The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book (review)

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Parables-CBThe Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional by Laura James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Parables of Jesus is a coloring book and devotional in one. Each of its 46 readings focuses on one of Jesus’ parables. The coloring picture that follows relates to the reading.

The devotional readings begin with the parable or part of it quoted from the Bible. The entry lists, as well, other places in the gospels where Jesus tells the same story.

The devotional readings include a variety of things such as explanations of the first-century customs behind the word pictures in Jesus’ story, how the people in Jesus’ day might have understood the parable, and a practical application from Jesus’ picturesque stories to our twenty-first century lives.

Devotions end sometimes with a prayer, sometimes with a question to answer, and sometimes with a challenge of how to apply the parable to life. Devotional pages are framed on one corner with a leafy border—also to color.

The pictures that follow each devotional illustrate the parable. There are lots of scenes with people as well as objects. The style of the people in the pictures reminded me of figures found in Egyptian art. The “About the Author” section of the book’s listing identify the style: “… reminiscent of Ethiopian Christian Art.”

Each devotion and coloring picture is printed on the right-hand (odd-numbered) side of the page with the opposite side blank—except for when the devotion needs more than one page, and it completes overleaf. The book is printed on heavy white paper, suitable for a variety of coloring media.

The book concludes with two lined pages for notes.

I found the devotions drew me in and helped me to know how to better relate to and apply these familiar but sometimes mysterious stories.

The format with its left-side pages of white space made the book feel uncluttered and peaceful. Users could write their own thoughts and responses to the devotions in the space or leave it blank.

The consistent style of the drawings throughout gives this coloring book the appearance of an illustrated picture book. The illustrations would only be enhanced with color added, making it a perfect book to color and give away as an illustrated devotional.

This is a beautiful and inspiring book, designed to provide hours of coloring meditation.

I received The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional as a gift from Hachette Book Group for the purpose of writing a review.

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A Traveler’s Advisory (review)

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A Traveler's AdvisoryA Traveler’s Advisory by Marcia Lee Laycock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In A Traveler’s Advisory, author Marcia Laycock takes readers from the Arctic Circle to the jungles of Papua New Guinea and home again. Each of the 52 meditations draws spiritual lessons from a travel experience (sections are titled “In the Air,” “On the Road,” “On Vacation,” and “Far Away Places”) and make practical applications to life.

Written in Marcia’s characteristic warm, easy-to-read style, they make for fascinating and uplifting reading. Some of my favorites:

– Most fun: “Sea Shells and the Process of Faith” (p. 111)—hunting for sea shells on a Papua New Guinea beach.

– Sadly relatable: “A Wrong Turn to the Right Place” (p. 34)— going in circles is not fun!

– Would make my bucket list: “Angels in the Badlands” (p. 71)—a visit to the Passion Play in the Alberta Badlands.

– Most scary: “Doubts in the Storm” (p. 41)—being stuck on a highway from the Yukon to Alaska in a snowstorm.

– Most beautiful: “Small Miracles” (p. 87)—a hike through the Sepik area of New Guinea.

– Most weird: “An Appreciation of Light” (p. 73)—a trek through some skeleton-filled caves, a relic of cannibalism, in New Guinea.

Through these devotions we discover that God’s voice, help, direction, comfort, and protection can find us wherever we are.

A Traveler’s Advisory would be a wonderful volume to read while on holiday. Or if home-bound, enjoy these travels vicariously from the safety and comfort of your reading chair. Your life will be enriched and your appreciation for the Earth, its inhabitants, and the God who made them enhanced.

I received a copy of A Traveler’s Advisory from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

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Abundant Rain Journal (Review)

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Abundant Rain Journal: A Devotional Journal for Writers of FaithAbundant Rain Journal: A Devotional Journal for Writers of Faith by Marcia Lee Laycock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Marcia Laycock’s Abundant Rain Journal is a devotional journal that will be of special interest to Christian writers. Each of the 30 one-page meditations deals with some aspect of the writer’s life.

Laycock’s own experience as a writer makes her very aware of the discouragement, creative paralysis, tendency to procrastinate, and feelings of “what’s the use?” that can easily overtake those who work with words and ideas. She has used that knowledge to create a book of readings that will give Christian writers everywhere an inspirational shot in the arm.

