Philippians: Discovering Joy Through Relationship

Philippians: Discovering Joy Through Relationship By: Sue Edwards

If you are looking for a good book study this is one to consider, I have done studies from Sue Edwards in the past and always get something out of them. This one is focused on the book of Philippians and discovering deeper relationships. This study is an intro into the book of Philippians and is 8 lessons long.

Through each lesson there are questions that are aimed at helping you to understand the content of the verses. Through each lesson Edwards provides book recommendations that allow you to study a specific subject more and snippets from her life on how God has spoken to her.

This study is great for the individual or to complete as a group study. Edwards will not only explore the verses but also the context in which the book was written, about the author and other historical information.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review all thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

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Candle Bedtime Bible

By: Karen Williamson

Illustrated By: Christine Tappin

The Candle Bedtime Bible is a collection of 3, 5, and 10 minute long Bible stories for kids; each story is labelled by the length of time to help aid every parent before bedtime. These Bible stories are written in a way that makes the story easy to understand and is complimented by beautiful illustrations that correlate with each story. The print used in this book is large enough that beginner readers will also be able to enjoy the stories as they practice reading each night.

I enjoyed being able to use the Candle Bedtime Bible in the nursery at our church, the kids loved looking at the pictures and listening to the stories. This is a great book to have as an introduction to Bible stories for all young kids.

I received this book complimentary from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

Poison By Jordyn Redwood

It’s been 5 years since Keelyn Blake’s step-father took her family hostage. 5 years since she heard the name Lucent, a hallucination from her step-father’s mind. Only now Lucent is back, and he is no hallucination, he has kidnapped Keelyn’s niece, and Keelyn’s sister Raven is no where to be found.

With the little family she has left, Keelyn is searching for her sister, but will her relationsh ship with FBI hostage negotiator Lee Watson be able to make it through?

Book 2 in the Bloodline Trilogy by Jordyn Redwood will captivate you, Redwood has the ability to use such descriptive words and phrasing and will pull you into the story that afterwards you will wonder if you actually read a book rather than watching the events unfold in person. With rich characters and a story that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions with twists and turns at every corner you will surely love this book.

-Elle

I received this book complimentary from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sons of Jude By Brandt Dodson

Sons of Jude By Brandt Dodson

Detective Frank Campello has just lost his partner and to his disappointment has been given Andy Polanski from another district as his new partner. Polanski has been deemed a traitor, for not sticking by the police family and Campello has no desire to work with a traitor. With the latest case bringing the two into situations they never would have believed Campello must decide if he can trust Polanski and possibly understand why he did what he did at his previous district.

The Sons of Jude is the first book of the series and Dodson does not disappoint, captivating your attention from the very first page. Not only does Dodson write a story that will pull you in he writes in a way that does not speed through the story but allows you to really sink into what is happening. Dodson has an amazing use of description and with his experience in the FBI and knowledge of the Chicago area he really brings this story to life. I cannot wait to see the next book in the series.

I received this book complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

-Elle

When are we called to lead?: 1 Peter Graduated Blog Tour Week 9

It’s been 9 weeks since starting this inductive Bible Study on 1 Peter by Sue Edwards, and wow have I learned a lot. Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives and what we have to get done that we read the Bible to check it off our list, to get another thing done and don’t think twice about. This Bible study has reminded me to slow down and really consider what we are being taught, and how to apply them to our lives daily.

Week 9 covers the final chapter of 1 Peter, chapter 5 which is aimed at speaking to the elders and the young people, and also touches a lot on leadership and how one can help the other.

I feel that very often we hear about leadership, we’re asked to step up into a position, to become a leader, to help out those younger than us. Sometimes I feel the church (I use this term loosely, and refer more to is always searching for leaders to take on more responsibility, to be a role model to the younger generations.

I often forget that sometimes being asked to lead does not mean I should say yes, that sometimes I am just not read to lead, or God is does not want me to lead at the time, or in that position. Sometimes we get over our heads and lead because it sounds like a good opportunity or we like to be in charge, or we feel obligated too but when asked we need to take a step back and prayerfully consider each opportunity, and sometimes as Patsy Clairmont likes to put it we need to respond with a ‘Holy No.’ A no we cannot do that at this time.

1 Peter 5:2-3 reminds us that being a leader does not give us the right to lord over others, but its to set an example.

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

 

This is an especially hard lesson for me, I’m not very good at saying no. And by not very good I mean not at all. I don’t like disappointing others, I want people to know they can count on me, but sometimes saying yes is detrimental to not only myself spiritually but also to those I am leading. So before saying yes, take a step back and consider where God is leading you, and if what you are being asked is in His plans for you.

