Saturday, January 13, 2018

Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer


By: Melissa Baker


I have recently had the opportunity to read Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer by Jeannie Blackmer. This is such a great book. It is primarily focused on the book of Mathew. Each section of the book contains a story, followed by personal response and reflection with scriptures, and a space to write your own reflection or prayer. This book really reminds me that the people in the Bible that talked to Jesus really are just like us. They were human. They had troubles just like we do. And that really gave me new insights in my personal Bible reading and prayer life. I enjoyed reading all of the stories, most of which are well known and important stories. I also loved reading the personal responses after each story. It goes into depth and explains each story while putting a brand new perspective on the story and the people in them. The reflection section has several scriptures relating to the story, which gives the reader the opportunity to further study and dig deeper into what was just read. And lastly the observations section asks you a question about your own thoughts or observations about the story and ends in a prayer. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be closer to Jesus and who may even need a new perspective on prayer. I know I am always trying to get a new perspective on things, prayer being one of them. This book really does give you a fresh perspective on prayer!


About the Author:
Jeannie Blackmer is the author of MomSense: A Common Sense Guide to Confident Mothering and Boy-sterous Living: Celebrating Your Loud and Rowdy Life with Sons, and co author of Where Women Walked: Powerful True Stories of Women’s Perseverance and God’s Provision. Her articles have been published in Guideposts, Today’s Christian Woman, Thriving Family, MomSense and more. She is also a frequent guest blogger on several Christian Women’s blogs. 
Jeannie earned her bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is married to Zane and they have three adult sons who, for now, all reside in Boulder CO. 

About the Book:
Sometimes it’s easier to pour our hearts out to someone we can see in front of us- our inability to physically see Jesus can make us feel far from him. We often wish that we could see him face to face as we pray.
Talking to Jesus helps us bridge that gap. Based on well known accounts of Jesus taken from the New Testament, this book shows that the people who met Jesus had the same worries, hopes, and questions that we have today. Through this collection of biblical encounters, we can take a fresh look at conversations between Jesus and those who believed that he could help them. The heartfelt requests of these people show Jesus’s love for everyone, from the earliest believers who spoke with him in person to modern believers who pray to him today. 
Talking to Jesus reminds us that we can talk to Jesus anywhere, anytime about anything, because he is the same yesterday, today and forever.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Back To The Basics

By: Melissa Baker

As we start this new year, I am reminded of something we should all be aware of. In the middle of our busy lives, we forget sometimes that it is supposed to be all about God. We have work, church, our kids, our husbands, extra-curricular activities etc, and we make our lives all about us. It is so easy to get distracted by everything we have going on, that we forget to put our focus on God. The very first sentence in the Bible said that God was the beginning. He was the thing that started this life, the solar system, the universe and everything inside of it. God created Heaven and Earth, and we sometimes forget that.  We try so hard to define what life is all about when it is all about God, and it will always be about God. 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
  Genesis‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God is the beginning and the end. He is the maker of all of us. God still sits on the throne. And it is up to us to acknowledge that and let Him take control. I have read that one of the best ways to understand something, is to go back to the basics. The basic foundation of our lives is God.  Sometimes we let life get the best of us, and slowly we start drifting away from God, and before we know it, we don’t even know Him anymore. So let’s start this new year off right! We need to make this life about the one who it is supposed to be about. Reading our Bible and praying to God daily is so important. We need to make God the focus and foundation of our lives, even more so than He already is. Let’s get back to the basics. Let’s go back to God!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Revelation‬ ‭22:13‬ ‭NIV



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Let the Children Come Sample Tract Pack


My husbands family has been in the children's ministry for years. My mother in law had been in children's ministry for over 30 years before becoming lead pastor, and my sister in law has been in the ministry for many years as well. I have found that the items in the "Let the Children Come sample pack" would be excellent for sharing the gospel with kids, and a wonderful tool for children's ministry. Each sample pack comes with 10 gospel tracts and evangelism tools. These would be great items to use in Sunday school classes, VBS, or any other childrens events for that matter. These are great outreach products to reach the community and I think kids would enjoy these products and share them with their friends. If you are involved in children's ministry or know someone who is, I would highly recommend checking out the Let the Children Come Sample Tract Pack!

