The beautiful “The Secret Garden Devotional” ~ this is one you’ll want for your own quiet times! (review & GA, ends 12/7/22)

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If you are anything like me (and I’m guessing you might be, since I’m clearly a book lover and you must be as well, if you’re reading this post), you adore good fiction in its many forms. The the book-loving pump was primed for me when much-loved relatives read me storybooks over and over, from my tiny child years on. When I learned to read to myself, it was if a door for joy and delight opened in my life. And, I never looked back.

I remember clearly the effect the book, The Secret Garden, had on me. Despite the fact that it starts with a tragedy and its protagonist is (at the beginning at least) an unlikable little girl–this classic masterwork of literature caught me squarely in its lovely narrative and pulled me along in, as Mary Lennox herself might say, its rich Magic. And now, author Rachel Dodge has taken this much-beloved childhood book and created an engaging and inspiring devotional based on it. Keep reading for more (including a giveaway!) plus my own review.

The Secret Garden Devotional JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Secret Garden Devotional by Rachel Dodge, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Secret Garden Devotional

Title: The Secret Garden Devotional Author: Rachel Dodge Publisher: Barbour Release Date: December 6, 2022 Genre: Devotional

Devotional Inspiration from Mary Lennox’s Beautifully Mysterious Secret Garden

The Secret Garden Devotional offers lovely inspiration that explores the themes of faith, family, contentment, wisdom, and joy in the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, cherished by generations of readers. Each reading corresponds with a chapter from the book and invites you to embrace God’s guiding hand in your life as you are becoming His new creation. With themes of growth, spiritual nourishment, God’s love and care, and His transforming power, this beautiful chapter-by-chapter devotional includes original artwork throughout. Each reading includes examples from the novel, scripture, life application, and prayers perfect for groups, book clubs, or personal reflection.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is the bestselling author of the award-winning Anne of Green Gables Devotional, The Little Women Devotional, and Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Rachel’s newest book is The Secret Garden Devotional! Rachel teaches college English classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and book clubs, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen’s World blog. She is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to grow closer to Jesus through prayer and the study of God’s Word. A true kindred spirit at heart, Rachel enjoys books, bonnets, and ball gowns.

Connect with Rachel by visiting racheldodge.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(2) winners will receive a signed copy of The Secret Garden Devotional and a hardcover illustrated copy of The Secret Garden along with a bookmark and stickers.

The Secret Garden Devotional JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 30, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 7, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

My thoughts

Oh my friends. Sometimes there is beauty in books that just makes you stop, ponder, and appreciate. The Secret Garden is one of those books. How fitting that Rachel Dodge’s The Secret Garden Devotional is, as well!

Mary Lennox’s story, although I’d never have realized it when I was a child myself, can be viewed as an archetype of the lives of humans before they step into lives of faith, and during and after that step, as Jesus begins to transform them and make them more like Himself. Mary is (for many understandable reasons) disagreeable, selfish, argumentative; generally quite unlikable! But Mary’s journey doesn’t end with her tragedy. The journey continues to what looks like, at first, an also very disagreeable place; to a huge dark mansion in the middle of forbidding-looking moors. That still isn’t looking so great–but oh, the transformation in Mary as she begins to live her new life! And she’s not the only one who has a transformation. Beautiful change is coming not only for Mary and the humans around her, but for the place she lives as well.

So Rachel takes this lovely story and breaks it down, bit by bit, into devotional illustrations for us, from Mary’s life. She uses Scripture generously to show us the beauty available in the walk of the believer as we see the blossoming of the secret garden at Misselthwaite. Her chapters cover so many things that we face as believers; joy, answered prayers, difficulty, the nearness of our Father–and so much more.

“Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” As a follower of Christ, you now have access to God’s throne of grace. As you come before Him with a humble heart, asking for His will to be done, don’t be bashful–and don’t leave anything out. Go to God with your eager, anxious requests. Run to Him freely and quickly with your every need, with your greatest fears, and with your wildest dreams. Ask Him to expand your territory and give you a “bit of earth” to tend.”

The Secret Garden Devotional, Rachel Dodge

Are you needing a fresh breath of life in your quiet times; a reminder of God’s deep, abiding, indescribable love for you? Then I recommend this lovely book for you. It will encourage and strengthen you even as you are re-established in the beauty available in the life of a Christ-follower; even if you feel that you’ve lost that sense of beauty for awhile. Be reminded that God is for us, and He is always with us. The Secret Garden Devotional will walk with you down that beautiful path where the garden of our soul-lives can be tended, refreshed, and brought back to life by the hand of Jesus, the master Gardener.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“The Marriage Devotional” by Levi and Jennie Lusko: a review

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I have a marvelous new devotional for couples to tell you about today! It’s The Marriage Devotional from Levi and Jennie Lusko. I’ve read books from the Lusko family before, and I’ve so enjoyed their honesty, love, and devotion to Christ. If you’re looking for a wonderful devotional you can do with your spouse, look no further–I think this could be the one you’re looking for!

About this devotional and its authors, from the publisher

Great marriages are made, not born.

This devotional was written by Levi Lusko who is the lead pastor of Fresh Life Church, a multi-site church in Montana and Utah. Author of Swipe Right and Through the Eyes of a Lion.  Together with his wife, Jennie Lusko they created this devotional to help YOUR marriage flourish.  

Levi and Jennie are committed to strong marriages and have been on Focus on the Family to talk about how marriages can and should flourish.
 

