point fingers at the media, the entertainment industry, educators, liberal lawmakers, college campuses and say they are indoctrinating our youth. Why are our youth not already indoctrinated with the doctrines of our beliefs?  Why are they so easily taken down in cultural challenges?  We make jokes about having "the talk" with our children and yet, by the time some parents get around to it, the child has moved beyond the talk . . . to the touch.
We are too silent.

We have forgotten that a life lived well is a demonstration stronger than any indoctrination.  We have forgotten that personal demonstration day-to-day has greater influence than parades on Pride Day.  We have forgotten that we are to love our neighbor. We have forgotten that it is that very love by which we are to be identified.

If we are Christians and we are not hurting for others because of what we see, then we have allowed the influence of culture to make us indifferent. If we are hurting, and we are doing nothing, we have allowed culture to make us impotent.

How much longer will we pretend to be a mighty choir, but only mouth the words?

It may be that your church is an exception to the rule when it comes to providing a biblical, truthful and compassionate response to the sexually-broken.  If that is so, I hope you will leave a comment below to serve as an encouragement for other Christians to step forward and stand with no rocks in their hands, as Christ would.

What programs does your church have in place to help the sexually-broken?  Who in your church has been trained to counsel the boy or girl, man or woman, who struggles with homosexual temptation to help them find support?  What are the materials and where is the support for the porn-addicted Christians in your church?  What is your church's position on restoring an adulterer?  Who will you go to at your church for counseling if your son or daughter says "I'm gay?"  And, are you ready if your brother in Christ comes to you and says he is struggling with sexual addiction and needs your help?

Wait.  Is that silence?


Thanks so much, Thom, for providing this powerful and thought-provoking post for my blog reader! 

Please come back tomorrow to learn more about Thom's book, '"Who Told You You Were Naked?" The Counterfeit Compassion of Culture' and your chance to win a copy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

‘Mornings with Jesus 2012: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul’ by Various Authors – Book Review and Book Giveaway

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I can think of no better way to start your morning than to spend it with Jesus. ‘Morningswith Jesus 2012: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul’ offers a fantastic tool to help readers to grow closer to Him.

Here is the synopsis of this wonderful book:

        Invite Jesus into your Day.
“Be Still and Know That I am God” is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible. But it’s not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus 2012 will help usher you into the quiet that you crave, where you can experience more of Jesus’ beautiful and powerful presence.
In a year’s worth of devotions, Mornings with Jesus 2012 offers a fresh perspective of who this Healer, Comforter, Good Shepherd and Son of God is, and gives a deeper understanding of what that means for you.
The warm and friendly voices of seven women reflect on the character and teachings of Jesus, and encourage you to draw near to Him and invite His presence, truth and relevance into your life. Each devotion includes a Scripture verse, an insightful reflection on Jesus’ words, wisdom, compassion and comfort, and a faith step that will inspire and challenge you.
Spend time with Jesus in the morning, and experience His nearness and peace throughout your day.

Here is a short biography of each author:

Judy Baer was born on a farm and grew up in the prairies of North Dakota. Judy is married, lives in Minnesota, and has two daughters and three stepchildren. She is the author of more than seventy-five books.

Gwen Ford Faulkenberry lives and writes in the mountains of Ozark, Arkansas. She and her husband, Stone, have three children. Gwen teaches English at Arkansas Tech University – Ozark Campus and is the author of two novels and three devotional books.

Tricia Goyer is a best-selling author who has written more than twenty-seven books. Tricia’s intention is to serve ordinary women by encouraging extraordinary things with God’s help. In addition to writing, she enjoys sharing Jesus’ love through volunteering as a mentor for teenage moms in her community and ministering in the Czech Republic on missions trips. Tricia and her husband, John, have four children and live in Arkansas.   

Sharon Hinck is a wife and mother of four, who loves spending mornings – and all day – with Jesus. She has a master of arts in communications and her award-winning novels explore ordinary women on extraordinary faith journeys.

Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of many devotionals, including Simple Compassion and Oxygen. She writes and speaks to help people slow down, simplify, and rest so that they can listen to God. She and her husband, Scot, live with their teenage son and daughter in Illinois.

Erin Keeley Marshall is the author of Navigating Route 20-Something and The Daily God Book. She was raised in Chicago’s western suburbs and graduated from Taylor University in Indiana. In her spare time, Erin enjoys exercise, outdoor activities, lake living, decorating, traveling, reading and hanging out with her husband, Steve, and their two children, Paxton and Calianne.

