Glimmer Girls By: Natalie Grant

  

Glimmer Girls:
London Art Chase and A Dolphin Wish

The Glimmer Girls series is an adorable series written by the singer Natalie Grant for young girls. The Glimmer Girls are three sisters that travel the world with their famous singer mother, Gloria Glimmer and their slightly off-kilter nanny Julia. Each book follows the girls on a new adventure. Through each adventure the girls learn valuable lessons about prayer, telling the truth, being a good friend and so much more.

This series is a great to add to any young girls reading collection, they are fun stories with valuable lessons, I highly recommend this series and they would make a great addition to any Easter basket.

From the author:
Glimmer Girls is a fiction series that I have created with my daughters.  The storyline is about three girls who go on tour with their singing mom.  I have no idea where I came up with that plot!  It’s fun for my little girls to help with the content because they actually live that life.  Glimmer is the last name of the family, but it also has a special meaning.  It is a light that is never extinguished.  Sometimes it may glimmer a little bit brighter, sometimes it may glimmer a little bit dimmer, but it never goes out.  I felt like that was such a perfect description for all of us.  We all have a light on the inside and depending on the day, sometimes it’s bright and sometimes it’s dim.  That is the message I wanted girls to get from this book.  You don’t always have to be shining bright, some days are going to be more difficult than others, but Jesus has put a light in you that will never go out.”

-Elle

I received these books complimentary through FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I Don’t Understand.

I don’t understand. This morning I have been following the news coming out of Connecticut about the school shooting. As of yet there is no official number, but reports are saying over a dozen people have been shot, many of them elementary school students.

I don’t have words to express how I feel about the situation, I don’t want to post a Bible verse in attempts to explain the situation. I don’t know what I can do except for to pray.

Pray for the families involved, those that instead of celebrating the holidays with their loved ones will be burying them.

Pray for the children that are part of the school community that will return to school without their best friends, that will try to understand what happened, that will struggle with surviving, that will struggle with losing classmates and teachers.

Pray for the individuals that are on the response teams. Those that experienced the scene first hand.

Pray for the families of the shooters and how this will affect them, and they pain they will go through.

Pray for the individuals that will help this community in the aftermath. The counsellors, the Red Cross, the teachers.

I don’t have the words, I don’t understand how someone can go to an elementary school to kill. I don’t understand how anyone can kill anyone. I don’t understand what this word is coming to. The hate, the violence, the negativity.

The one thing I do understand is that we need Jesus. We need His peace, His strength, His love. We need Jesus to redeem us, give us grace and mercy. We need to turn to Him to be in control of our lives and stop taking things into our own hands. We need to stop trying to solve problems by ourselves.

I don’t know what is happening in this country, in this world, that the news is full of negativity and devastation rather than stories of hope and encouragement.

Today join me in praying for Sandy Hook. For our country, our world.

Our world needs Jesus.

Praying and God Bless,

-Elle

Second Changes Everything. @IamSecond

It seems like many of us have grown up in a culture that tells us we should put ourselves first. We should strive to be in charge of our own future, to make first place on teams, to go after the promotion at work, to focus on me and what my needs are. Many of us have fallen into this trap of putting ourselves first, of never asking for help and relying on ourselves to get the job done, to provide for our families, to get to the next step in our lives, we lean on ourselves and see asking or seeking help as a sign of weakness.

Live Second tells you just the opposite. To go against the grain of what culture will accept as the norm, and look to someone else to provide, offer guidance, someone for you to lean on in time of trouble. Live Second will challenge you to step back and not put yourself, your family or your job first.  Live Second is a daily reminder to instead of putting things of this world and ourselves in first place, to change positions and place ourselves second and put Jesus first everyday.

Live Second is not your normal book or devotional, it is a daily reader that will challenge you to put Jesus first in every circumstance, but unlike other daily devotionals Live Second also uses social media to continue the discussion of what you learn each day and to share with others what being second means.