In these 52 devotions, Levi and Jennie will point you to God’s word and help you experience a depth and beauty you may have never thought possible. Whether your marriage needs fine tuning, or to be torn back to the studs and be rebuilt, this devotional will help you:

  • Unlock new joy and vibrancy by recognizing there is better beyond the honeymoon phase
  • Uncomplicate conflict as you learn to fight fairly as members on the same team
  • Access Godly wisdom by engaging and staying steady when your marriage doesn’t look the way you thought it would

Perfect for newlyweds and seasoned married couples, this devotional journey will be the encouragement your marriage—not just any marriage—needs to flourish.

God wants you to have a strong, thriving, and fun marriage. Even in the midst of mortgage payments, emotional baggage, drama, mistakes, and a whole lot of laundry, your marriage can not only survive, but be sweet, steady, and strong.

What you’ll find in The Marriage Devotional

I love the subtitle of this book: “52 Days to Strengthen the Soul of Your Marriage.” Because life is BUSY, isn’t it? Work schedules. Kids’ schedules. Bill payments. Extended family relationships. Friendships in town and out of town. And that’s not even including all the screens we live with (you know, on our phones, tvs, tablets, etc.). They are also distracting. And yet, we really do want to find the time to be with our spouses.

The Luskos’ rich devotional is designed to give us that time together, for considering our marriages, for praying together, for looking at Scripture, for considering all the things that make up a union. There are 12 parts of devotional sections, each with 3-5 devotions. Sometimes the portions are written by Jennie, sometimes by Levi, and sometimes by the two together. And these cover a LOT. Such as:

  • Respect
  • Communication
  • Sex
  • Blessings
  • Really *seeing* each other
  • And more

There are prayers to pray together. Questions that will really put you on the spot (which is a good thing, even if it doesn’t sound like it). Spaces to write notes. Conversation starters. Scriptures. Stories. Really fun quotation pages, which have brown backgrounds and white lettering.

All of these are designed to help couples to lovingly dig a little deeper; to go to the spaces below the surface areas we often tend to live. (See that busy-ness paragraph above.) Also, they remind us of the tender and loving things that God thinks about us, about our marriages, and how He, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are right there to help.

My impressions

WHAT a wonderful devotional.

I’ve been married for a minute. And sometimes I can hardly believe that it has been 20-plus years. I feel as though I know my husband pretty well. But in the busy-ness of life, it can happen that conversations might not touch the really deep parts of our souls. We talk about the meals for the week; the work schedule; the tuition schedule for our child’s college; the oil and windshield wiper fluids in our cars. All those things, and more, are parts of our lives and certainly parts we need. What about the care and feeding of our marriages, though; and the soul care of each of us, individually?

The answer to those questions are some that, according to your bent (or Myers-Briggs, or Enneagram types), you may either find easy or difficult to access. That’s part of the reason why I appreciate the Luskos’ book so much. They’re not afraid to dig into the deep parts of caring for our spouses–bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. Just taking the time to read these devotional chapters together, and doing the work of asking and answering the questions, looking at the Scriptures, and praying together–all of these are things that can draw us even closer to each other–and to God.

Here are some of my favorite moments from The Marriage Devotional:

  • “Childlike wonder and enthusiasm start to restore our relationships. And as we lift our eyes to Jesus, we start to see Him in each other. When you look for Jesus, you’ll find Him–and He wants to be found by you (Matthew 7:7-8). He longs to have a relationship with you.” (p. 125)
  • In the prayer on p. 59: “…Help us see that what we have is beautiful and strong. And help us see the potential in us as we create margin in our relationship…”
  • “He’s looking for us to invite Him into every corner of our lives–and also offer Him the ingredients for a miracle. They are always within reach. God uses what we have and, more importantly, what we give Him.” (p. 50)
  • “Once you see the significance of the way you are created, you realize that God is still excited about the detail of who you are and who your spouse is–building you up, individually and together. And your job as a spouse is to stay curious about who you are and what God made you for–and how you and your spouse creatively complement each other. We need to fight to see the significance of our better halves sometimes.” (pp. 305-306)

Doing this devotional together: it’s good and healthy work, in my opinion. And it’s work that can bless you and your spouse, as well as your family overall. It’s personal, and it’s intimate. Spend the time. Ask the questions. And God bless you!

Where you can purchase The Marriage Devotional

You can find The Marriage Devotional at Amazon. Just follow the purchase link below!

Purchase The Marriage Devotional here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions shared here are my own.

Sarah Young’s new devo for kids: “Jesus Listens”

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Many of you might be familiar with Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” series of books and devotionals. They’re filled with words that God speaks over us (and we know that He would say those things, because they’re all from Scripture), in a daily format. What a comfort to hear those loving words, instructions, and wisdom! Now, Sarah has written a similar devotional book for children, except the idea is flipped around. It’s called Jesus Listens, and 365 daily prayers are composed for kids to read to Jesus. And because He is Jesus, readers can know that He does listen! I was thrilled to receive a copy of this, and I’m going to share my thoughts with you below. First, though, more about the book, AND an Instagram giveaway! (ends 11/8/22)

Here’s more from the publisher:

Book Name Jesus Listens: 365 Prayers for Kids

Author Sarah Young

Publisher Tommy Nelson

In this inspiring 365-day book of prayers, Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, helps children talk to God every day.