Camy Tang grew up in Hawaii and now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and her rambunctious mutt, Snickers. She is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of the Sunday worship teams. Camy has authored many novels.

I like to review devotional books by focusing on significant dates in my life – February 21 (my birthday), my anniversary (June 10), and my husband, Fred’s, birthday (June 12).

February 21’s devotion was written by Judy Baer and feature Hebrews 6:17-18. I love this paragraph:

In God there is no variation or shadow due to change. There are no discrepancies or inconsistencies in God. People are fickle, changeable and unpredictable, but God is exactly the opposite. He never changes or takes back His offer of grace and salvation. Difficult as it is to imagine this great generosity, we can hold it as true. God does not – cannot – renege on His promises. What a comfort that is. Our salvation does not depend on a fickle God but one whose promises endure forever. (p. 52)

That is one encouraging paragraph!

June 10 was written by one of my favorite authors, Tricia Goyer and features Luke 5:18-20, about the paralyzed man. This inspired Tricia to write about her friends and her Lord:

I know now that when I’m facing a struggle I don’t want anyone to know about, that’s the time I need to seek support from the people God has brought into my life. It’s hard to admit weakness, but true friends are those willing to carry us when we’re too weak to take a first step. (p. 162)

The Faith Step (which is included each day) for June 10 is very impactful – and wonderful advice:

Think of a private struggle you haven’t shared with your friends. Consider a way you can confess to them and ask them to help you find Jesus even in your weakness. (p. 162)

Tuesday, June 12 features Exodus 3:14: “I Am Who I Am” (NIV). Erin Keeley Marshall asks the question, ‘Who does God think He is anyway?’ She provides her answer to this question:

After spending thousands of years showing His awesome character, God the Father introduced His Son, Jesus, to the world. Jesus, in turn, proved that He is just like His Father – knowing exactly who He is and what He is about. He said He has the authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6), He would be in the grave for three days (Matthew 12:40), He commands angels (Matthew 13:41), He is the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16-17), and He would rise from the dead (Luke 18:31-33).
Imagine if any Person of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – were not wholeheartedly confident of His identity. What kind of God would He be? Not one we could trust, that’s for sure.
Today be confident that Jesus will continue to be Himself. (p. 164)

I love finding a worthwhile devotional book; ‘Mornings with Jesus 2012’ is certainly that. I encourage anyone to spend the rest of their mornings in 2012 with Jesus and this heartfelt and encouraging book.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Guideposts and provided by them for review and giveaway purposes.

As part of the LitFuse blog tour, I have a copy of this wonderful devotional to give to one person! In order to enter, please leave a comment telling me if you’d keep for book for yourself or to whom you would gift the book.

Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – yourname at domain dot com.

The deadline to enter is Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.  The winner will be chosen by the Random Number Generator on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. The best to all of you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

‘Finally Free: Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs’ by Patty Mason – Book Review + Giveaway!

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As is the case with a multitude of people in this country (and worldwide, for that matter), I have had bouts of depression. It is so debilitating. My lovely friend, Patty Mason, has written a book about her journey with depression – and her deliverance from it – in ‘Finally Free: Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs.’

Here is the synopsis of this impactful book:

If you are suffering from depression there is HOPE! Millions are suffering, facing an onslaught of pain and despair that seems unending. Countless individuals are trapped under the weight of depression. Where is help? Where are the answers? Can freedom ever be theirs again?
Patty Mason knows the pain and devastation of depression, but she is no longer in that dark place! Her passion and deep-seated conviction to help others learn the truth and break the cycle, compelled Patty to extend hope by earnestly sharing her story of how she became Finally Free, Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs.
Learn to:

·         Find hope and freedom from emotional bondage
·         Let go of a painful past and move forward
·         Get to the root of depression pain
·         Recognize that your pain has purpose

Here is the biography of this author:

Patty Mason is an award-winning author, speaker, and the founder of Liberty in Christ Ministries. She has been teaching, mentoring and inspiring women of all ages through her writings and her talks. Patty has reached audiences all over the world through Sisters on Assignment, ChristianTV, Salem Communications Network Channel Light Source, and as a co-host on WLGT Blog Radio Live.