Live Second is broken down into different sessions with an over-arching theme and focus, each daily reading will provide you with Bible passages, questions to help you to dig deeper into the passage as well as questions to encourage you to implement what you learn into your everyday life.

Live Second is a book like no other that combines a daily devotional with social media to help you to grow in your walk with God and to teach you what it means to be second. This is an amazing book that will change who you are and how you respond to the world around you. Be prepared to see a change in your life and take the steps to becoming Second, I am Second, are you?

-Elle

I received this book complimentary from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Receiving God’s Love By Sheri Rose Shepherd

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Sheri Rose Shepherd
Receiving God’s Love
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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Think how powerful it would be if we spoke the truth about how God feels about us at least as often as we silently said negative things about ourselves or replayed in our minds all the hurtful things that have been said about us. The truth is, we are not what others say about us, and if the men we love speak hurtful words to us that make us feel unworthy, we don’t need to repeat them any longer. Instead we can learn to rest in God’s unchanging love for us.

Even if no one has ever said anything kind to you, your Prince Jesus longs for you to breathe in the tender love, compassion, and kindness He feels for you. If you’re ready to have Jesus, the lover of your soul, become reality to you, I invite you to do the following . . .

Breathe In His Love . . .

For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)

You know that feeling of exhilaration that sticks with you after you’ve spent time with a guy you know you’re falling in love with? As you part, you take a deep breath and feel waves of delight washing over you. Or you know the joy that wells up inside when your man unexpectedly says something so sweet that you feel treasured? You replay those words over and over in your mind because doing so gives you a lift.

Breathe His truth in; allow the words of your true prince Jesus to echo in your heart and soul.

After you consider God’s words to you—”I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3)—whisper toward heaven, “I love You, Lord.”

Sing about His Love . . .

Each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. (Psalm 42:8)

When I was learning to let myself receive God’s love, I would actually sing love songs to Him. Though they had been written for a woman to sing to a man here on earth, I began to understand that if I would crave God’s love first, He would meet my needs. Only then would I be able to give and receive love.

Today I love worship songs that sing of God’s love for us. I blare them throughout my house in the mornings so Satan will not be able to whisper lies to me any longer. Consider doing the same.

Write Love Letters to Him in a Journal . . .

Connect your heart to heaven by writing love letters to your Lord. It is amazing what happens to your heart as you begin to express your love in writing to the only One who will never walk away from or reject you. Hang on to this treasure of truth: how you feel about yourself will never change God’s love for you.

Let Us Pray . . .

Dear God,
I confess I do not feel worthy of your love. It is hard for me to believe that You even love me. Help me, Lord, to look to You for my worth. Forgive me for not allowing myself to receive Your love. Forgive me for looking to others to make me feel like I have value when You are the only one who can validate me and love me the way I long to be loved. From this day forward, I choose to let You love me so I can love others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live.
I will praise my God to my last breath!
May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD. (Psalm 104:33-34)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Feeling Unworthy of Love

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Sheri Rose Shepherd
Feeling Unworthy of Love
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:19)
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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There is a battle within most women’s hearts to believe they are worthy of love. If we believe the lie that we do not deserve love and are hiding behind feelings of unworthiness, even the most loving man in the world will not be able to break down the wall around our hearts.

Can you imagine if every night when you went to tuck your children into bed they refused to let you hug them or express your love because they did not feel they deserved it? As a parent, you would embrace them every time you could to prove to them they were indeed worthy of your love. If they refused to receive it because of how they felt, it would break your heart.

I believe that is how our heavenly Father feels when we refuse to let Him love us. But there’s so much more at stake when we feel unworthy of love. When we are locked up inside, we cannot become the women we want to be in our men’s and children’s lives. If we do not love ourselves and do not let God lavish His love on us, it will hinder us and hurt others.