More about Jesus Listens

Jesus Listens, the bestselling 365-day prayer devotional from Sarah Young, is now available for children. This book invites your children (and you) into an ongoing conversation with God, growing a meaningful prayer life and closer relationship with Him.
In this inspiring 365-day book of prayers, Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, helps children talk to God every day. Kids will learn how to pray honest prayers and know that Jesus is always listening to them. This book will equip parents who want to

  • teach their kids how to pray and talk to God
  • reassure their children that God is always with them
  • help their kids to read Bible verses every day

Children will learn the daily practice of reading God’s Word and talking to Him. They will

  • know that they can talk to Jesus about anything and come to Him when they are afraid, anxious, or worried
  • learn how to thank and praise God and take Him their requests
  • develop the habit of prayer

This inspirational book for kids ages 8 to 12 makes a perfect gift for

  • Christmas
  • birthdays
  • graduation celebrations and back-to-school
  • baptisms, Sunday school awards, or first communions

Jesus Listens: 365 Prayers for Kids is a wonderful tool to help your children read Scripture and pray every day of the year.

Purchase Link #ad

How to enter the giveaway

Giveaway – (5) winners will receive a print copy of the book. This is an Instagram giveaway, so please follow the directions below for your chance to be one of those winners!

TO ENTER

First: ⇒ LIKE, SAVE, and SHARE this Jesus Listens Instagram post

Second: ⇒ FOLLOW me @jesuscalling @tommynelsonbooks @justreadtours

Third: ⇒ TAG a friend (up to 3x per post).

And then, ⇒ VISIT each hosted post of this tour for more entries. Schedule at @justreadtours. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 8, 2022.)

What you’ll find in Jesus Listens

What an incredibly wonderful kids’ devotional!

First, let me tell you about the Jesus Listens format. The devotional contains 365 readings, dated for every day of the year (even February 29). Each devotional has a title and a corresponding verse, followed by a prayer that begins, “Dear Jesus.” Several paragraphs talk about the issues of life a child may experience (like the darkness of the world, personal struggles, realizing that Jesus is indeed with them at every moment). Sarah Young details these issues in the form of prayer but alongside them, proclaims what Scripture says about them, specifically–and ends with thanksgiving and gratefulness. The “Read On Your Own” segment includes four Bible verse addresses that children can look at that were touched upon in each devotional.

So how could a child use this? Since it’s written for ages 8-12, a child could read it alone, praying the words of the devotional aloud or silently. Then, the child can look up the Bible verses and read them. Of course at any time during this quiet time activity, more prayers or Bible verses could be included, since prayer is a back-and-forth activity between God and us! Jesus Listens could be used as a morning devotional or a nighttime one. And, it could also be used as a parent-child activity, with either one taking turns reading paragraphs or Bible verses. It would also be fantastic for homeschooling Bible time. And parents could also use it as a read-aloud devotional time as a family.

It is a wonderful way for children to:

  • learn how to pray
  • understand that prayer is a conversation
  • see that we can pray Scriptures to God
  • most of all, see that the Lord loves His children and wants a close & loving relationship with us all

Some of my favorite moments

I love Sarah’s writing style, where she combines the truths of Scripture in an intimate conversation with the God who made all of us and created us in all the humanness we are: our bodies, minds, emotions, and our will. Sometimes I think we forget that He made us and totally understands us! He delights in us, rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with His love (Zephaniah 3:17). How amazing it is for children to really know that. Jesus Listens can make that happen for your children (and even for parents!).

Here are some of my favorite parts of the Jesus Listens devotional:

  • “You know about every single one of my troubles. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. So please help me not to be afraid of tears–or the troubles that cause them. I know you can use even my problems for good. You’re teaching me to be comforted by the fact that You’re in control. And I’m learning to trust that You know exactly what You’re doing!” (from October 10)
  • “I’m so thankful that You are the God who sees me. You’re training me to look for you too. Help me remember that You are here with me and You’re working in every moment of my life.” (from April 10)
  • “I know You’ll be working on me and making me more like You. You are going to do new things in my life, and I can’t wait to see what they are! I don’t have to think about the past. I don’t have to worry about mistakes I have made or things I wish I had done or said. Today is a fresh start!” (from January 1)
  • And maybe my top fave:
    • “Please teach me to keep looking to You for help–not to myself or the world around me. You have this amazing ability to be with me both right now and in the future, showing me which way to go. When I close my eyes and listen, I can almost hear you whispering, “Follow Me.” (from January 2)

What a precious devotional Jesus Listens is! This book will bless your children and help them know that God is ALWAYS there, listening to and tenderly caring for them. And isn’t that what we all need to know?

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“The Plans He Has for Me” — a review (plus get a Kindle copy for only 99 cents thru 8/30/22)

**this is a sponsored post**

Have I got a devotional for you.

Thanks to FrontGate Media and author Rose Ann Forte, I have enjoyed a rich and meaningful devotional time that has brought me real growth lately. Rose Ann’s book The Plans He Has for Me: A 12-week Daily Devotional For Going Alcohol-Free is just the process that ANYONE, not just those who’d like to get alcohol use under control, can truly benefit from. It is all about building empowering habits that give us life to replace old habits that do the opposite, alongside God and His Word.

Let me tell you more about this exceptional book–and, like the title says, you can get a Kindle copy of the book for only 99 cents through 8/30/22!

About The Plans He Has for Me

The Plans He Has for Me is a twelve-week focused devotional for those who want to rid themselves of the psychological slavery associated with the habit of drinking alcohol.

