Brittany Ann’s newest book, “Follow God’s Will,” is a joyful & fantastic way for you to understand God’s love & leading! ~ Review & Giveaway (ends 10/24/22)

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I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read Brittany Ann’s newest book–and to tell you about it! Follow God’s Will is a rich, readable book which will help believers understand God’s very good plan for their lives. Let me tell you more. And you’ll even be able to enter to win your own copy of Follow God’s Will!

About Follow God’s Will

Have you ever wondered if you were following God’s plan for your life…or if you were missing it completely? If you have, you’re not alone! Brittany Ann’s Follow God’s Will offers a clear explanation to readers of what God’s will for our lives is, starting with the very broad and narrowing it to the most specific for each individual. Each chapter includes some Bible study which will help readers understand not only what God has in mind for them, but how that fits into the universal Christian church overall.

The book is divided into two portions; Discover God’s Will, and Follow God’s Will. There are 12 chapters, including:

  • The Two Greatest Commandments
  • The Four Calls on Every Christian’s Life
  • Understanding God’s Written Word
  • Making Wise Decisions
  • Cultivating Spiritual Disciplines
  • Witnessing with Truth and Love
  • Cultivating a Faith-Filled Mindset
  • And more

Brittany draws her inspiration in sharing what we can know about God’s plan for our lives from the Bible. Follow God’s Will is both beautiful and highly practical. It’s beautiful because, I believe, it represents God and His character so very well. God is not a harsh taskmaster, nor an angry supervisor who shakes his finger at us every time we get things wrong. Instead, He is more loving, and kinder, than most of us could imagine. He invites us into relationship with Him, tells us how Jesus made the way for us to do so, and welcomes us with a warm embrace. And then He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us, teach us, and comfort us!

Follow God’s Will is also a practical guide for helping believers (both newbies and experienced ones) understand, Scripturally, what God’s will is for us. This will is both general (love God and love people) and very specific, according to the Word’s instructions for Christian discipleship, and then even more personal according to the gifts, opportunities, and abilities that He has given to each one.

My thoughts and experiences with Follow God’s Will

God LOVES YOU.

And God LOVES ME.

And that is amazing.

You know, we ALL want to know God’s plan for our lives. Often, we feel as though it is this huge mystery that maybe, just maybe, we’ll stumble upon somehow. When all the time, God, the good Father, has purposed a lovely, personal plan for each of us that has noted who we are, what we’re good at, the special spiritual gifts He’s placed in us, and the moment in history where we’re living–and what our life can look like as the Holy Spirit in us guides us and leads us.

Reading Brittany Ann’s book was such a rich and personal experience. I love the orderly way she describes living out God’s plan. She shares Scriptures, her own experiences, and God’s good intention for the church as a whole, and for us as part of that church in His unfolding plan.

I found myself doing a lot of highlighting and tabbing important thoughts and pages. I did the mini-Bible study that is included several times in each chapter, under the headings “Dive Deeper into Scripture.” That made the experience even more meaningful and personal (plus gave me some new Bible verses that I’m putting on cards to meditate on further).

Are you familiar with the Bible verse, 1 John 5:3? Here it is:

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

The Bible, New International Version, 1 John 5:3

I forget that. A lot! But here’s something amazing about being God’s children: He cherishes us. He is a kind and loving Father. And He reminds us again and again of this truth, as He is leading us every single day, in the opportunities, relationships, callings, and moments that we have.

As I read Follow God’s Will, I was reminded of God’s personal plan for me, as He has revealed it over the course of my life. (And as He continues to reveal it!) His plan for me is good. But more than that–IT IS NOT BURDENSOME. He is kind. He is loving and gentle. And He invites me again and again, back to Him, and His goodness. His directions and plans for me will build on what He’s already done in my life; they will be those that I can sometimes even recognize; and, while they or life might be challenging at times, God will be there with me to help me carry them out.

Now THAT is the kind of reminder that I need–shared wonderfully in just the book that I want to read. I loved Follow God’s Will. And I think you will too.

Where you can purchase Follow God’s Will

You can purchase Follow God’s Will on Amazon. Just click on the link below!

Purchase link for Follow God’s Will

About the author, Brittany Ann

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of Fall in Love with God’s Word, speaker, and the founder of Equipping Godly Women – a popular Christian-living website featured by CBN, the Christian Post, Crosswalk, and others.

You can find Brittany Ann online at:

Now–enter to win your own copy!

The FINCHNWREN blog has a copy of Brittany Ann’s exceptional Follow God’s Will to give away to one reader! To enter, simply 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. US only; ages 18 and older. Giveaway closes on 10/24/22. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from The BlogAbout Blogger Network. All opinions are my own honest ones.

“Fall in Love with God’s Word” Review & Giveaway (CLOSED)

**Congratulations to Pamela F!**

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Hello there!

I have a wonderful book to share with you today! I received author Brittany Ann’s new book Fall in Love with God’s Word from the BlogAbout Blogger Network; a copy for myself and a copy to give away to one reader! It’s an excellent, well-written guide to learning to read, study, and apply God’s Word; and, in the meantime, to grow closer to God Himself.