-Elle

 

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards.

What is the big picture?: 1 Peter Graduated Blog Tour Week 8

“Our live are a breath; eternity forever. Seeing life this way affects everything, especially when we are saddled with struggles and trials.”

 

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins”

1 Peter 4:8

I am not always loving. Especially when I am struggling, during those times I am not someone you would want to be around. These past two weeks have been tough, questioning a lot of decisions I made and if it was what I should have done, questioning where I am headed and during it all I have been less than loving. More so I have been selfish and frustrating. I have been quick to become annoyed and frustrated.

Peter reminds us where to keep our focus, and it is not on these stumbling blocks we encounter through our week, or even what we believe to be huge trials and tribulations, those are not where our focus should be I am probably one of the worst to let little things distract me, to let negativity run my life, Peter calls us to see the bigger picture, to focus on kingdom purpose and to glorify God with everything we do, with every moment we have, with every thought that goes through our head. In every moment we should glorify God and bring honor to Him in every situation.

-Elle

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards which I will be going through for the next week

Sharing my Heart: 1 Peter Graduated Blog Tour Week 7

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”

1 Peter 3:15-18

‘Always be prepared to give an answer’ this verse has always scared me.  We are called to share the truth. To share Jesus. To spread the Good News. We should be prepared to have an answer to give when others ask about our beliefs, and are curious about the hope we have.

When people ask me about my faith I am always nervous, my words often times don’t make sense, I jumble them around in my head and even worse when I speak up. I’ve always had a struggle with words and talking to people. Opening up these doors to relationships and conversation scares me a bit, I get flustered, I hide behind my shyness or behind people I know. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I steer them further from Jesus because I explained something wrong?

I have words to say. I actually have a lot of words, but often times it takes a while for me to think through them completely, to know how to articulate and share what is in my heart without them all tumbling out backwards. It’s partially why I started blogging, on a blog I can control my words, I can edit and revise, I can make sure I didn’t say something out of turn, now I admit that sometimes when I am really passionate about something the words just come and I don’t have to do any of the above. Other times not so much.

I want to be prepared to share Christ’s love with others! I want people to ask me why and who I have hope in! The best way to prepare is to truly understand who God is and what He does for us, when our passion is on fire we cannot help but share and proclaim to the world who Jesus is.

Through reading and study, church and leadership we can all be fully equipped to share without worrying about stumbling over words. We don’t all need to be amazing public speakers, just look at Moses (See Exodus 4) he struggled with words. We just need to learn to be transparent and share our hearts.

-Elle

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards which I will be going through for the next 2 weeks

Running After Peace: 1 Peter Graduated Blog Tour Week 6

1 Peter 3:8-12 The Message, emphasis added

“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.

When I first read this section it really didn’t hit me, alright so we are supposed to be nice, but reading it in the Message made it hit home a lot more. There are no wishy washy words used. The message is clear and to the point. We are to be agreeable, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, humble. At first my mind wants to tell me that I try my best at all of these, and convince ourselves that when you have been less than loving there was a valid reason behind it.  But than comes the next part, are you ready for this?

“That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm.”

Ouch. No exceptions. No excuses. No sarcasm.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

I make excuses, I attempt to find reason behind my actions when I do not want to be compassionate. I don’t want to be loving. Sometimes I just want to be angry. I want to be mad. I want to retort with sarcasm and be passive aggressive to make it seem like I am still attempting to be nice and forgiving when I am really not.

That’s not what we are called to be though. Patsy Clairmont likes to say that sarcasm is anger in clown shoes. We use it as a tool, to try to appear like we are not that angry. In those moments we need to stop and breathe. Send up a prayer for peace and help in getting past the emotion and being able to respond with love.

Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do:
      Say nothing evil or hurtful;  Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things. ”

Bless. That’s our job. Wow. That is something to write down and memorize, especially in those moments where we don’t feel like being much of a blessing. I want to try my best everyday to live out this verse. To glorify God through my words and actions. I want to run after peace for all I am worth. I love that. For all I am worth. I haven’t been doing that, I don’t think I’ve been running after peace for half of what I am worth.

It’s time to take that step. Pay attention to my words. My actions. It’s time for me to be a real reflection of Jesus’ character.