Each day the reader will receive biblical guidance in the form of scripture, encouragement, and a daily prayer to inspire the creation of new habits, stay the course, and feel the power of the Holy Spirit within.

During these twelve weeks, it will become abundantly apparent how God has a much better plan for anyone after the removal this habit, allowing each to access who He created them to be.

Each day for 12 weeks, participants in this book’s devotional will spend time in:

  • Prayer
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Reading Scripture & a devotional passage
  • Thinking on and writing about that
  • And then, ending in prayer

…and about its author, Rose Ann Forte

Rose Ann Forte was a successful C-Suite Executive and ministry leader in the church. She was a working mom of four and a social drinker. Over the years, life’s stresses and a difficult marriage created an environment where her alcohol usage increased significantly. Her health and emotional well-being suffered greatly. After the collapse of her marriage, her drinking further escalated, and she felt like a fraud with God and the Church. She made many attempts to control it only to later lose control again.

There were aspects of AA that didn’t feel comfortable for her so it was not an option in her mind.
She had already submitted to God and didn’t want to call herself an alcoholic.


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she enrolled in a coaching program to put alcohol to the side for three months. Her experience was extremely transformational, and she recognized God’s instruction embedded in the entire process. She identified what alcohol had stolen from her life and understood that God had a better plan for her. Rose Ann felt called to document what she learned with a daily devotional so others can experience God’s promises through scriptural instruction with hope and a better plan for the future.

My experiences with The Plans He Has for Me

Although alcohol abuse is not my own struggle, I felt intuitively when I first saw The Plans He Has for Me that it would be an incredible guide for my own journey and building new and healthy habits. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that my own struggles were birthed out of a seriously horrible time (awful stress resulting in two required surgeries; one of which literally saved my life). It was such a rough time that I did not rebound from well. My relationship with God was broken (on my end, of course, not His). And my relationships also suffered.

And yet, God. He promises never to leave us or forsake us, doesn’t He (Deuteronomy 31:6). So we have that promise. What I found was that even though I knew that, and so many other verses, I had a hard time believing and applying them to myself. And I became a person I hardly recognized.

Again–but God. He has been in the process of healing me over the years. And there have been many books which have helped me–and The Plans He Has for Me has been a HUGE and remarkable aid. What I have loved about it is that it truly has been guiding me on a much-needed journey. Have you ever known where you wanted to go but didn’t know how to get there? That’s where I was. But Rose Ann (via her book) came alongside me to guide me: in prayer; in developing an eye for things to be thankful for; in thinking of and writing out how the daily Scriptures (and accompanying devotionals) impacted me and where I was each day in my journey of healing and building new habits. I so appreciated this! I had gotten to a point that I abhorred and avoided journaling (just TOO MUCH. And exhausting.). But Rose Ann’s book doesn’t ask for a novel each day; it only directs the reader to think on and be grateful for good things, and to apply Scripture. Even the end prayers of each day are helpful and can give words for moments we might not even know what to ask.

In all, I would compare working through The Plans He Has For Me devotional to meeting with a spiritual mentor who can help you to, in a way, rewrite your life. It assisted me in developing:

  • A more meaningful prayer life
  • Genuine habits that will change me for the better over time
  • Thoughtfulness about what God might be showing me (I’m more of a “feeler,” so this is incredibly important)
  • An enjoyment of journaling, rather than the “overwhelm” and desire to AVOID I’d felt
  • The ability to really slow down what I was doing each day with God
  • And finally–the change I’ve been hoping for and even dreaming of

Where you can purchase The Plans He Has For Me

You can purchase the Kindle version of The Plans He Has For Me for only 99 cents through Tuesday, August 30, 2022. I so highly recommend this book. It can make an incredible difference in your life, whether you’re wanting to deal with alcohol use OR build any other healthful life habits. Just click on the link below to go to the Amazon book page.

Purchase a Kindle copy of the book for only 99 cents at the highlighted link

You never know what God might use to help you to heal or to move forward on your life’s journey. The Plans He Has For Me has become a remarkable and valued companion for me. I’d almost call it a miracle!

Consider whether this book could be right for you. It is worth checking out!

Bless you! –Wren

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post; however, all of my opinions shared here are only my own honest thoughts and experiences.

Free family/parenting devo on YouVersion app from ANM

*this is a sponsored post*

I’ve shared with you about ANM (Advancing Native Missions) materials and products before. Now, I have a fantastic devotional app for families from FrontGate Media and ANM to share with you. It’s available, free, on the YouVersion Bible app. Let me tell you more!

“Leading Your Child on Mission” Bible devotional

FrontGate Media and Advancing Native Missions have worked together to produce this lovely devotional which helps parents teach their children about God and His amazing love for people of every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. It’s available free on the YouVersion Bible app (or via the YouVersion website). It could actually be used as a simply, great-for-all-ages Bible study (that means little ones, too!).

For 5 days, parents and kids can read the devotionals together, then read the Bible verses together. The devotionals are wonderful, user-friendly guides and encouragements for helping parents teach their kids about missions, and what God says about sharing the good news. They include inspiring words, tips and ideas, and thoughts that will help parents take that next step in discipling and training their own kids in spiritual matters.

The verses (about 2-4 per day) are, just like the devotionals, right there in the app or web page. There are many Bible versions that parents can select and also tons of languages to select from (which means it’s perfect for families all over the globe).