There are many reasons we may fight feelings of unworthiness. Some of us had fathers who never expressed how much they loved us, and others had mothers who did not feel they deserved love and did not know how to show love, so we began to see our worth through their eyes and not through God’s. We may have been abused verbally, emotionally, or physically. Maybe our first love made us feel we were worthless. Some of us had all the love in the world from our families, but we felt rejected by our peers.

The list of things we women believe when it comes to love is endless. But the truth is, how we feel will never change how loved we are by the Lord. And nothing that we have done or that has been done to us can keep God from loving us. The question is, will we open our hearts and let His love in? I believe if God wrote us a love letter, it might read like this . . .

My Beloved Daughter,
I love you with an unconditional, everlasting love so you can be free to love. My precious daughter, don’t allow those who have hurt you to keep you from experiencing the joy of loving others. I know giving a piece of your heart away involves risk, but I am here to heal your heart when someone hurts you. I want you to choose wisely whom you allow in your heart, and I also want you to give those you love the freedom to fail. Remember that no one else can love you as perfectly and completely as I do. Don’t look for a perfect love in people, or you will always find disappointment and heartache. If you allow your soul to settle into Mine and become one with Me, you will never doubt that I am forever and always devoted to you.
Your Prince Jesus, who can’t stop loving you

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (Ephesians 3:18)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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There Are a Lot of Reasons to Give Up, but There Are Greater Reasons to Finish Strong By: Sheri Rose Shepherd

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Sheri Rose Shepherd
There Are a Lot of Reasons to Give Up, but There Are Greater Reasons to Finish Strong 
The Grand Finale
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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When you have dedicated your life to loving, encouraging, praying for, and pouring yourself into your husband, only to watch him, in a moment of weakness, destroy the foundation you worked so hard to build, you may feel as if your entire world has been wiped out. If this describes you, I invite you to read a real-life love story that I believe will give you the passion you may need to persevere under any and every trial. It will also give you a true picture of what love looks like when lived out with a legacy perspective. I call this story “The Grand Finale.”John and Marie were college sweethearts who dreamed of furthering God’s Kingdom together. During the first decade of their ministry, God blessed them with a growing church, two beautiful children, and a strong and loving marriage. Because of their commitment to God and each other, they became one of the most respected couples in the community. Their marriage was a beacon of hope to other young couples who wondered what marriage could be. John loved the ministry, and he loved the life God had given him. He was passionate about the call of God on his life, and he truly loved his wife.

One day as John was busy working at the church, a young lady burst through the door of the church office. She was crying hysterically, and John came out of his office to see what he might do to help. As she struggled to catch her breath, she told John about her desperate attempts to escape from her abusive husband. She was sure he would kill her if he found her, but she didn’t feel safe going to the police because they had failed to help her in the past. John quickly called Marie and asked her to take the young lady to a safe place. After Marie helped this distraught young mom gather her kids and some clothes, she brought them home to spend the night with her and John.

In a matter of days, Marie and John’s love for this young woman led her to become a Christian. After spending a few weeks in their home, she seemed like a new person. She was hungry for God and at peace. John and Marie felt great, knowing they had made such an impact on this young woman and her kids.

When this woman and her children were still staying in John and Marie’s home several weeks later, many of his good friends and family approached John and recommended that the woman find housing with another single mom. He was blinded, saying, “Marie is really helping her. I can’t ask her to leave now; she may fall away from the Lord.”

John’s good intentions without wisdom and his unwillingness to heed the warnings of others left him unguarded against the enemy’s attack. One night when Marie was out leading a Bible study, John was home alone with this woman. She had fallen for Marie’s husband and was determined to have him for herself. Tragically, Marie walked into her home to find John and the young woman in their bed together. Everything John and Marie had built was destroyed.

Unable to handle his guilt, John felt like such a failure that he left his marriage, his children, and his church to marry this young, attractive woman. Two years into his new marriage, however, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given only ten weeks to live. His second wife, who was still in her early twenties, decided she did not want to take care of a dying man. After emptying his bank account, she left him alone to die. He had no family and no loving church body to rally around him. In fact, he had nothing to show for his years of hard work and dedication to ministry.