About the Let the Children Come Sample Tract Pack:
Let The Little Children Come aims to provide effective gospel tracts and evangelism tools and resources for children. It is the hope that these tools and resources will help you in conveying the powerful gospel message to children. The gospel tracts are all specially designed to capture and hold the attention of children, while not distracting them from the core message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

If you would like to purchase the sample pack, you may do so Here.

Here are the individual tracts inside the sampler pack (clickable links):


















“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Family Honor Plate and Let's Talk Table Tyme Discussion Cards

By: Melissa Baker


I have recently had a chance to create a masterpiece with my children! It was such a wonderful bonding experience to decorate and spend time with one another. May I introduce to you the Family Honor Plate. This plate has the fruits of the spirit written in the center. On the outside, is where you can get creative. Get your kids and spouse involved in decorating this important family centerpiece. The Family Honor Plate is a symbol of what your family stands for and helps as a reminder to have good character. The plate comes with paint, paint brushes, 8 paint pots, 7 discussion starters, and a plate stand.

I would also like to introduce you to the "Let's Talk Table Tyme Discussion Cards". This is a great tool for getting to know one another on a different level and getting simple conversations started. It's an amazing ice breaker and tool as a parent, to get more than one word answers from our kids. It's fun to hear everyone's answers and you can even learn a thing or two about your loved ones. The discussion cards come binded on a spiral ring, with a stand, so you can place them in the middle of your dinner table and read from them. Or you can pass it around to take turns getting those conversations started!
                                                
About the plate:

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Step #1: MOM AND DAD - BE THE EXAMPLE. BE THE ROLE-MODEL:
The virtues are listed in the center of the plate for mom and dad to use as their anchor, their moral compass to guide them in how they need to show up for and to their children.  This is how our children learn what character (Christ's Character) is, what it looks like, what it feels like. Our children are watching us and learning from us. 

Step #2: BE ON THE LOOKOUT:
Look for the good choices and attitude your kids/spouse are making and showing throughout the day. Track it back to the virtues and character it shows.

Step #3 CELEBRATE THEIR CHARACTER:
Turn dinnertime into a celebration when you catch someone making good choices and showing good character and present their meal on the FAMILY HONOR PLATE.  This is when you:
·      Talk about the choices they made and the virtues and character that it showed (Be specific).
·      Talk about how they made everyone involved feel and the impact they had on people and how that is POWERFUL and BEAUTIFUL.

About the cards:
Every question is followed up with "Why?" to take everyone's answers to a deeper more intimate level.  That's where the magic is and the real conversation starts. So now when even a simple question such as..."What is your favorite dessert?" for example, rather than someone answering "Apple Pie" and then moving on to the next person, the whole family gets to walk down memory lane because it reminds them of Grandma Smith who always made apple pies with them when they came to visit." Her house always smelled of fresh baked pies and she gave the best hugs when we walked in the door." Communication is the key to connecting, building and maintaining healthy relationships.  When we are raise our children to be confident in their ability to communicate with others and get their point across, situations are less stressful and they have better outcomes.

 Learn how to do it and watch a video that walks you through it Here.

Watch another video from the owner Michelle Here.

Find out more about Michelle (https://honorplate.com/pages/about-us)

If you would like to purchase these items for your family and knock out those Christmas lists, check out the Online Store. These are great Christmas gifts, as well as amazing tools for your own family!



Friday, December 1, 2017

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women- Review and GIVEAWAY!

By: Melissa Baker

My husband and I are the youth pastors at our church. Lately, I have been searching for a good daily devotional that the teen girls in our youth group can relate to, and I have finally found it! It is called "Adored- 365 Devotions for Young Women". This devotional is very simple yet elegant. Each day starts off with a scripture, followed by a paragraph or two, digging deeper into that particular scripture. There are a few blank lines at the bottom of each page for you to write notes, prayers, or highlights that you don't want to forget. The topics that this book cover are things teen girls and young women deal with on a daily basis. And to be honest, I, as a grown woman, can relate to these devotions as well! This would make a great Christmas gift for that young woman in your life and would make a great start to the new year! If you or someone you know have ever doubted just how much God loves us, this devotional is for you! There are 365 days of proof, of just how much we are adored and loved by God. This is an excellent devotional and I would highly recommend this book to women young and old alike!