 

 

What you’ll find in Fall in Love with God’s Word

I came to faith in Christ as a 9-year-old. I remember very clearly coming home from summer camp and picking up the Bible I’d been given a number of years before. I opened it to the table of contents and was immediately stymied. Did I start with Genesis? That was the start of the book. What was the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament? I recognized the book of John, from learning the Bible verse John 3:16. Although I knew that I had come to know God, I had no idea how to read His book, and I got stuck very quickly, which was somewhat demoralizing. I would have benefited hugely from a book like Fall in Love with God’s Word.

The truth is, although God loves us and wants us to know Him through His Word (and even gives us the Holy Spirit to help us), many of us were or are uncertain HOW to read it. Brittany Ann’s wonderful Fall in Love with God’s Word is an exceptional guidebook to help women know what is in the Bible, how to understand it, and how to grow in relationship with God. It is divided into three sections: Part 1: Fall in Love with God’s Word; Part 2: Change Your Life Forever; and Part 3: Overcome Obstacles to Growth.

Part 1: Fall in Love with God’s Word

Part 1 begins with encouragement; that the Bible is a book that can change a person’s life. It shares a list of perspectives that can keep us from understanding it. It looks at the entire Bible with a storyline, authors (kings, priests, prophets, shepherds and more), types of books (history, law, poetry/wisdom, prophecy, letters, the Gospels), and discusses why the Protestant and Catholic Bibles share most books in common but not all. It explains reasons why the Bible was written. The author also explains vital steps of Bible interpretation and how to read the Bible in context (as we love to say in our family, “context is key”). She discusses “lenses” through which we can read the Bible and the genres its various books fall into.

Part 1 also includes a fantastic section on how to have a quiet time. Do you know how to spend time with God each day? Has it gotten routine? Are you a busy woman who can’t figure out how to fit Bible study into your days? Brittany Ann helps the reader to examine these questions in light of her seasons and preferences, and describes ways time with God and the Bible can happen. She also gives specific actions the reader can take in her own Bible times to truly fall in love with God and His Word.

 

Part 2: Change Your Life Forever

Part 2 discusses actual issues that we will come up against when we read God’s Word. For example, have you ever considered that sin has real life consequences? When we read His Word we come face-to-face with our own personal issues that are keeping us from moving forward. Maybe it’s areas of sin. Maybe it’s hurts that need healing. Perhaps our relationships are a mess; or maybe it’s our attitudes or habits. The Bible can help us and change us in all these areas, and more. Brittany Ann includes a personal inventory in this section that helps us to take a hard look at our own behaviors, thoughts, and emotions, and to deal with them. She helps us answer the questions of why these are issues for us and to overcome them with God’s help.

How are your thoughts and internal messages to yourself? Are you kind and forgiving or do you tell yourself things you’d never, ever say to someone you loved? We can learn to “take every thought captive to the cause of Christ” and transform the way we think about and speak to ourselves. And in so doing, we can become healthier, happier, and stronger.

A most wonderful thing about the Bible is that it brings us face-to-face to the God who loves us. It helps us know Him, hear Him, learn what is important to Him, and build a loving and safe relationship with Him. The author recounts a number of ways we can approach Him in relationship.

Part 3: Overcome Obstacles to Growth

Unfortunately, there are things that will keep us from growing in our relationship with the Bible and with God. Spiritual warfare, sin, busyness, distraction, and more issues can get in the way. But, there are ways we can push past these! Brittany Ann gives tips and ideas that the reader can utilize. She describes tools to fight spiritual battles and to build community. She even includes prayers to help the reader to move forward. While life may not always be easy, we have a God who is walking beside us and will help us to walk through faithfully.

 

 

My thoughts about Fall in Love with God’s Word

I have been blessed to come a long way from that 9-year-old me that I described above. Although I memorized Scripture as a child, I was an adult when I finally began to understand how to read and study the Bible. I have learned so much, and I continue to learn all the time, as I move from season to season in my life. And Fall in Love with God’s Word taught me so much more; gave me tools and tips; and encouraged me immensely in my relationship with God.

I loved Brittany Ann’s tips on how to keep my Bible reading fresh and vivid. It doesn’t have to be routine and it doesn’t have to be approached the same way every quiet time of my life. I enjoy writing verses in my journal; coloring in my journaling Bible; thinking about what God might want to say to me; and learning how to expand and grow in my prayer life. Life is full of changes in the different seasons we walk through, and there are no rules that require us to follow the same exact habits in our Bible reading. (Other than, perhaps, the habit of continuing with it!)

Some of my favorite passages included:

  • “And that, my friend, is the power of the gospel. Not that God offers us free access to heaven someday. But that no matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve fallen, when we confess our sin to God in humility and repentance, He always forgives us, restores, us, and helps us make things right.”
  • “If you’re not familiar with the term, “taking every thought captive to Christ” means taking your thoughts, comparing them against Scripture, and choosing to reject those that don’t line up with God’s truth.”
  • “However, it’s important to remember that you aren’t meant to do this alone. Rather, you were created to work in partnership with God to fulfill the plans He has already made for you. You have a role to play, and God has a role to play as well.”

It’s a truly wonderful book, full of facts, tips, guidelines, and so much that will help your Bible reading, and your relationship with God, come alive!

 

And, you can enter to win your own copy!