-Elle

 

 

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards which I will be going through for the next 3 weeks

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit: 1 Peter Graduated Blog Tour Week 5

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”

1 Peter 3:3-4

Week 5! Can’t believe we are already this far into the Blog Tour, but I have been waiting for this week. 1 Peter 3:3-4 is one of my favorite verses, I just love it! I don’t know if I can really define why I enjoy this verse so much.

Beauty is always a tough subject for me, and I know that for many others it is the same way, that we just don’t feel quite up to par. Not wearing the latest styles, or attempting to wear them and feeling like you can’t quite pull it off. Wearing make-up to fit in and to not feel completely self-conscious.

So many times, especially as a girl we give into what the media has defined as beauty, we let outside influences take charge telling us to dress and look a certain way to be beautiful, that we have to have a certain body type and weigh under an absurd unhealthy amount to be considered beautiful.

I’ve always wanted to fit in, to be accepted by the general population, but that has never been who I am, being invisible comes very natural to me, something I mastered in high school just to get by, but now in my late twenties it starts to get frustrating when people look right past you and don’t realize you were ever standing there, which leads to more self consciousness and wondering how to get people’s attention at times.

One of the hardest things for me to remember is that God does not define us by the world’s standard of beauty, and He does not judge us how the world judges us, by our outward appearances, by the money we make, the success of our careers. What does matter is our heart, our spirit, a gentle and quiet spirit. A spirit that fears God.

I am not flawless. I will never be perfect.In fact I am amazing at making mistakes and saying stupid things at the wrong time. I like dresses, I wear make up, I get muddy, most of my clothes are covered in paint and that is alright because God still loves me. He knows what is in my heart, and He knows what I want to work towards, and the flaws I want to improve upon and the things I want to change. And rather than telling me I have to change for the world to approve of me, He reminds me that He will change me for the better, to be what He has called me to be. Created in His image.

-Elle

 

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards which I will be going through for the next 9 weeks

Christ is my model: Week 4 Graduated Blog Tour

“He Who is God, stopped to be born in the womb of His mother, and waited patiently, and grew up; and when grown up, was not impatient to be recognized as God.

He was baptized by His servant, and repelled the tempter only by words. When He became a Teacher, He did not strive, nor cry, nor did anyone hear His voice in the streets…He scorned no man’s company; He shunned no man’s table. He conversed with publicans and sinners. He poured out water and washed His disciples’ feet.

He would not injure the Samaritan village which did not receive Him, when His disciples called fire from heaven to consume it. He cured the unthankful; He withdrew from those who plotted against Him. And when He is betrayed and is brought to execution, He is like a sheep which before His shearers is dumb, and a lamb that doth not open His mouth, He who, Lord of angelic Legions, did not approve the sword of Peter drawn in His defense…is spit upon, scourged, mocked, crucified…Such longsuffering…is found in God alone.”

-Tertullian (A.D 122-50)

Take your time and read that. Now read it again slowly. Are you as blown away as I am? We are told to strive to be like Jesus, to act like Him and to model after Him. But, do any of us really understand what  that means? Are we all talk? Do we actually attempt to be like Jesus?

I consider myself a relatively patient person most of the time (emphasis on most of the time!) But have you ever considered how patient Jesus was, He is God, He could have just appeared but instead

He ‘stopped to be born in the womb of His mother.’ 

‘He waited patiently and grew up.’

‘He was not impatient to be recognized as God’

I don’t know about you but I have impatiently waited to understand Gods’ plan for my life, to understand why He has placed me where I am. To when He will bring me into the right job.

I’ve always been told patience is a hard lesson to learn, I honestly don’t think patience is one of those lessons that ever ends because every time we think we are being patient something new comes along. We are not a culture that likes to wait. We expect everything in the here and now. Even our food is made to cook in 90 seconds in the microwave. We’ve grown up in a society that survives on the fast food and on the go meal. We can get yogurt in a tube just so it can be eaten while on the run. Everything has been made for us to go go go so much so that we forget how to slow down and breath and to be patient.

With Christ as our model, let’s remember that He did not rush things. He grew up just like we did. He spent 9 months in the womb. He took time to learn and to be alone. He went to a quiet place to pray. Jesus knew how to slow down and appreciate each day and each person He came in contact with. He made real connections. He broke bread with His disciples and took time to fellowship, not only on a quick stop at the nearest Starbucks. This week let’s start to slow down and really understand what it means to have Christ as our model. To echo His patience and love for others. To take time and really connect with someone this week.

-Elle

 

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards which I will be going through for the next 9 weeks.