As tragic as this story is, the ending is proof of God’s amazing grace. Marie decided that when John died, he should be free of guilt and shame. She went to his bedside, not gloating with condemnation, but offering to care for and forgive him. Her kids seemed almost angry at her for loving her ex-husband after all he had done. Her friends from church asked her why she was helping him. However, Marie wanted her children and church to remember, not how John had left them, but how she took care of him, never leaving his bedside until he drew his last breath.

On the day John died, his children and members from his church gathered around his bedside with Marie. They held hands and shared memories of how John had touched others’ lives when he was walking with God. Marie got a greater gift. By her sacrifice, she began the healing in her own heart and in her children’s hearts. Today they can all live free of regret and anger because they said a final good-bye to their father in a setting of God’s glorious love.

Marie finished strong in spite of the devastation, and she gave John and their kids an amazing final gift: she gave him her forgiveness and the opportunity to finish what he had started, even if it had to take place on his deathbed after their marriage had ended.

If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. (1 Peter 4:19)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Desiring a “Happily Ever After”

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Article 1
Sheri Rose Shepherd
Desiring a “Happily Ever After”
Fighting the Temptation to Give Up on Love and Marriage
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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I don’t know where you stand today with the man you love or loved—or if you are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. I can tell you, though, that if you’ve been hurt, you can be sure Your heavenly Father knows how hard it is to love and forgive the one who caused you pain. Yet regardless of the relational devastation you face, no one can keep you from finishing strong for God’s glory!I was raised in a non-Christian home. My parents have each been married and divorced to three different people. As part of several blended families, all I understood about marriage when I was growing up was “unhappily ever after.” But then I became a Christian at twenty-four and married my husband, Steve, just a few years later. Because of my love for God and my husband, I honestly didn’t think anything could shake my own marriage or faith.In the summer of 2007, however, my happily ever after was wiped out and my faith was tested. The family foundation I had worked so hard to build and protect was almost destroyed, along with my ministry, in that season of my life. I truly believed that God had forsaken me.

I had just finished writing my book for mothers about raising sons to become godly husbands. As I excitedly ran upstairs to e-mail the manuscript to the publisher, I suddenly felt as if something dark hovered over me. My passion for the book’s message was drowned out by the fear of an attack from the enemy that could come against me and my family if I stepped on his territory . . . young men and their future marriages.

I called the publisher and said I’d need to wait and pray for courage before submitting the manuscript. I went to my son, Jake, who was eighteen years old and a senior in high school at the time, and asked him if he had any plans of rebelling against his faith once he graduated from high school. I told him I was willing to give him freedom to find his own faith in Christ, but I didn’t want to put out a book about raising boys if my own son was going to walk away from the Lord. He reassured me that he was strong in his faith and that he felt I should publish the book. I decided to take the chance to make a difference and sent in the manuscript.

The book began climbing the charts, and everything seemed to be going well. I even began speaking with my son at conferences for mothers of boys. Then three months into my book tour, my fear of attack hit. My husband had taken a job that we had both prayed for. This job appeared to be a blessing; however, his new position required him to violate some of the boundaries we had put in place to protect our marriage, and we ended up separated.

There I was in the public eye of ministry, fighting to save future marriages, and somehow my own marriage was falling apart. My son was devastated by the division between me and his dad. It was too hard for him to deal with all his confusion, pain, and anger, so he took a break from his faith and began using drugs and alcohol to comfort himself. I had always known to run to God for cover when there was a great attack, but now I felt like He had left me alone on the battlefield to fight for myself. It appeared that all I had believed about God and all my effort to build a strong foundation for my own family had been shattered. My pain, my shame, and my life were an embarrassment. I felt as if I were battling an out-of-control fire that would burn up everything I loved and lived for. Every night I would cry myself to sleep as I struggled to understand why God had not protected me while I was attempting to accomplish something for His glory.