To enter the giveaway, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway begins at 7AM on 2/16/21 and ends on 2/28/21. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Where to find Brittany Ann

Brittany Ann’s website, a place where you can connect with other like-minded women, grow in God’s Word, and learn more about living a faithful Christian life, is Equipping Godly Women. Just click on the highlighted link to visit Brittany there. You can also visit the Fall in Love with God’s Word website by clicking on that highlighted link!

 

 

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

 

“Tested and Approved” – just the book you’ll need to start 2021 with wisdom & encouragement! Review & Giveaway (CLOSED)

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**Congratulations to Anne P., the winner of the books giveaway!**

I couldn’t be more grateful than to have started my own 2021, with Tom Lane’s incredible new Tested and Approved: 21 Lessons for Life and Ministry (and its companion Mentor Playbook). I received copies of these books from the BlogAbout Blogger Network, and they were also so generous and sent me additional copies to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader!

What you’ll find in Tested and Approved

Tested and Approved is the book with the most important life lessons Gateway Church pastor Tom Lane wanted to share; not only with his family and church members, but with anyone who desires to live a successful, faithful, and godly life. Its chapters describe how to truly live one’s best life in business, leadership, family, relationships, faith, and ministry or volunteer service. Imagine that you were able to sit down with a most-admired elder relative who wanted to share with you the keys to a great life, a person who’d: faithfully lived well; achieved enormous success in his or her vocation or calling; loved devotedly; interacted with others in such a way that their lives were bettered. And, that they’d done all that while loving God deeply. If you can imagine those conversations, you’d have them in your hands in Tested and Approved. And reading it is just as awesome as those conversations would have been!

In Tested and Approved, Tom Lane covers 21 important and beautiful life lessons, like:

  • Take responsibility for your mistakes
  • Live your life in a godly rhythm
  • Be nice to people who are different
  • You are either an influence or you’re being influenced
  • Watch your six–at all times!
  • And more!

My favorite parts of Tested and Approved

So, to be honest with you: most of the pages of my copy of this book look like the picture above! I learned so much from reading this. During many of my evenings, as I was reading this book, I came upon key tips and information that I could share with my husband and son; and even, on occasion, with good friends of mine. In every moment, people were encouraged and lifted up, and sometimes even said, “this is something I have got to remember,” just as I did as I read.

And here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • “God is the one who is most interested in your rhythm and pace. He wants you to find yourself in Him. He is committed to helping you fulfill your purpose and destiny, and He stands ready to assist if you will only ask Him.” (p. 85)
  • “You must become an energy manager and evaluate your calendar and the schedule it reflects. Measure the demands on your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual grid.” (p. 92)
  • “Keep your words fresh-smelling, positive, and redeeming rather than laced with old revelation, curses, or antidotes that carry stale odors from days past…Wear the fragrances of faith, humility, kindness, compassion, and generosity.” (p.127)
  • “If you find yourself in a tough season, facing trials and dealing with difficult situations, then don’t fret or become resentful. Recognize it is a season, and a different one is on the way.” (p. 138)
  • “Your gifts will open a door of influence for you, but they can’t sustain that influence on their own. God is the one who grants favor and determines our impact by providing the platform that sustains the influence of our gifts.” (p. 152)

I’ve learned so many wonderful life lessons in Tested and Approved. But I’d like to share one additional thing with you, one that I believe makes this book even more impactful to the reader. Have you ever noticed the difference between God’s correction, and the painful guilt or condemnation that the world can put on us? I love the way God takes my heart or mind and instructs me; so lovingly, kindly, and in a way that makes me want to make the changes my life needs. This book is written just the same way. I learned much that I could apply in my own life. But it was never heavy or burdensome, always uplifting and encouraging. What a breath of fresh air!

And, what to do if you read this and find some lessons you need to apply in your own life?

Tom Lane has written this book’s perfect companion for you: Tested and Approved Mentor Playbook. Its subtitle unfolds more of the book’s purpose: “For Group and Personal Experience, Oversight, and Accountability.” It’s a consumable resource that takes each of the 21 lessons from Tested and Approved and, with a short intro to each chapter, helps the reader unpack the concepts by asking the reader thoughtful questions.

It is a fantastic resource. Perhaps there’s an idea or concept that you read in the book, that you know is meaningful to you, but then you’re not quite sure what to do with it. The Mentor Playbook helps you to examine each lesson, identify how you need to incorporate it in your life, and to make it part of your time and thoughts, solidifying the ideas as you journal in the book. It’s just the thing to help the reader use these concepts to develop healthy, faithful, and true habits, guided by the Holy Spirit. It’s sometimes tough; but it’s worth the time and facing the pain of what’s not quite right in our lives to move forward to something better.

Best of all, you can enter to win your own copies of the books!

The BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided copies of Tested and Approved and Tested and Approved Mentor Playbook for one FINCHNWREN reader to win!

To enter the giveaway, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you can enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 2/13/21. One winner will be selected to win both books. Best wishes!

Enter here!

A Tested and Approved extra for you

There is a 5 Day Devotional Plan of Tested and Approved on YouVersion that you can check out by clicking on the link in this sentence. It covers 5 of the book’s important lessons that you (or your loved ones) can utilize during tough times in life. Awesome way to experience the goodness of this book.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Bend-When Life Dares You To Break Review & Giveaway (ends 10/20/20)

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Hello there!

