Book Giveaway: 66 Ways God Loves You by Jennifer Rothschild

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. In Jennifer Rothschild’s book, 66 Ways God Loves You, we are given 66 summaries of God’s individual love messages in each book. That’s right! Every book—even Lamentations.

Take the book of Ezekiel, for example. At a time when most thought the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem meant that God had abandoned his people, Ezekiel’s message is one of hope; God’s promise to rebuild His chosen nation of Israel. Jennifer’s writings help personalize that hope. She encourages us to apply Ezekiel’s message to our own personal valley of dry bones. She writes:

“Sometimes we look at the landscape of our lives and see only a valley of dry bones. We look at dead dreams, lifeless hopes, and ruined relationships, and with Ezekiel, we wonder, Can these bones live? Can all this really come back to life? Can hope be restored? Can God breathe life into these dry bones? We all face times when everything seems dry and dead. We can only summon a weak, “Lord, You alone know the answer.”

God’s promise to us today is, ‘I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD ( Ezekiel 37:6).’

Open your spiritual eyes today to see that God, and God alone, can turn your valley of dry bones into a wellspring of hope. Then ask Him to breathe new life into you.”

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to stop, reflect, and invite God to breathe life into some dead zones of my life. Jennifer has a way of doing just that chapter, after chapter in this book.

Jennifer’s ability to draw out truth and help readers apply it sets this book apart from other gift books. Through poignant but never gushy language, she engages her readers to not only read God’s love letters, but to put them into practice in specific areas of our lives.

Speaking of the practical, the format of this 6”x 7” book is both lovely and practical. A perfect gift book, with short two-paged chapters, the ideas are deep enough to take away life changing truth, but simple enough that anyone can learn from them.

66w-4Each chapter has a short title summary of God’s message of love:

  • In Leviticus, God Grants Me Access to Him
  • In Proverbs, God Offers Me Wisdom, More Precious Than Rubies
  • In Zephaniah, The Mighty God Sings Over Me with Great Joy
  • In 1 Peter, God Gives me Victory over Suffering

I’d recommend 66 Ways as a wonderful teaching tool for Bible study leaders, Sunday school teachers, and small group leaders who’d like a fresh perspective on God’s cover-to-cover message of love.

Thank you for reading my book review! To enter the giveaway, simply share a comment. A winner will be randomly drawn on Tuesday, November 1.

Signs, Wonders, and a Sleepy Church: book review of The Heavenly Man

When’s the last time you witnessed something truly remarkable? Certainly nature is remarkable. Miraculous even. But real-life, jaw-dropping, remarkable stories don’t come along every day, which is precisely why I couldn’t put this book down.

The Heavenly Man rocked my world. In his book, Liu Zhenying (aka Brother Yun) shares his story of enduring unthinkable pain and suffering including prison, torture, manhunts and separation from his family as a result of government crackdowns on Chinese Christian house churches.

Brother Yun’s devotion to lay down his life—quite literally—for Jesus Christ is beyond inspiring. I was instantly won over by His love for Jesus, hunger to know and memorize the Bible (the entire New Testament), and courage to share the gospel despite horrific persecution. And the miracles were astonishing, the same type of miracles we read about in Acts. The very miracles that have caused some to question if this story could all be true.

Many American and European pastors have asked Yun why we don’t see many signs and wonders in the West. I found great wisdom and biblical truth in his admonition:

“The greatest miracles we see are not the healings or other things, but lives transformed by the Gospel. We’re not called to follow signs and wonders, instead the signs and wonders follow us when the gospel is preached. We don’t keep our eyes on the signs and wonders; we keep our eyes on Jesus.”

We worship a miracle-working God. As pebble throwers who seek to reach out to the lost, broken, and hurting, we are on the front lines, co-laboring with the Miracle Worker himself. Brother Yun is in the trenches, laying down his life for the Great commission.

When you step out, literally into enemy territory, you will face persecution, and you will be desperate for the presence, protection, and miraculous power of God, the very same God “who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.”