One night I could not take it anymore, so I fell to my knees and told God I either wanted Him to fix my family or I wanted to quit the ministry. Then I felt the Lord asking me a bigger question: Was My life, given on a cross for you, not enough for you to finish strong even if it means surrendering the life you wanted? For the first time I realized that my heart’s true desire was to feel loved and secure, and yet no man on earth could love me the way my Lord does. In that moment of crisis I found the true meaning of following Christ. God had not forsaken me, but He did want to free me from depending on others to give me my happily ever after.

That night I gave my heart’s deepest desire to God and chose to follow Him at any cost. In exchange, He gave me something so much better; He gave me peace that was more powerful than my circumstances. My faith was no longer in people; it was in Christ alone. Although nothing outwardly had changed yet, I had been changed. Today, Steve and I have celebrated twenty-five years of marriage, and our son serves God with His whole heart. He and his bride have given us our first grandbaby girl. However, to be honest, restoring our marriage was excruciatingly painful and more difficult than either of us expected. As hard as this trial was, it taught me a valuable lesson: our Lord is the God of comfort and the author of a new beginning. He can and will rebuild a beautiful life out of any broken heart willing to make a change. He will use one sacrificial choice; one act of forgiveness; one sincere, repentant heart; and one woman who is willing to step out in faith and start rebuilding with His love for His glory.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Greater By: Steven Furtick

Greater By: Steven Furtick

We’ve all thought about wanting something more, have had grand dreams of what we want our life to be like. Many of us have also left those things behind, leaving them behind for a rainy day. However, we never act on those dreams, we just wish and hope that they will magically appear in front of us. For the most part many of us get through by doing just enough, no more and no less, we do what we are supposed to do, go through the motions in our jobs, our day, our faith. Through his latest book, Greater, Steven Furtick is challenging us to do more than we are supposed to, to do more than simply get by.

Through the story of Elisha, Furtick encourages us to ‘burn our plows’ and to ‘dig our ditches’ in order to get the most of what God has prepared for us. Following God is not an easy road and Furtick points out the difficulties and trials that will come along the way but he is also reminding us that there is something more than our everyday. That there is something greater than who we are, through this book we are encouraged to take small steps that can lead to amazing realities.

You will be inspired by the book Greater to do and reach for more, instead of sitting back and dreaming, hoping for the day your dreams will be answer Greater encourages you to ‘Dream Bigger. Start Smaller.’ This book is such an encouragement especially for those going through the motions of the day and hoping for something more, this book is not a self-help book that gives you an eight step plan on how to achieve greatness, instep it is a guide based in scripture on how to become greater than you are currently and to come alongside God’s plans for your life.

This book is a must read and will challenge you in your everyday life.

I received this book complimentary from the publisher through the blogging for books program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

-Elle

52 Weeks 52 Verses: I will sing His praises

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”

-Psalm 28:7

I’ve never known what I wanted to do as a career, I knew what I enjoyed, I knew of possibilities, but I’ve never been the one that had a definitive answer. On the other hand I have friends that figured it out in elementary school, that knew what their dream job was and how to achieve it.

In the meantime, while after 26 years I am still floundering to figure out what exactly I should be doing I have been in various job positions, some I loved but were only available for a season, some I did because I needed to be working, others I’ve been bored with but needed something more. I can’t say I’ve ever had a job I really disliked, even when I worked at Home Depot I enjoyed what I was doing, I knew it wasn’t long-term but I actually felt productive. Until recently I have never experienced a job that I did not want to stay with for a while, that I’ve been tempted to walk out on more than one occasion and never to return again. Now even though I say that, and if it ever came to that I would probably walk out, return once I’ve calmed down and handed in my 2 weeks notice.