Each devotion is paired with a short question and a blank ruled page inviting the reader to interact with the ideas just read.

As a writer myself I found many of the entries both a challenge and an encouragement. I like how Laycock uses typical writerly experiences like waiting for a shipment of books to arrive, or getting a rejection as illustrations. From her experience of writing in a variety of genres, she is able to relate to the writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry alike. Though I read the book quickly the first time around, I plan to go back and respond to many of the journal prompts. Some of my favorite quotes:

“The gift of language is God’s instrument in our hands” – p. 46.

“As writers, we have all been given a spur–the gift of communication–to use for the sake of others and for the sake of our most faithful God” – p. 50.

“We borrow language, words, images, the stuff of writing. It’s up to us to acknowledge the original owner, to offer back to Him what we have done with what we have borrowed” – p. 54.

If you’re a Christian writer who is looking for a devotional that is sympathetic to your avocation, you’ve found it in this volume. For those seeking to establish a habit of  writing regularly, the journal question that accompanies each meditation could function as a writing prompt. As well, I think this book would make an excellent devotional component for Christian writing groups.

I received a gift copy of Abundant Rain Journal from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

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Stop 2 on the John 3:16 book launch blog tour

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I’m excited to be STOP 2 on the John 3:16 Network’s spring book launch tour. This post features John 3:16 Network founder Lorilyn Roberts and her newest book Am I Okay God? It’s a companion devotional to her novel Seventh Dimension – The Door, A Young Adult Fantasy.
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GUEST POST FOR THE JOHN 3:16 BOOK LAUNCH BLOG TOUR

STOP TWO ON THE TOUR

Lorilyn Roberts

 

Devotional ebook by Lorilyn Roberts

 

Am I Okay God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension

By Lorilyn Roberts

Excerpt

 

John Piper wrote a book titled Don’t Waste Your Life. It’s one of my favorites and I would encourage you to read it. But I want to take it a step further. Think about these things:

 

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From Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy:
“People journey to the seventh dimension when something happens that creates a longing—so great that nothing else can fill it, except the king himself.”
—Astella, chapter thirty-seven.”

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Admonish Yourself

Don’t waste your life—work hard, train like an Olympian—and find your purpose in Jesus Christ.

Don’t waste your education—enrich your mind with the knowledge of God’s creation.

Don’t waste your talents—glorify God with your creativity—make kids laugh, dancers dance, and praise God, the Creator.

Don’t waste your health—you only get one body, one mind, and one spirit.

Don’t waste your time—you can only spend your time once. Spend it on activities that will draw you near to God.

Don’t waste your opportunity to do great things—Jesus died for you. Give him your best. He gave you his life.

Don’t waste your money—many in the world need food and medicine. World Vision, Wycliffe, and Samaritan’s Purse are among my favorite charities.

Don’t waste your love—the world never has enough. Love until you grow weary and go to bed exhausted. The HolySpirit will renew your strength and passion. Your tank will never run dry.

Don’t waste your mind—it’s too precious. Think about whatever is beautiful, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, and whatever is lovely. Renew your mind with the daily reading of God’s word. God’s Hall of Fame is filled with martyrs who died so you could own a Bible.

Don’t waste this moment—if you haven’t done it, accept Jesus into your heart. Once you receive his salvation, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will help you to live a godly life. You may not have tomorrow. Yesterday is gone. Seize this moment—this nanosecond, and make a decision to follow Christ.

Once you have committed your life to Jesus, visit some churches and find one that meets your spiritual needs. You can also do a Google search to locate some places of worship near you.

Jesus is coming back again. He wants to receive you into his kingdom. An inheritance awaits you. In heaven, moths don’t eat your dreams, burglars don’t steal your wealth, and diseases don’t rob you of life.

Don’t waste your salvation—bring others into the kingdom. Be a witness so that others can hear the truth. Remember, eternity lasts a very, very, very long time.

http://bit.ly/Dont_Waste_Your_Life

Lorilyn Roberts

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lorilyn Roberts graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama in 1991. Her studies included spending two weeks in Israel at the start of the Gulf War and touring England, Australia, New Zealand, and several countries in Europe. She later attended the Institute of Children’s Literature and earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College.