There’s some old wisdom that goes something like this: “Find out what God is doing, and join Him.”

“Leading Your Child on Mission,” Day 5

My thoughts about “Leading Your Child on Mission”

I have to admit that this devotional/Bible study hits me right in the “sweet spot!” I love materials that equip us to teach our children about God, His call, and the Bible, as well as how we can share the gospel both here at home and across the world. ANM’s “Leading Your Child on Mission” makes it so easy for parents to teach their kids about how to share God’s love with others. It is simple to follow and to share with little ones–or even older kids. Plus, I love the Scriptures and devotionals. Here are a couple of my favorite moments from this study:

  • “For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven eyes of the Lord, which scan the whole earth, will rejoice…” (Zechariah 4:10, Day 2)
  • “There’s some old wisdom that goes something like this: “Find out what God is doing, and join Him.”” (Day 5)
  • “…After all, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these [little children].” (Day 3)

God loves us all so much. How wonderful if we can communicate that with our children, pass on what we are learning and have learned, and share that love with those God has placed in our lives!

Wonderful devotional. Wonderful help for parents!

Get the “Leading Your Child on Mission” app here

You can access both the website and download the app by clicking on the website below.

“Leading Your Child on Mission” YouVersion app

About Advancing Native Missions (ANM)

You have hope to share. We’re here to help you share it.

Since 1992 ANM has helped individual Christians and local churches get involved in global missions in ways that make sense for them. Because we believe there’s a place for everyone in God’s global mission, even if you can’t travel to distant countries and remote tribes.
https://advancingnativemissions.com/ 

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. All opinions shared here are my own, and honest.

“Coloring God’s Love for Me: 100 Devotions to Inspire Young Hearts” ~ a JustRead Bookstagram & Review Tour (& giveaway, ends 6/13/22)

#sponsor #partner

I’d love to invite you to learn more about Janae Dueck’s wonderful coloring book and devotional for children! Right now, you can even enter a giveaway to win a copy on Instagram (keep reading for more info on how to enter). First, let me tell you some book details about Coloring God’s Love for Me!

About Coloring God’s Love for Me

⇒ Book Name Coloring God’s Love for Me: 100 Devotions to Inspire Young Hearts

⇒ Author Janae Dueck

⇒ Publisher Tommy Nelson

⇒ Purchase Linkhttps://amzn.to/3GEnlBh #ad

Release Date: June 13, 2022
Genre: Children’s, Devotional, Journal, Coloring Book

Hold on to the Bible’s promises of God’s love, care, and protection with this coloring book devotional for kids. Each devotion includes Scripture, a reflection on the verse using kid-friendly examples, and a coloring page that illustrates the promise.

This activity book for kids ages 6 to 9 features

  • 100 promises based on God’s Word that encourage children to trust the Lord no matter what–through exciting adventures, new experiences, anxieties, challenges, and sad times
  • devotions that guide children toward a better understanding of who God is and His loving plans for them
  • illustrations to color on every page that represent the biblical truths in fun, creative ways

Enjoy hours of coloring God’s promises with

  • sturdy paper perfect for markers, gel pens, crayons, or colored pencils
  • short readings great for family and homeschool devotions, kids’ quiet times, or Sunday School lessons
  • notebook-sized pages that fit just right in a backpack or car seat pocket

Kids will love personalizing this keepsake devotional as they color their way through each promise and reflect on God’s goodness. Coloring God’s Love for Me is a hands-on devotional for kids that makes an encouraging gift for summer vacation, birthdays, Christmas, and Easter.

Giveaway

⇒ Giveaway – (2) winners will receive a print copy of the book via this giveaway–head over to Instagram to enter, following the directions below.

⇒  To Enter, LIKE and SAVE this post, FOLLOW these Instagram accounts: @janae.dueck @tommynelsonbooks @justreadtours, and let us know you did in a COMMENT. Add up to 3 friend TAGS in that comment for BONUS entries.

⇒ VISIT each hosted post of this tour for more entries. Schedule at @justreadtours. (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. Instagram is not affiliated with nor responsible for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on June 13, 2022.)

My thoughts about Coloring God’s Love for Me

What an incredibly lovely coloring and devotional journal! And I mean that, not only by the coloring pages in the book, but just as important, with the devotional thoughts and Scriptures that this book is organized around. I am a fan of the Bible journaling and coloring trend that’s been popular for years now; and Janae Dueck takes this trend and makes it accessible and wonderful for younger readers. This book is aimed at the 6-9 year-old age range, but I would say that older readers who enjoy Bible journaling will also enjoy it. (After all–I am a mom, and I loved it!)

In each of the 100 devotions, Dueck begins with a promise, like “Promise 12: God Carries My Worries.” She then offers a Scripture, which is printed on the page under the promise. Then, a devotional expanding on the verse and promise appears on the left side and a line drawing connected to them is on the right side.

The promises touch on many parts of the lives of Christians. Here are some precious promises that kids will love learning:

  • God Keeps His Promises
  • God Heals My Heart
  • I Can Discover Wisdom
  • God Brightens My Life
  • I Can Find Joy in God
  • and lots more!

The coloring pages range from parts of verses (like the book’s last page, modeled on Philippians 4: 19), to simple drawings of animals, to more intricate line drawings with lots of detail. Many times, the theme is echoed on the devotional page, so that coloring can happen on both sides. Children can read and color these devotional drawings on their own, or coloring and reading could easily become part of a parent-child craft and Bible time. Crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, and many markers can be used in this book (although you’ll want to test some markers on unobtrusive pages, just to ensure that you won’t be getting bleed-through).