About the 365-day devotional:
Each day features an easy-to-read, relevant devotion paired with a scripture verse and journaling space to help readers reflect on the day’s message. The book tackles tough topics girls face, from bullying and social media to friendships and dating, all the while showing readers how infinitely precious they are in God’s sight.
For ages 13 & up

If you would like to purchase a copy of this devotional, you may do so Here.

Please visit http://info.zondervan.com/adored-devotional/ and you will receive a free 7-day download!

And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Click the rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ESV Illuminated Bible: Review and GIVEAWAY!!

By: Melissa Baker


I am so excited to share this amazing Bible with you! It is the ESV Illuminated Bible. I seriously felt like royalty when I was reading this Bible. It is so beautiful, inside and out. The illustrations are incredible! There is enough room in the margins of each page to make notes or journal. The pages are lined in gold, which adds a very nice touch. The design of this Bible has that old fashioned feel to it, but the text is in the English Standard Version, which is very easy to read and understand. At the beginning of each book, there is a beautiful illustration with the title of the book. And in the back of the Bible, there is an Index of Title Pages, where it explains what each picture represents. I have never seen such a gorgeous Bible! I am just blown away by the creativity and detail that was put into it. This is such a beautiful Bible and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read God's word in a very different and unique way, as well as anyone who is interested in journaling. 

ESV ILLUMINATED BIBLE:
The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible's single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs—inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God's Word.
  • 9-point, Lexicon
  • Black letter text
  • 2-color printing
  • 64 full-page, custom book opener illustrations
  • 50 full-page verse illustrations
  • 250+ hand-lettered margin verses
  • 100+ other illustrations throughout
  • Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi, whose work has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target
  • Thick, cream-colored paper
  • Wide margins
  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: Permanent Slipcase
  • Dana Tanamachi is an American lettering artist, graphic designer, and illustrator whose exquisite typographic murals ignited the worldwide chalk-lettering trend.  She has been commissioned by clients such as Instagram, Target, Google, Time Magazine, Nike, and West Elm. Learn more at tanamachistudio.com.

If you would like to purchase the ESV Illuminated Bible, you can do so HERE.

To find out more information about this amazing Bible,  please visit the website: IlluminatedBible.org.

Here is a video about the ESV Illuminated Bible: https://vimeo.com/237851665


And now for the giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Finding Your Lost Joy


What is something that is very easy for you to lose? Your keys? Your phone? Your sanity? Yes, all of these are very easy to lose, but there is something even easier to lose if you are not careful. Your Joy. You can lose it with a text, email or phone call. One conversation. One situation. One downfall, and you can lose your joy.
When we as God's children are not filled with joy, it not only makes for a bad time, but it also makes God look bad. Grumpy and cranky christians are a very bad witness. If we are constantly going around angry, sad or just plain unpleasant, who in their right mind would want what we have? The Bible tells us that the christian life can be summed up in three words: goodness, peace and joy. Romans 14:17 says: "The Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit! We should strive to have joy in our hearts, no matter what we are going through. The truth is, I struggle with having joy. Situations and circumstances often get me down and cause me lose my joy. But I have a feeling I am not alone. There are so many ways that people, yes even christians, can lose their joy. If you have ever gone through a time where you feel like you have lost your spark and you are not as close to God as you used to be, or maybe you are just going thru the motions of this life, you might have lost your joy. Wherever you are, just know that you can get it back. You can have the joy of the Lord present in your life again! So, how do we get our joy back? Well, first we have to admit we have lost it. We have to recognize that it is slowly fading or even completely gone. Examine your heart and see if maybe you are not as joyful as you once were. 
If you desire to have joy again, now is the time to make the change! Start asking God to restore your joy that you once had. "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Psalm 51:12. If you struggle with having joy, that should be your prayer. Focusing on God instead of your trials will automatically inspire joy. Sometimes, we get so caught up in everything that is going bad and it blurs our vision and changes our focus from God to our problems. We have to intentionally focus on God! Worship God and thank Him for everything He has done. The closer you get to God, the more joy and peace you will have in your heart, and in your life. 

This world needs more joy, so let's start with us! 

Have a great day!