The job itself is not bad, in the right circumstance I believe I could really enjoy what I am doing; however, the work environment is not very healthy. My boss finds fault in everything and everyone else, in the past week I have found myself being blamed for things that happened that I had no part of, being yelled at for losing call in slips that were in his pocket. No matter what I do, it is always wrong and it’s so hard for me not to want to quit, to yell and scream and cry all at the same time. I’ve never been in a place where what I did was not appreciated even a tiny bit, where everything said to me is in a condescending tone and where after two hours of yelling and cursing are resolved by finding a single sheet of paper there is no apology or laughing it off, the day continues like it never happened.

I don’t find joy in waking up every morning, I don’t feel like I am helping anyone, and I don’t feel like I am being productive. All of which is new to me, and has been a struggle, when I look back 3 months I don’t understand how or why I am still there.

After a particularly hard day this week of feeling picked on and targeted a co-worker texted me saying ‘Don’t let the devil steal your joy” and that’s when I realized I had done just that. I had given away my joy and allowed myself to be filled with anger, frustration and negativity. All of which are not of God.

My job is not my dream job, trying to find the positive in it is not easy, and there will be days where I still want to scream and cry, but I will not let it steal my joy. This job is not my final destination, this job is only a season in the life God has planned for me, I trust Him, He has me here for a reason and I can continue to prayer for His strength and joy in the situation. I will continue to sing His praises and thank Him. I may not embrace this season as wholeheartedly as others but I have a job, I have an income, I am blessed to not have to worry about where my next meal will be, or if I will have a roof to sleep under.

My joy is not defined by the job I have, the people I am around, the things I may or may not accomplish. My joy comes from my God and I will always turn to Him and thank Him in all of my circumstances.

-Elle

Lord Undo Me By: Blake Williams

“Lord Undo Me”

“I don’t really worship these day
I don’t really stand up to praise you with songs
Or prayers or actions or with anything

I am full of all the right moves
I am full of all the right words
I am full of all the right religion

But it is all just illusion

I am really
Lonely
Lost
Calloused
Jaded
Cynical
Too religious
Too realistic
and well really just to lazy
to worship you anymore

I have lost my first love
I have lost the joy of your presence
But most of all I have lost the fear of your glory

Father I need to see you again
Like Isaiah I want to stand in awe of your glory
To fall down at your feet
To come face to face with your
Perfection,
Radiance,
Goodness,
Holiness,
Awesomeness

I want to stand before you and see you for who you are
and me for who I am
I want to be undone

I want to know me for who I really am
I want to see the depths of my heart
And know that you are the only way

You are the only truth
You are the only life
I want to see me and understand
What it really must have taken for you to

Love me
Care for me
See me
Speak to me
Want me
Communicate with me
Die for me
Die for me
Die for me

Lord, I want to stand in that place where all I can see is your glory
And my sin
Because in that place I can’t help but worship you.

Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
Lord, undo my heart
break down these walls that I love so much
No, wait don’t,
I’m scared I don’t know if I can handle this
don’t
But I can’t live this way anymore
I can’t stand here in this half-life
this going through the motions life
this not really alive life
Father, I need you so come in and do what you must

Cut out the tumor on my heart
Break down the walls that I love
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
let me worship you again”

-Blake Williams

We all have those moments, those times we get set in the motions, do what we are supposed to do, we raise our hands and lift our voices but our hearts are not in it. We do it because that’s what we have learned, or because we have allowed ourselves to forget the true reason of why we worship, the reasons why we lift our hands in praise, why we take the time to listen. We make excuses for ourselves, put up walls creating reasons why we are simply going through the motions.

I pray for God to undo me, to break down my walls, take away the lost and lonely feelings that the devil has filled me with to keep me from pursuing my God! It gets hard, no one ever said it was going to be easy, the only thing we can be sure of is that no matter how many times we fall down, God will be there to pick us up, He will be there with open arms accepting us back into His love and embrace. God will never turn His back on us, even when we turn our backs on Him, He will always be there waiting.

-Elle