This book contains miraculous accounts including [spoiler alert]:

  • Yun cries out to God for a Bible, has a vision of two men delivering a Bible who later appear suddenly in the middle of the night risking persecution to hand him, you guessed it, a Bible
  • Yun survives in prison for 74 days without food or water—yes, 74 days
  • Yun’s severely damaged legs are healed while God opens maximum security prison gates, through which Yun walks past armed guards and out of gates into broad daylight

One reviewer calls this book “an absolute must for the sleeping churches of the West.” Agreed. Are you up for a soul awakening? If you don’t want to read about the remarkable and prefer not to examine your own spiritual complacency, don’t open this book. But if you’re up for a wild-but-true story and a loving rebuke, then please do!

The Heavenly Man also schooled me on some things:

  1. How to pray for the persecuted church:

“Don’t pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure! Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects his love and power. This is true freedom!”

  1. To be careful of how our churches seek to grow and bring revival:

brother-yun-preaching“When I’m in the West, I see all the mighty church buildings and all the expensive equipment, plush carpets and state of the art sounds systems. I can assure the Western church with absolute certainty that you don’t need any more church buildings. [Those] will never bring the revival you seek.” He goes on to say what is needed: a return to the Word of the Lord and obedience to that Word. “When God moves in the West, it seems you want to stop and enjoy his presence and blessings too long, and build an altar to your experiences.”

  1. The greatest way to experience God’s presence and His blessings:

“It’s only when we step out in obedience and share the Gospel with people that we come to know God’s blessing in every area of our lives.” Philemon 1:6

“Every House church pastor in China is ready to lay down his life for the gospel. When we live this way, we’ll see God do great things by his grace.”

  1. What it truly looks like to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.

Have you recently read a book that challenged you, inspired you, or made you examine your heart for Jesus? Please share in the comments!

Lifehacks Bible Giveaway

Today’s the day! I’m uber excited about giving away The Lifehacks Bible. At first, I had no clue what a Lifehacks Bible might contain. But from the very first pages of the introduction, I was intrigued:

“This is a guide for every Christian interested in asking themselves, ‘What would I do to become more like Jesus?’ This Bible is designed for anyone who would answer, ‘I’ll do whatever is required to become more like Jesus. . . but I’m not sure what that process entails.’”

lifehacks2The Lifehacks Bible provides 365 articles that attempt to explain the becoming-like-Jesus process, peppered into the NIV (New International Version) of the living word of God.

To explain this Bible’s goals, let me breakdown two terms. First: spiritual formation:

According to author Joe Carter, spiritual formation is “the process by which Christians, in union with Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, become conformed to the character of Christ for the purpose of communion with God.”

Ok. So, what’s a lifehack?

Any advice, shortcut, tip or skill that helps you get things done more efficiently and effectively.

lifehacks3These lifehack articles (one for every day of the year) give very practical, doable exercises and disciplines to become more like Jesus. Still not sure you get it? Here are some of the lifehack topics:

  • scripture memorization
  • journaling
  • gratitude
  • rest
  • prayer
  • seeing Jesus in Scripture
  • obedience
  • fasting
  • evangelism
  • solitude and silence
  • and more!

One of my favorite aspects of this Bible is how it motivates and guides me in asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate the words of scripture—whether Old Testament or New—and show me how to apply them to my life.

I did struggle just a bit with focus and staying on the text. With a plethora of fascinating articles like “How to handle hard-to-understand-texts in the Bible,” “The Benefit of Reading the Scriptures Aloud,” “What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Worshiping,” and “Sleep as a Spiritual Activity” flipping around to read only the articles and skipping over the actual Bible was tempting.

Still, I highly recommend adding this Bible to your spiritual toolbox as you seek to work out your salvation with fear and trembling and take up your cross daily as a disciple of Christ.

So what are you waiting for? Comment below and I’ll enter you in my drawing. If you’re the winner, you’ll be notified on Friday June 24th after 5 p.m. If you don’t win, go here to purchase one for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

Another Giveaway!