I am so blessed and encouraged to see that authors, artists, and publishers are creating materials for children to use as they grow in their own faith. I loved the way that Janae Dueck presents ideas and Bible verses for kids, in language and in art form that little minds can comprehend and remember. I recommend Coloring God’s Love for Me for you and your family–especially if you have little ones who love to color and create art. What a beautiful way to weave Scripture into creative moments. Wonderful!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Kids Faith Krate ~ fun, faith, and family togetherness in a box! (a review)

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Recently, FrontGate Media and the Kids Faith Krate ladies sent me a wonderful subscription box that’s perfect for families with little ones! While I love subscription boxes already, I found this one to be unique, well-designed, and something that families will love. Let me tell you more!

What is Kids Faith Krate?

Kids Faith Krate is a monthly subscription box program that’s designed for families to enjoy with their children aged 4-10. Imagined and created by founder Lynsey, who is a former teacher herself, each box contains 4 weeks’ worth of activities (one per week) for parents and children to enjoy together; and learn about God as they do so.

Lynsey understood that parents may not always know how to teach children about God, faith, and the particulars of Christian discipleship. She developed Kids Faith Krate as a means for families to experience God and the Bible together, with Bible readings, Q&As, and a wonderful variety of activities designed to help children learn the life of faith.

Each month, the Kids Faith Krate boxes include (the photo above is an example of what a Kids Faith Krate can include):

  • Four weekly fun and interesting Bible lessons for parents and kids to do together
  • Four crafts which go along with each week’s lessons
  • A new stamp for kids to add to their Kids Faith Krate Stamp Collection as they complete Bible verse memorization

The subscription boxes are designed to contain activities for 1-3 children (if you have additional kids, you can add them to your subscription for just a slightly higher price).

Each month, the contents of the subscription box will have a different theme connected to faith and discipleship. They are Bible-based but not connected to any particular denomination.

My thoughts

Did you ever love attending Vacation Bible School as a child yourself? Kids Faith Krate reminded me of the best and most beautiful aspects of that–except that here, you get the joy of doing the discipleship activities with your own child, instead of someone else getting to do them!

The Bible teachings are fantastic. Although there is a main verse that connects each week’s activities, the Bible lessons cover specific stories in the Bible, or here, as in the last week, some of its instructive verses. The accompanying booklet is like a lesson plan for the whole month as well as for each week. The first page of the booklet provides an instruction manual (even though it’s only two pages long) that tells the parent how to use the Bible lessons and the activities. Most important, it encourages families to read the Bible together, talk about God’s Word, and to pray together. What wonderful habits for us to develop!

I loved the variety of the activities too. The box I received contained: a cooking activity (with a cool craft that all ages will love doing); a coloring and sort of “mystery” activity that will bring to life one of Jesus’s miracles; a blanket craft for little hands to tie together; and a stickers-and-cardboard ornament. Each of these is something that parents can do with the children or that kids can do on their own. (A parent will need to provide ingredients for the cooking activity, but they’re all items that can be found already in most pantries.) Other than that, everything is included in the box. (You’ll need your own Bibles, however!)

I absolutely loved the Kids Faith Krate that we received. The activities, the Bible lessons, and the conversation and prayer ideas were wonderful and so encouraging. Even if parents wouldn’t consider themselves to be Bible teachers, the box’s contents and plan will enable anyone to follow these faith-building activities. And, to thoroughly enjoy them with their children!

How to subscribe to Kids Faith Krate

You can purchase a subscription and learn more about this wonderful company by clicking on this link:

Kids Faith Krate

Kids Faith Krate offers a variety of plans (monthly, 3-month, 6-month, and yearly) that are great for families. And, Kids Faith Krate has a special offer for you…below!

Here’s a coupon for $10 off your first box!

You can receive $10 off your first Kids Faith Krate box! Just use the code campinabox when you purchase your subscription.

Thanks for letting me share with you about this lovely, faith- and fun-building subscription service. What fun for families!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a Kids Faith Krate subscription box from FrontGate Media. All opinions expressed here are my own honest ones.

“I Love You, Mom!” ~ a book review & giveaway (ends 3/25/22)

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The BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me the most lovely and encouraging book for moms! I Love You, Mom! is a beautiful love note to mothers. I was so blessed and edified to read this book. And, I have a copy of the print book to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader. Keep reading for more, and for the opportunity to win!

About I Love You, Mom!

This precious book really is a love letter to moms. It includes beautiful artwork (in some of my favorite colors), Bible verses and devotional writings, prayers, and little notes on different subjects (these are written in a child’s voice, as if a mom’s child was writing notes of appreciation). It’s authored by daughter/mother writing team Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh. The book is subtitled “Cherished word gifts from my heart to yours,” and it really is just that!

Blythe and Helen have created a book that contains encouraging words that moms need to hear, along with Scriptures that will settle in mothers’ hearts and remind them both of God’s wonderful calling to them, along with His promises to always be with moms, working alongside them for His lifelong purposes. Devotional writings’ subjects include treasuring children; giving thanks; abundant love; confidence; regrets and affirmation; our time and attention; gifts and traditions; and much more. Each of these lovely chapters closes with wise and kind words of affirmation written in the child’s voice. How beautiful!

My thoughts about I Love You, Mom!