Once again, the fabulous BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided an incredible book for me to review–and one for me to give away to a FINCHNWREN reader, as well! Author Beth Lueders’ new book, Bend-When Life Dares You To Break, begins with a question: “Do we really need God to right ourselves again?” Lueders, a writer and journalist who’s traveled worldwide, applies her exceptional interviewing skills with people who’ve faced both tragedy and struggle to discover the answer. The result is a book you won’t want to miss.

Suffering is tough. (Just ask Job.) It’s often unexpected and surprising.  We don’t know how long it will go on or how it will end. It can be demoralizing, especially if it’s one of those times that the difficult situation stretches out for a long time. It can make us question our faith and even whether God is truly trustworthy; if He truly cares about what is happening in our lives or if He really does love us.

In Bend, Beth Lueders talks with men and women who have undergone adversity and sometimes even anguish. She asks them both how they found the strength to endure and what they thought of God during and after their times of trial; how, indeed, they managed to bend under the weight of the struggle instead of breaking. Lueders also shares the stories of some of her own pain and affliction. She tells these stories in such a warm and personable manner, so much so that in many cases I felt as though I were seated at the table with the author and those she interviewed. Each chapter ends with a related question and some journaling space for the reader’s own thoughts, with a bonus section at the end of the book that explores the themes or the characters of each chapter a bit further. (I loved that portion especially, since I’m always someone who loves an epilogue!)

In Bend, you’ll meet:

  • A Lithuanian Jewish woman who survived the Nazi’s wholesale slaughter of the Jews of her country
  • Three moms of children with significant special needs
  • A Marine, having served in Iraq, who suffers from TBI and devastating physical injuries and post-traumatic stress
  • Three Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame inductees, who played stellar baseball while facing segregation, broken or poor equipment, and denied service because of the color of their skin
  • An incarcerated man, who’d had a brilliant future until he stepped aside into crime
  • And more

These accounts of people who’d faced incredible loss and still came out on the other side are told with grace, humor, and compassion. Lueders’ interviews with agnostics, Christians, Jews; with Americans both born and raised in the States and those who are immigrants from other lands (Poland, Lithuania, Liberia) are warm and captivating. You will not want to put this book down once you’ve begun to read it.

Author Beth Lueders

My thoughts about Bend

As an American who’d much rather dance through a field of flowers than go through tribulation, I approached Bend with some trepidation. I want to be someone who is able to bend rather than break in times of suffering. But I did feel a bit nervous about engaging with a book ABOUT suffering.

I needn’t have worried, however. Once I started reading Bend I absolutely could not stop reading. Actually, I read it in one day! I loved meeting each character. I was drawn into their stories and experiences. I really did feel as though I was engaging with each person, and each family, as I learned about their lives. (Beth really is that good!)

And I have to tell you; this book engaged me so deeply that it made me cry, several times, over the losses that these precious people had gone through. I’m not really much of a crier. In fact, I don’t think I have cried over a book in decades. But Beth really helps you see these people, and feel, even if it’s to a much tinier degree than they themselves felt, the devastation they walked through. They may never get over their losses and their suffering on this side of heaven. But for many of them, they KNOW that they will see their loved ones again; that some day, there will be complete healing.

Sometimes, looking at suffering makes us draw back. But in Bend, I was able to see some of the breadth and depth of the pain of the human condition. And in seeing that, and hearing the stories of how God was somehow there, I was comforted. I was reminded that, even when we don’t understand pain and life, we really do have a God who loves us.

Get yourself a copy of this book. It will move you, teach you, comfort you, and bless you. And someone who enters the giveaway below win will a copy!

Enter to win your own copy!

I am so, so happy that BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided a SIGNED copy for me to give away to a reader! I am so excited for y’all to check out this book, and for someone to have the chance to win it. To enter, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. 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 10/20/20. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Where to purchase

You can purchase a copy of Bend that is even signed by the author yourself! Order author-signed copies of Bend directly from Beth at BethLueders.com.

–Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service that we mention on the blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

“Half the Battle” ~ Pursuing Personal Healing (Review & Giveaway, ends 10/13/20)

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I have an incredibly wonderful book to share with you today! The BlogAbout Blogger Network provided two copies of Dr. Jon Chasteen’s Half the Battle (Gateway Press), a remarkable book on personal healing from a Christian perspective. I’m thrilled to share with you about this book, and better yet, one of those copies is for me to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader!

 

 

Half the Battle

Subtitled “Healing Your Hidden Hurts,” Dr. Jon Chasteen’s new book is designed to help the reader identify and receive healing for pains that are often kept hidden (either well or not-so-well) from the outside world. Using the Bible’s Old Testament account of the Israelites’ battle at Jericho, Dr. Chasteen illustrates a path to bring the reader illumination and victory over the rejections and hurts of the past that still influence and sometimes damage years after they’d originally occurred.

The book contains the following chapters and segments:

  • Before the Battle
  • The Stench Behind the Stone
  • Dealing with Rejection
  • The Final Resting Place of Pain
  • Time to Take Ground
  • The Weapon for War

There is also a leader’s guide, for small groups or classrooms, and a study guide for the reader to work through chapter by chapter. The study guide includes a brief review of each chapter, key Scripture verses, important quotes, discussion questions, activation (or steps for action), and prayer.