Patty was recently on the ‘700 Club.’ Here is her amazing story:

In the Preface, Patty shares what she hopes for her book and its readers:

As you read my story, my hope is that you will discover renewed strength, courage and determination – that you will find hope and freedom from your emotional hurt. Let my experience inspire you to let go of a painful past, to move forward, and to get to the root of your depression. Permit my story to bring you to comfort in the midst of your suffering. (p. 3)

One paragraph in particular in the book could have been written by me; I could definitely related to Patty’s struggle:

The consequences of my suppressed emotions surfaced for the first time when I turned thirteen, and for years I lashed out at everyone around me, even those I loved. In what seemed like a flash, I went from being a sweet, shy, soft-spoken child to an angry teenager full of resentment. I was very sensitive, so my feelings were easily hurt, which I released through fits of fury. I could no longer contain all those years of fear, hurt, and abuse. Like a dam breaking, the raging river burst through my broken heart, and wiped out anyone or anything in its path. (pp. 9-10)

Another area where I could relate to Patty’s journey is her belief in the world’s lies:

When I assumed the world’s way of doing things would define me as a person, and who I was meant to be, I set the stage for the ultimate sense of unhappiness. It felt awful to have put all of my hopes and dreams into something I thought would deliver great reward, only to find out that the rug had been pulled out from under me.
What should have been my greatest journey toward satisfaction, turned out to be my worst nightmare. Nothing made me whole; nothing gave me the sense of life, love and purpose I was frantically searching for. From the time I was 18, I searched for life, love and happiness in all the wrong places. In an attempt to find myself – I lost myself. I didn’t have a clue where to turn. I didn’t know where to look anymore. (pp. 28-29)

Patty gave her life to Jesus one day, and she shares how He changed her life:

From the day Jesus came into my life, the relationship we share has continued to grow closer and deeper. As a result, I have found meaning in life and a reason to live. I found purpose. My life has direction; a true sense of determination that is leading me down paths I never dreamed I would take. For example, if you told me, prior to the depression, I would one day be an author and speaker, and be involved in women’s ministry, I probably would have laughed. Even though I didn’t see myself this way, God did. He knew the plans he had for me long before I was born. He knew what he desired to accomplish in my life, and he knew the path I would have to take to find my way to those purposes. God knew, from the beginning, how to win my heart, draw me close to him, and bring me into the plans he had for me. (pp. 59-60)

After salvation, we aren’t immediately transformed; it is usually an ongoing process. One area that we need to focus on is forgiving those who have hurt us:
Harboring any wrongdoing in your heart will eat away at you like a cancer. Harboring an offense, carrying it in your heart like a bitter memory, will keep you locked in an emotional prison. So, even though none of this may be your fault, forgiveness is an important step toward finding freedom and being released from the past. (pp. 76-77)

I found this book to be powerful and geared to help heal people by pointing them to the only real source of complete restoration – Jesus. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has suffered from depression or who have friends and loved ones who are or were suffering – and that includes a high percentage of the population. I appreciate Patty for baring her soul this way, and using her trials for the good of others.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Patty in Nashville last April along with our mutual dear friend, Charlotte Hunt and the equally lovely SherylGriffin (both of whom are mentioned in her book and its Acknowledgement pages). You can read my review of Charlotte’s ‘Damaged Goods’ here, and Sheryl’s ‘Scarlet Cord of Hope’ here.Here is a photo of the five of us (my husband, Fred; me (please disregard my unfortunately placed fanny pack….), Charlotte, Patty & Sheryl). It was a lovely morning, and I look forward to meeting the three of them again someday!

You can order this book here.

This book was generously provided by the author for review and giveaway purposes.

Patty has generously offered a copy of her amazing book to one blessed person; and she will personally autograph it for you if you’d like! In order to enter, please leave a comment telling us why you’d LOVE to win this book. Please also feel free to ‘write’ to Patty, as she will be visiting the blog during the giveaway period to read comments.

Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – yourname at domain dot com.

The deadline to enter is Monday, February 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.  The winner will be chosen by the Random Number Generator on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. The best to all of you!

Friday, February 10, 2012

‘Not In The Heart’ by Chris Fabry – Book Review

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Over the two + years that I have been reviewing books on my blog, I have read many incredible books (several hundred, as a matter of fact). The latest, ‘Not In The Heart’ by Chris Fabry, ranks at the top.