It touched my heart and my spirit so deeply! As I read this book, I felt many emotions. Although our son isn’t a little guy any more, I’m so grateful for the moments we’ve shared since his infancy, toddlerhood, and so on, all the way through his teen years. (Which are now officially concluded as he’s entered his twenties!) As I Love You, Mom! reminded me, God has held us all and loved us during every step of our lives.

And although this book paints a lovely picture of the mother & child life together, it’s also quite truthful. We do experience challenges in our family lives! We are not perfect people; we are loved humans who are endeavoring to create beautiful family experiences for our children. And sometimes we fail–in big ways or small ways. Yet our loving heavenly Father never gives up on us; never forgets us; never leaves us alone. And that’s a message that all moms need to hear.

I Love You, Mom! would be a fantastic gift for moms in any stage of the parenting life. It would be perfect for new moms, for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day mom gifts, or really for any moment you’d like to bring a special gift to a mother. With its Scriptures and focus on a loving God who’s alongside mothers in every step of their journey, it’s something that women of faith would appreciate. Above all, these chapters provide moments where moms can take a breath, receive encouragement, and catch a glimpse of the vision of their best for their children’s lives. That’s definitely a gift that not every book can provide!

About the authors

A magnificent mother-daughter duo, Helen McIntosh and Blythe Daniel released Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mother and Daughters in 2019 and have paired up again for I Love You, Mom!: Cherished Word Gifts from My Heart to Yours  releasing in February 2022.


Blythe is the president of The Blythe Daniel Agency, Inc., is a literary agent, marketer, and writer with 25 years in media and publishing. She has written for Focus on the Family, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Ann Voskamp, and Christian Retailing. 

Right away, Helen is someone you know as an encourager at heart. She has her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Sarasota, and is the author of Messages to Myself and Eric, Jose & The Peace Rug.

How you can enter to win your own copy of I Love You, Mom!

The BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided a copy of I Love You, Mom! for me to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader! (Although I’ve included pictures of the digital ebook on my Kindle, the winner will receive the print version.)

To enter, just click on the pink link below that says, “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 3/25/22.

Enter here!

Thank you so much for reading; this book was just a joy to share with you. You can purchase your own copies from Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Target, or other booksellers.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are honest and my own.

“God Is My Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom; a JustRead Blog & Review Tour (& giveaway, ends 1/18/21)

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God is My Hiding Place JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for God Is My Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

God Is My Hiding Place Title: God Is My Hiding Place Author: Corrie ten Boom Publisher: Chosen Release Date: October 19, 2021 Genre: Devotional, Christian

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”–Corrie ten Boom

Dutch watchmaker Corrie ten Boom, with her courageous, God-fearing family, sheltered Jews from the Nazis during World War II. This led to her arrest and suffering in prison and concentration camps–as told in her bestselling book The Hiding Place. Her dramatic life story and her more than 40 other books have prepared millions to face their own future with courage–relying on God’s love to forgive, overcome, heal and restore. Through this 40-day devotional based on Corrie’s writings, you will find inspiration to strengthen your faith, re-root your soul in Christ and increase your experience of God’s peace. Receive the courage and comfort of the Holy Spirit, and remind yourself of what Corrie ten Boom knew and lived: God is your hiding place. PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was born in Haarlem, The Netherlands. After being arrested in 1944 for helping Jews escape the Nazi regime, Corrie spent a year during World War II in prison camps. After the war, she was invited to share her experiences in more than sixty countries and was honored by the state of Israel for her work during the war. Her life story, The Hiding Place, was originally released in 1971. In 1977, she settled in California, where she died in 1983, on her 91st birthday.

CONNECT WITH CHOSEN: Website

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of The Hiding Place and One Word for Today!

God Is My Hiding Place JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 11, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on January 18, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

From the time I read The Hiding Place as a girl, I have loved and admired Corrie ten Boom. The Hiding Place‘s remarkable story of her life: her family’s protection of Dutch Jews; their Resistance work; Corrie’s time in the Ravensbruck concentration camp; this was an autobiography like none I’d ever read. Her faith and obedience were examples of some of the finest I’d ever read about, and still to this day, remain unequaled. Also, I love her face! I always thought I could see her great joy and love just by looking at her. (And, I’ve always thought she resembled my own grandmother, which makes me smile.)

So I felt thrilled to have the opportunity to review Corrie’s book, God is My Hiding Place. In this 40-day devotional book, readers can view Corrie’s own experiences, challenges, and difficulties; and by doing so, learn how her own faith, and holding tightly to God, brought her through everything. This book covers faith topics such as:

  • Worries, anxieties, fears, and casting our cares on the Father
  • Healing our broken hearts
  • Miraculous provision
  • God’s Word, and its beauty
  • Joy–especially when it feels there’s no joy to be found
  • Feeling like God has forgotten us
  • Our relationship to God, and staying close to Him

Corrie ten Boom was a woman who believed God; and, although she went through unimaginably painful suffering herself, trusted Him with her life. I will never forget learning of Betsie’s (Corrie’s beloved sister) urging of Corrie to be thankful for the fleas in their concentration camp barracks; and what God showed them as a result. Or, how Corrie embraced God’s love as a child, and how she never gave that up, even though she might have battled with Him in her prayers at Ravensbruck. (As anyone would!) The simplest ideas, which we can ourselves struggle with embracing (like not worrying, or being childlike in our faith, or believing that God Himself is enough, and is our sufficiency) were those Corrie embraced and lived out wholeheartedly. Despite the enormous trials she experienced!