Roberts says, “If we fail to teach our children how to live out their Christian faith practically, we will have lost an opportunity to impact the world for good. It only takes one generation to forget the past. As JRR Tolkien said, ‘There is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.’”

Lorilyn’s website:
http://LorilynRoberts.com
http://LorilynRoberts.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LorilynRoberts
Facebook: http://bit.ly/Facebook_Lorilyn

 

Sign up to receive Lorilyn Roberts’ email to stay up to date with her latest writing projects, books, and adventures using the QR Code below.

QR Code-L Roberts newsletter signup

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DON’T MISS OUT ON THE NEXT STOP!

John 3:16 Book Launch Blog Tour Schedule is as Follows:

Stop One
Monday May 5
Lisa Lickel
Featuring Author Randy Kirk

Stop Two
Tuesday May 6
Violet Nesdoly
Featuring Author Lorilyn Roberts

Stop Three
Wednesday May 7
Ashley Wintters
Featuring Author Laura J. Davis

Stop Four
Thursday May 8
Katherine Harms
Featuring Author Emma Right

Stop Five
Friday May 9
Kimberley Payne
Featuring Author Lorilyn Roberts

Stop Six
Monday May 12
Carole Brown
Featuring Author Randy Kirk

Stop Seven
Tuesday May 13
Barbara Ann Derksen
Featuring Author Laura Davis

Stop Eight
Wednesday May 14
Chris Weigand
Featuring Author Emma Right

Stop Nine
Thursday May 15
John 3:16 Blog
Featuring Our Landing Page

Make sure you check out the John 3:16 Books Being Launched May 1 through May 17 – win a $50 Amazon gift card, the four books being launched, and much more.

http://John316MarketingNetwork.com

We have a Rafflecopter drawing to win a $50 Amazon gift card and/or ten Kindle books that winners can choose from over two hundred books on our Pinterest page at:

http://bit.ly/John316Pinterest

You can also check out the Rafflecopter drawing on Facebook!

 

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Pilgrimage (review)

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Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus WalkedPilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked by Lynn Austin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A series of losses, disappointments, and unpleasant surprises have pummeled Lynn Austin. She is feeling bruised, spiritually dry, and, in plain words, depressed. And so she has high hopes for an opportunity to travel around Israel for two weeks:

“Spiritual renewal is what I long for … as I begin this pilgrimage. I want to see the bigger picture of His plan and learn to accept His will in all things. I want to revitalize my prayer life. … Maybe I’ll be able to let go of my own will and face the changes in my life with joy and faith” – Pilgrimage, Kindle Location 97.

Pilgrimage is Lynn Austin’s account of that two-week trip. But it is much more than a travelogue. For in it she gives the historical background of each stop. She reviews for us the Bible events that happened in each location. She explains Bible customs from her knowledge enriched by research for the many biblical fiction novels she’s written. And she probes those Bible events and characters for insights and lessons she can take back with her into everyday life.

Some things I really liked about this book were the lyrical descriptions of modern sites in Israel as seen through Austin’s eyes, the review of what happened at each location, and the explanations of interesting customs that add richness and depth to an understanding of the Bible. And I gained an appreciation of the humanity of this author (whose novels I’ve enjoyed) as she shared openly about her life.

One aspect of the book that disappointed me, though, was the way Austin explained her situation and feelings in the first chapter and then, throughout most of her travels, she merely named the feelings she was grappling with (anxiety, discouragement, impatience, worry, etc) without relating them to specific incidents or triggers. It seemed like a type of “telling’ versus “showing” and didn’t have the impact one would expect that kind of memoir-writing to have. Perhaps a more engaging way of relating these personal incidents would have been to leave that list out of Chapter One and tell about these events in bits and pieces throughout her travels. As it was, I had to keep reminding myself why she was feeling so negative—Oh right, that list from Chapter One. When she did include stories of her life that her travels brought to mind, my interest immediately picked up.

Pilgrimage would make a wonderful read-along guide for people touring Israel. Many locations are chapter titles and of course digital copies of the book are searchable so no worries if your itinerary differs from hers, just search the location you wish to read about: Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Joppa, Caesarea etc.

For anyone who loves Israel or hopes to tour the Holy Land, Pilgrimage is a good historical and devotional resource.

I received my copy of Pilgrimage as a gift from Bethany House (via NetGalley) for the purpose of writing a review.

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