 

 

 

Half the Battle is not a lengthy book; the teaching portion (or chapters) comprise 140 pages of the volume. The remaining 40+ pages are the study guide and leader’s guide (with a short appendix and author’s bio). It is well-written, and Dr. Chasteen explains the Bible passages and the personal healing he believes that readers can work out clearly and simply.

However, the brevity of the book takes nothing away from its power and meaning. Indeed, the author doesn’t belabor anything. He explains Scripture, the wounds we can all face from life, and the way those can be healed in such a way that they actually seem attainable. This is actually a book on overcoming the pains and struggles of life that truly works–it has the potential to help readers gain relief from pain and a closer relationship with God and friends and family.

 

 

Key thoughts from the book

Dr. Chasteen identifies rejection from others as one of the major life experiences that wounds us. Whether it’s by parents, peers, significant others, or loved ones, it can leave a mark. Those marks create shame, disconnection, hardness of heart. We may try to overcome life’s pain. But we don’t always know how to do it effectively. So that attempt to overcome pain might work for awhile (even if it creates bad habits or endeavors to overcompensate). The trouble is, these attempts never deal with the original problem, which is the pain in our hearts caused by rejection and its companion, fear. And we grow more and more accustomed with hiding that pain in our hearts.

Everyone has faced rejection and pain. From the Bible, Chasteen reminds us of Moses; of Esau; of Hannah and Elijah; of the Israelites as a nation; of Joseph. And what about Jesus? He was rejected by His family, by the high priests, by many of those whom He taught. He was deserted in His hour of need on the cross, when even His Father forsook him. Our Savior can empathize with us in our deepest pain for sure. He experienced it and He understands us.

In Half the Battle, Dr. Chasteen helps us to:

  • Realize that the pain we thought we’d hidden so well influences and even “stinks” up our lives
  • Understand that dealing with that hidden pain is possible and is even a major part of the battles we face
  • Identify our own pains and bring them before God
  • Receive healing from the hand of our loving Father God

 

 

 

My thoughts about Half the Battle

Half the Battle is an incredible, powerful, encouraging book. Like many others, I have hidden pains that I have considered and even worked on over the course of my life. I totally believe that God can and does bring healing to us during our lives, as we seek to follow Christ and know Him. And I have seen it happen!

However, this book impacted me tremendously. Looking at Bible figures’ lives in the context of pain and healing was really powerful for me. Being reminded that God wants a close relationship to me; that He desires my heart, was lovely and meaningful. And seeing that I could bring my pains before Him, to lay them at the foot of the cross, and to open my heart to Him for healing and deliverance was compelling. Even better, it actually worked!

I read through Half the Battle with highlighter in hand. But I plan to work back through the book again, this time using the study guide. It can be hard to open our hearts and reveal the pain we have hidden away there. But this book gently walked me through that process and made me feel safe while I did it. It is definitely worth going through again. I know I’ll continue to grow and heal in the process.

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • “Jesus says, “Show Me where your faith ended. Take me to the place where you lost all hope and quit believing. Let me see where the pain was so real that you didn’t know what else to do with it but shove it in a dark place and roll a stone over it to cover up the stench.”” (p. 28)
  • “As humans, we don’t like others coming near our sensitive places, and in regard to rejection, your heart is the most sensitive place you have.” (p. 45)
  • “Think about this truth. Up until the very last moments of His life on this earth, Jesus was offered bitterness, yet He always refused to accept it. No matter how many times He was rejected, He consistently refused to become bitter.” (p. 74)

There is a LOT more from Half the Battle that I’d like to share with you. But I hope that this little taste encourages you to read it for yourself! It can be a powerful tool in God’s hand for your healing and blessing. Go for it!

 

How to enter to win your own copy

I am so happy that The BlogAbout Blogger Network has given me a copy to share with one of you! To enter this giveaway, just click on the “Enter here!” link below. 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 October 13, 2020. One winner will be selected to win a copy of Half the Battle. Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

 

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service that we mention on the blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

“Work and Rest God’s Way” ~ Review and Giveaway (ends 10/5/20)

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Hello friends!

Recently, The BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me two copies of Scott LaPierre‘s new book, Work and Rest God’s Way. Well-written, thought-provoking, challenging; yet encouraging at the same time. Let me tell you about this book, and at the end of the post you’ll have an opportunity to enter to win a copy!

 

 

What are your thoughts on work and leisure, or rest?

We all love R&R; our weekends off, our vacations, our hobbies or personal time. (I love all these too!) We do love to play. Or, are we on the other end of the spectrum, veering towards workaholism and embracing work at the expense of everything else? Probably, most of us are somewhere between those two sides. But did you know that God actually created human beings in His image, and placed them in a garden to do fulfilling, life-giving work? He did! Of course, now we don’t all live in the Garden of Eden, and because of the Fall work is not always a joy and a delight to accomplish. Yet even as we live post-Eden and post-Fall, God has given principles and directions in His Word to provide us with a healthy understanding of how to work and how to rest.

Scott LaPierre has studied the Bible extensively, and in his new book, Work and Rest God’s Way, he shares these principles. Work can be exhausting. We can place too high a focus on it, or we can place too little value on it. Yet if we understand what God says about work, it can inform our callings and vocations, and help us to work in a way that blesses us and others and allows us to be refreshed instead of exhausted.