One of my favorite Corrie stories is a moment when God brought her face to face with a former guard from Ravensbruck after the war; whom she remembered well. I won’t spoil the account by retelling it here, but over the years I’d forgotten its power. I had the blessing of reading it again in this devotional. What a spiritual truth! There are others equally as powerful, told here again (Corrie’s story of the air battle over her home city of Haarlem; the vitamin oil in the concentration camp; the many moments when she and Betsie prayed and were answered in the harshest of conditions), that will move readers’ hearts and bring tears to their eyes. And more that that, that will encourage believers to hold fast to the God who loves them (and who loved Corrie and Betsie), and who always delights in working in our lives.

God is My Hiding Place will encourage your heart and, I believe, enable you (as it has me) to want to step further into a closer walk with God; to believe Him to walk closely with you in response; and to know that in His hand is both security and joy for the believer. I recommend this beautiful book to you with joy myself, and with great hopes for the encouragement it will bring to you!

Enjoy God is My Hiding Place, and its opportunity to help you grow in your own faith! –Wren

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Purify My Heart” ~ a review

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Have you ever wished you could look in on a wise, wonderful woman’s walk with God? Recently, FrontGate Media sent me a copy of Isabelle Joye’s devotional/journal, entitled Purify My Heart: A Dialogue With Jesus. Suddenly, I had that opportunity! And it was wonderful and encouraging. Let me tell you about it!

About Purify My Heart

Purify My Heart: A Dialogue with Jesus started as Isabelle Joye’s own prayer journal. In it, she wrote her prayers and poured out her heart, her experiences, and what she felt God was saying to her in return, either in prayer or via the Bible, in both conversations and verses that she lists in each chapter. She wasn’t actually writing for human consumption, either! But she was moved to provide it for publishing (with some editing, and removal of others’ identifying names), after she saw a man say on Christian television that he’d understood from God in a vision that the world needed more Christian books, as many people do not read the Bible (my paraphrase).

Purify My Heart could be used in a number of ways. It has 52 chapters, so the reader could choose to read one per week. There are Scriptures centered around each devotional’s subject, plus written responses to Isabelle’s words/prayers that she felt she received from the Lord. There are questions posted at each chapter’s end to the reader, plus a page of journaling lines as well, so that the reader can answer the questions, write her (or his!) own thoughts, and record prayers.

I think that this could also be a sweet book to use as a family, during family devotionals. (Of course then, parents and children could use their own journals or notebooks to record their answers, as well as taking time to discuss what was just read.) But Purify My Heart is so intimate and dear that personal use of the book by an individual, might be the very best way.

The chapter subjects are many and varied, yet still seem to center on several topics; chiefly growing in relationship with Jesus, as well as in personal holiness and love for God. These topics are reflected in chapter titles. For example:

  • You Found Me
  • All Things Work Together for Good
  • Whittling
  • Forgiveness
  • My Creator
  • Pride
  • The Word
  • and many more!

My impressions–and the effect Purify My Heart had on me

What a lovely, impactful, yet gently challenging book. As I said in my first paragraph, I’ve wondered what a wise and godly woman’s inner life with the Lord might look like. Well, Purify My Heart opened my eyes to show me an intimate look at one woman’s walk with Christ. Although she probably wouldn’t say this, I had this reaction: Wow!

Isabelle very kindly shares her deepest struggles and indeed, some of her closest moments with the Lord with readers. She is open about her sins and what she would call her weaknesses. Again and again, she talks about her own life, holds it up to what she knows the Lord or His Word are asking of her, and confesses where she is wrong. Repeatedly, she expresses her love for the Lord, her desire to serve Him, and asks His help to become what He has planned for her.

I was so blessed to read this, even as I was challenged and convicted about my own life. I don’t spend a lot of time asking God to show my the error of my ways! My prayers are often more like, “Help!” or “Please lead me in this day,” or, as the extrovert that I am, “Please give me your words to say” (or write). Isabelle lays her soul and heart out before the Lord, agrees with Him about the truth, and blesses Him. Expresses her love for Him. Asks for His help to walk in a better way.

It truly astounded me. And it revealed a beautiful closeness that is available for the child of God. I really felt, as I read and after I read, closer to God, more desirous of wanting to be close to Him, and feeling His presence very near and dear to me.

That’s kind of an awesome outcome for a devotional!

About the author, Isabelle Joye

Isabelle Joye came to faith in Jesus Christ in 1973. (In fact, she talks a bit about that in this book!) Very soon after that, she got a concordance to go along with her Bible and noted what it said about the Bereans in Acts 17:11: “…they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” She was able to learn quickly and also discover if people were actually preaching what the Bible said. (I’m always a fan of those who seek to learn as the Bereans did!)

In Purify My Heart, she opens her journal to those who are interested, for the purposes of growth, edification, and understanding of what a walk with the Lord can be. What a blessing.

Visit her website here: Isabelle Joye

Watch the book trailer

Here’s a lovely book trailer for Purify My Heart. Take a look!

Where you can purchase your own copy

You can purchase Purify My Heart from Amazon. Here’s a link!

Purify My Heart: A Dialogue with Jesus on Amazon

Thank you for letting me share this beautiful, encouraging, and edifying book with you. I know I’ll return to it again and again. I hope you’ll check it out for yourself!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Amazon. All opinions are my own.