Here is the synopsis of this amazing novel:

Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless…until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline – the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.
As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

Here is the biography of this author:

Chris Fabry is the 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia. He is heard on Moody Radio’s Chris Fabry Live!, Love Worth Finding, and Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. He and his wife, Andrea, are the parents of nine children and live in Arizona. Chris has published more than seventy books for adults and children. His book Dogwood won a Christy Award in 2009. In 2011 Almost Heaven won the 2011 Christy Award in the Contemporary Standalone category and the ECPA award for fiction.

Here is the book trailer for this extremely compelling novel:

I was intrigued by how Truman describes the Christian faith:

Religion has always seemed an opiate to me, something to numb a person to reality. But as I stared at the newspaper article, processing the past few days, it seemed that certain people in my life were in prison and others weren’t. Ellen [his wife] was entombed in a hospital. Terrelle [the man on death row] was locked up tight in maximum security. And yet both of them had a freedom I didn’t. I wasn’t bound by physical constraints, yet I felt more subdued than both. That was not an easy truth to acknowledge, and I wouldn’t have made the connection without a heavy dose of introspection that comes on the gaming floor when you have lost your last two hundred dollars that was really a birthday present from the grandparents. (pp. 147-148)

Later on in the book, he elaborated on his view of Jesus and Christians:

I’m not a student of Jesus. From what I understand, he was a good 
teacher and promoted peace and love. My problem is his followers. Most think they know how everybody else ought to live. They whip the truth around like a scalpel and wave it at homosexuals and adulterers, until a pastor is caught with a prostitute. Then they talk about forgiveness and restoration. Either that or they hang their own guy and hire another.
I know that’s being hard on Jesus, because there are some of his people who aren’t jerks, like Ellen. She tries to love people as they are and not who she wants them to be. Take me, for instance. I’m hard to love. I admire her Herculean efforts. (p. 328)

Truman had a huge gambling problem; this addiction overtook his life when he allowed himself to indulge (which was often). I can also have an addictive personality to a certain extent, so it was interesting to hear Truman’s mindset (via Mr. Fabry’s eloquent prose):

It’s hard to describe the compulsion to someone who has never experienced it. It’s like when the carnival barker gives you three darts to pop two balloons, and you can’t stop buying darts because all you can think of is that other balloon and how easy it will be to take the big doll home if you just spend two more dollars on another dart. Only I wasn’t spending dollars, I was spending thousands, which made the high even better. The bigger the risk, the more adrenaline, the better the feeling, the greater the rush. (pp. 56-57)

Mr. Fabry wanted to hear from bloggers to learn who is Truman in their life. I personally don’t have a Truman; for that, I am grateful! I don’t have a person with addiction in my life, but I do have people that I pray for on a regular basis. The main reason is to hope that the Lord will save them and change them from the inside out. There is one person in particular. The Lord has not reached this person yet, but I am still holding out hope that this person will ‘see the light’ before it is too late. I pray that any hypocrisy in my life (as Truman alluded to on the quote from page 328 above) does not keep this person from the Lord. I do know that it is the Lord who saves, not me. Still, I want my behavior not be a deterrent to anyone.

I had the great opportunity to read Chris’ last novel, ‘Almost Heaven’ (you can read my review here). I was mesmerized by that novel and knew I wanted to get on the blog tour for ‘Not In The Heart.’ I was not disappointed! Mr. Fabry is an amazingly talented writer! This book exceeded my expectations. There was a twist at the end that I was NOT expecting!

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Tyndale House and provided by the B & B Media Group for review purposes. I have an Advance Reader Copy; the page numbers in the final product may not exactly match.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tail Wags Helmet Covers: Play It Safe!

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One of the advantages of living in the Metro Detroit area is living so close to Canada. One of my favorite TV programs is on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) - it's titled ‘Dragon’s Den,’ and features Canadian entrepreneurs who are ‘pitched’ by fellow entrepreneurs to invest in their new business ventures.

One 'pitch' that really intrigued me lately was the Tail-Wags Helmet Cover Company, based in Toronto. You can watch the ‘Dragon’s Den’ pitch here:

Here is a video featuring these adorable – and safe! – products:

These helmet covers are perfect for adults and children alike! You can use them on bike helmets or ski helmets or any other helmet in between; I’m trying to decide which one to order for my bike helmet, as well as Fred's!! 

If you think this is a neat idea, please feel free to check out their website   and place your order today! 

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