 

What you’ll find in Work and Rest God’s Way

In just over 200 pages, LaPierre covers a lot of ground. He presents a sound discussion of God’s views on work and rest, and discusses these not only from a physical standpoint but a spiritual one as well. In this book, you’ll find:

  • What diligence and its opposite, laziness, look like
  • What to do when work feels like a curse instead of a blessing
  • What our true purpose as Christ-followers should be as we work
  • What value God puts on our daily labors
  • Husbands, wives, children, and their responsibilities
  • Rest, and what it looks like physically and spiritually
  • and more

LaPierre writes from a Christian perspective, and includes Bible verses alongside each and every principle or instruction. His instruction is derived from the Bible but also includes real-life examples of work, choices, and decisions.

 

What I found most helpful

I really appreciated the teaching on diligence (and guarding against laziness). All of us will face transitional points in our work lives and careers, and I am at one of those myself. But as I am praying, waiting, and looking for the next steps God has for me to take, I loved the reminder to be diligent both spiritually and physically.

I also LOVED Chapter 16, “The Promised Land and Spiritual Rest.” My son and I have returned over and over again to Hebrews, specifically chapters 3 and 4. Interpreting those chapters has been very challenging for both of us. I found LaPierre’s interpretation to be solid, and both grace- and truth-filled, and such a relief! Really understanding what “the rest” means in those chapters has both lifted up my faith and strengthened the foundation it is based on.

I was encouraged as well to read LaPierre’s discussion of the dangers of workaholism and not taking the time that our bodies, minds, and spirits need for rest. It can be hard to rest! But it is so necessary for us, and not taking that time can have profound impacts on both our lives and abilities to serve.

Spending time, and choosing to spend time, in God’s Word will help us too; to know Him better, to love Him well, and to understand His leading and direction for our lives.

 

Concluding thoughts

Work and Rest God’s Way would be a great book for families. (The principles of work, rest, and spiritual life will be applicable to single men and women as well, but LaPierre’s focus is more on husbands/wives/kids in several sections.) It is an excellent discipleship program as well for any Christian, although it wouldn’t call itself that per se.

I would recommend that the reader have his or her Bible handy to refer to as Work and Rest God’s Way is read. LaPierre includes many Scriptures, but I think it is also valuable to look at Bible sections or chapters to get a grasp of the verses in their actual context. Plus getting into the Word is a great idea as we read books on the Christian life.

 

And now…the giveaway!

One FINCHNWREN reader will win a copy of Work and Rest God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. To enter, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes 10/5/20. Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

 

About the author, Scott LaPierre

Scott LaPierre is the pastor of Woodland Christian Church. He and his wife Katie are the parents of 8 children, whom they also homeschool. You can visit his website to find out more and see pictures of the LaPierres. You can also download a free ebook there, as well as access more books by both Scott and Katie.

You can reach Scott on social media at:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

 

 

Enjoy! –Wren

 

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service that we mention on the blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

 

Upset the World by Tim Ross ~ Review and Giveaway (ends 9/16/20) CLOSED

**Congrats to Bobby G, the winner of the book and study guide!**

#sponsor #partner

I’ve just read a most remarkable book by Tim Ross! The BlogAbout Blogger Network kindly provided Tim’s Upset the World and its companion Upset the World Study Guide for me to read; plus, an additional set for me to give away to one reader!

 

 

How to Upset the World

Isn’t that the most startling title? That is exactly what I thought when I saw it. But it’s Tim Ross’s worldview, and as I read Upset the World I discovered that it was one I could wholeheartedly embrace. Ross believes that as Christians, this is our job: to “turn the world upside down with the message, love, and hope of Jesus Christ.” And how exactly are we supposed to upset the world, anyway? By:

  • Being upset ourselves first, by being in a relationship with Jesus
  • Loving people
  • the Holy Spirit living fully in us
  • Not being “religious”
  • Doing good
  • Loving life
  • and more

I realize that I have just given you a list, a list that sounds like a religious list of do’s and don’t’s. Really, this book is not about that at all! It doesn’t heap up a huge load of  tasks we have to do to love Jesus. Instead, Ross shares with the reader how loving and walking with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit living in us, enables all these actions to flow out of our lives as we live with and relate to God…and listen to what He asks us to do. (Which, to be honest, is SUCH a better way to live than following a long list!)

In Upset Your World, Ross does tell us the ways he believes God asks us to upset the world. But then, he shows us or tells us how exactly we can do those things. We don’t do any of it by our own power; we do it by following Jesus, getting to know God’s Word, and listening to His instructions. As we do these things, He shapes our lives, both inside and out. And upsetting the world was first done by Jesus, and then by his early followers (which we can read about in the Bible). Interestingly enough, everything they did was hugely counter-cultural to the times they lived in. And it was done out of love. And doing it brought enormous adventure!

 

The Upset Your World Study Guide provides an excellent way to take each chapter in Ross’s book, and explore its ideas and the Scriptures behind them. There are lots of journaling spaces where the reader can jot down questions, thoughts, and what is being learned. It’s written, just like Upset Your World is, in a friendly, kind, and clear fashion and is a great asset to really taking the concepts in the book and making them the reader’s own.

Some of my favorite ideas from the book:

  • “Find Jesus, follow His example, and then you will love the life you’re in. Let me tell you something, Jesus can redeem any life.”
  • “We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to come to Him, right where we are.”
  • “As upsetters, we need to be a group of people who have a desire to please God as opposed to being forced to please God.”
  • “…the Holy Spirit moves in and occupies a place in our life.”
  • “Because He likes to do good. Because He’s kind. Because He’s a nice guy.”

Upset Your World also includes fascinating stories. It’s fun to read but at the same time, it’s freeing, rich, and empowering.

 

 

 

My thoughts

I admit to you, I felt a bit nervous about reading Upset the World. In many situations, you’d find me being what I’d perceive as being the peacemaker rather than the pot-stirrer. But I have to tell you, I found reading Upset the World to be a fresh, uplifting, peaceful, and joyous experience. It was truly wonderful to read. And, I found as well as I read that several of the Scriptures that Ross uses to illustrate the book’s teaching are ones that God had already been highlighting to me. It reminded me of a Bible study that was very instrumental in developing my own worldview, one that told me that God had a good plan for me and that plan intersected with the things He wanted to do in me, through me, and around me in the world.

Even though God tells us plainly in the Bible not to compare ourselves with others, I find that we often do so. We ask, “Am I doing enough as a Christian?” “Is my life, with the non-splashy work I’m doing, enough?” Or, “They are clearly doing so much more for God’s kingdom than I am.” Well, Ross’s book will help you to step out of those mindsets. We don’t have to be doing “flashy” work. All God is asking us to do is to love Him and walk with Him, and step out as He leads and directs in order to do good, bless others, and yes…upset the world.

You will be so blessed by this book. You will be encouraged and even equipped to walk out God’s good plan for your life, intersecting with others to bless them and share God’s story and goodness with them. Definitely get yourself a copy of both Upset the World and its Study Guide!

 

Enter to win a copy for yourself!

So! The BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided a copy of Upset the World plus its companion Upset the World Study Guide to give away to one winner. To enter the giveaway, simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. 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 September 16, 2020. One winner will be selected to win both books. Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

 

Enjoy! –Wren

 

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service that we mention on the blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

 

“Take Back Your Time” Book Review & Giveaway (closed)

CONGRATULATIONS to Dolores M., the winner! Thanks to everyone who entered!

#sponsor #partner

Do you desperately need more time…but don’t know where to find it? Have you tried tons of planners and lists but still feel overwhelmed with the busyness of life?

If you can answered “yes” to those questions, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Morgan Tyree and her remarkable book, Take Back Your Time. The BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me two copies of this wonderful book; one for me to review and another to gift to one FINCHNWREN reader! (You’ll find the entry form below.) It is a fantastic book, and one that I’d definitely recommend to you.

 

 

I am a person who has always thought (at least in my adult years) that, if 5 activities/responsibilities are good, then 50 must be even better! Or amazing! It’s been a long, eventful journey for me to learn to say “no,” to learn to thoughtfully evaluate jobs, invitations, and outside responsibilities before just jumping in. With our son’s senior year in high school this year, the need has been even more significant to plan and to consider choices and activities. This book, though, is making an incredible difference for me!

 

What you’ll find in Take Back Your Time

Morgan Tyree has designed the most gentle AND the most helpful time/life management course I’ve ever seen or used in this book. Ever! Time and life management courses often start with figuring out overall vision. That is sort of hard for me; I am definitely more of a practical list-maker than I am an overall vision person. But Tyree makes it so, so easy and manageable. The vision piece that I learned as I read is that I have received a gift of time, and I can learn to fill my time to the fullest, yet still create margin for the unexpected. (Which, as we know, WILL happen!)

 

 

Tyree guides the reader first in figuring out her top life priorities. (And don’t worry! That can sound daunting but she makes it easier than you can imagine.) Next, we’re instructed to make a log of the way we use our time, only for one week. Then, we can see if our activities align with our priorities. If not, we know some places we can make adjustments.

So. Once we’ve got our priorities and responsibilities figured out…how do we slot those into our days? Here, Tyree helps us determine how best we can organize our days. How are we wired? Are we night people, morning people, or middle-of-the-day people? Understanding how we’re wired is crucial to assigning the work we need to do at the best moments of our days. If I choose to do the work that is hardest for me and my brain when I’m the most tired, that may be not only difficult but frustrating. Yet if I can do that work when I’m the most energetic, and the freshest…what a win! But I have to know when those times are for me. Tyree offers charts and spreadsheets, actually in the book, for readers to use to figure out your personal ebbs and flows of energy. Which in turn, you can use in your own daily schedules.

 

 

The last third of Take Back Your Time helps us to look at and identify who we are (our personalities or temperaments–are we arrows, circles, bolts, or diamonds?) and how we need to interact with the world based on our design; our calendars; and our goals, or deciding how we want to move forward with everything we’ve learned in this book. Because, honestly, how many times have you read a self-help or organization book, put it down, and promptly forgotten everything you read? This segment of Tyree’s book enables us to take the next step: integrating all we’ve learned into our lives, where the material can truly make a difference and enable us to create a more beautiful and effective (and peaceful!) way to live.

So, what are the most important things I’ve been able to take away from this book?

  • I’m generally the most energetic between the hours of 9 to 1, so these are the moments for my most challenging and important tasks. I usually experience a dip between 1 and 4, another energetic period around dinner, then another dip with a last blast of energy between 10 and 11 PM (when we talk as a family and recount our day)
  • I am an arrow first, with a circle as a secondary personality type. That means I need to remember that ALL MY MINUTES AND SECONDS every day do NOT need to be scheduled! Down time and relational time must happen for me to operate well and healthily.
  • I have precious (um…and also difficult…) memories. But those memories are in the past. All my activities, and my family and friends are in the present.
  • And so much more, that I’m using to create more effective, present, and peaceful days

 

If any of these wonderful ideas resonated with you, do pick up a copy of Morgan Tyree’s Take Back Your Time. Life will always have unexpected issues, chores to juggle, and seasons where we don’t get enough rest, or we overschedule. But we truly can learn to create schedules and lives that feel full but don’t wear us out or make us wish for something to change (so we can keep our sanity!). It can happen!

 

And, now for the giveaway!

One FINCHNWREN reader will win a copy of Take Back Your Time. Simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. 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 11/15/19. Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy! –Wren

 

 

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

The Best Study Bible I’ve Seen in Years! A Review of Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible

#sponsored, #partner

 

Hi friends!

I have the privilege of telling you today about a fantastic study Bible that has become my new favorite!  The BlogAbout Blogger Network generously sent me the most gorgeous (inside and out) copy of Thomas Nelson’s new NKJV Study Bible to use and review.  I love it and it has made my devotional and Bible reading times so rich and rewarding!

 

 

The NKJV Study Bible is beautifully printed and bound in cranberry-colored softcover faux leather.  Its full-colored pages have gorgeous photos of art and geographical regions of Bible lands, as well as golden page edges.  There are two ribbons to mark the spots you’re reading in.  Each Bible book has an interesting introduction that describes the events, purposes, and timelines of the books, as well as chapter outlines.  It’s a hefty Bible with a good weight; after all, there are 2201 pages!  There is just SO much to this Bible; check out what’s included!

  • Verse-by-verse study notes, on more than 15,000 verses
  • Notes on Bible times and culture
  • Word studies with Strong’s numbers (one of my favorite ways to study, by delving into the original Greek and Hebrew!  The Strong’s numbers help you to discover more without being an ancient languages scholar yourself.)
  • Extensive cross-reference system
  • Maps and charts explaining more about what’s going on in the text
  • Full-length articles by evangelical Bible scholars, a concordance, and color maps
  • Clear and readable Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print®

 

What I encountered with the NKJV Study Bible

Each spring, our church offers a cool optional prayer and Bible reading activity for the first 21 days of the new year.  That gave me the perfect opportunity to put this study Bible to the test.  And oh, was it a rich and fulfilling time!  The Bible reading was divided into a New Testament (a daily chapter from the Gospel of John) and an additional chapter or chapter portion (sometimes in the Old Testament, sometimes in the New).  So, each day I was reading the book of John chapter-by-chapter, and then reading verses of Isaiah, Psalms, 1 Corinthians, etc.  That would have been an amazing three weeks in and of itself.  But this Bible added so much depth to that!

The book of John starts with a gripping introduction (as do all the other 65 books of the Bible) and reminds us that this gospel includes the reason it was written: to show us how to find eternal life (John 20:31).  It tells us about its author, “the disciple Jesus loved,” widely understood to be the apostle John.  It includes a timeline of the years covered in the book, and the time scholars believe it was written.  The gospel’s theology is shared (that Jesus, the Word, is God) as well as the acts of Jesus that serve as His deity’s proof.  The intro closes with an outline of the book.

 

 

As the book of John progresses, the NKJV Bible includes verse-by-verse footnoted teaching, Greek word studies (for example, “The Word,” “The Only Begotten Son,” “born again,” “fountain,” and more).  There are also maps of Jesus’ journeys and photos of the lands He walked through, like Tiberias, a Capernaum synagogue, and Nazareth.  There are infographics (charts) on everything from Jesus’ trials, to the Old Testament predictions (and consequent fulfillment) of the Messiah’s death, to Peter’s restoration.  And more!  There are just so many amazing additions that both bring the Bible to life for the reader and deepen his or her understanding of it.

I have to mention one last thing I really appreciated, and that’s this Bible’s translation.  There are quite a few Bible translations out there, which are produced by people who read and study the original Hebrew and Greek, then translate it into modern language.  I’ve used, over the years, the NASB, the NIV, and the Message for my Bible study and devotional reading.  This study Bible, as you might have noticed from the title, is in the New King James Version, which (other than knowing it existed) I was mostly unfamiliar with.  Well, I love it!  It seems both very personal and very faithful to the Scriptures I’m familiar with.  In fact, it wouldn’t be exaggeration for me to say it has brought my Bible reading to life.  And all the qualities and aspects of this Bible that I loved in the Gospel of John book occur in all the other books of the Bible as well!

 

 

All in all, this Bible has been a wonderful experience for me.  And I think it would be the same for anyone who’s looking for a great study Bible in a fresh and vivid translation, with all the extras that bring the Old and New Testaments into greater focus.  Whether you’re considering it for a gift for someone else or for you, yourself, it will be a fantastic faith experience.  Definitely, check this Bible out!

 

 

 

More on the NKJV Study Bible:

You can see even more about this amazing study Bible, and why it might be right for you, by watching this YouTube video about it!  Just follow the link in the preceding sentence to see this gorgeous Bible.

 

 

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.