I’m on a roll with giveaways lately. Mostly because my awesome literary agency is giving me an opportunity to read and review some hot-off-the-presses Bibles. I think you’re going to love this one!!

lifehacks1Later this week, I’ll be posting my review and you’ll have a chance to enter the giveaway. If you haven’t joined my blog by clicking the follow button and entering your e-mail, do it now so you don’t miss my next post and the chance to win.

In the meantime, go here to check out this new Bible and some of its features.

Happy Wednesday everyone 🙂


Want to win this? Enter my Giveaway!

OK. I promised you a giveaway last week. And today I’m super excited to deliver on that promise!

To thank you—my awesome pebble throwing readers—for following me, reading my random musings, and joining the conversation each week, I’m giving you a chance to win this soon-to-be-released Bible by Thomas Nelson.

And guess what? You’ll be among the first to own it because it’s not even hitting bookstores until June 7th! I think you’re going to love it!

The American Woman’s Bible highlights extraordinary actions and words from influential women in our country who live out biblical virtues.

It features women like abolitionist, Angelina Grimke, who spoke out publically against slavery in the 1830’s, bravely issuing challenges to women such as:

“I know you do not make the laws, but you are the wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and grandmothers of those who do. If you really suppose there is nothing you can do to overthrow slavery, you are greatly mistaken.”

Tucked inside this Bible you will find profiles of Christian women, some who are well-known historical figures such as Rosa Parks and others like Lisa Beamer, whose heroism continues today. (Lisa’s husband, Todd, lost his life derailing a terrorist plot to crash a plane filled with Americans in the succession of September 11th terrorist attacks.)

I believe you’ll enjoy the wide array of America’s outstanding women represented in this Bible and find yourself encouraged to make a difference in society and leave your ripple effect on future generations.

Features of this Bible include:

  • Theme articles showing how biblical virtues have shaped our nation
  • Biographies of influential American women highlighting key points of their lives
  • Inspirational quotes by or about great women, famous and not well-known
  • Introductions to each book of the Bible
  • Essays about biblical virtues embodied in women during key chapters of America’s history
  • Presentation page for gift-giving

To enter my giveaway for this awesome Bible, simply leave a comment below. Tweet: Enter my giveaway for the American Women's Bible, by leaving a comment on my blog. via @MaresaDePuy(click to tweet)
I will draw a winner on Tuesday, June 7th. Thanks for stopping by and may the best woman win 🙂

Book Giveaway!

I went out on a limb recently. I agreed to read and help promote a book for someone I don’t know. The author belongs to the literary agency I’m blessed to be a part of. I firmly believe you reap what you sow and I believe in serving my fellow authors. Someday, when I’m in the process of launching a book, I will need many willing readers to review and share it with all their closest friends (hint, hint). So I jumped at this opportunity.

And then it hit me. . .

What if I don’t like the book? That would put me in an especially sticky predicament. But I’d already said yes.

Days later, my copy of the book arrived and I dove in.

Guess what, friends? I didn’t like the book.

I loved the book. Whew! And I think you’re going to love it too.

A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called by author Andy Lee looks into the hearts of five different Marys in the Bible juxtaposing their imperfections with their divine purpose. This book isn’t simply a study resource but a tool for women to consider their own hang ups and dreams, and how God might use both for His greater kingdom purposes.

FBbanner_marylikemeAs Andy visits the Marys of the Bible and describes their interactions with Jesus, she doesn’t tell us what happens. She takes us into what happens, engaging the reader with five-sense descriptions and vivid details. Chapter after chapter, readers will be transported to:

  • a road outside of Bethany where grief-stricken Mary (Martha’s sister) throws herself at Jesus’ feet after her Lord delayed his visit two days past her brother Lazarus’ death
  • the tomb of Jesus at the very moment He speaks Mary Magdalene’s name and she recognizes her risen Savior and Lord
  • Zechariah’s doorstep, where pregnant Mary of Nazareth greets her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. Readers look on as Elizabeth’s baby leaping even before Mary’s lips burst with the angel Gabriel’s good news that she was pregnant with the long awaited Messiah
  • and more!

Through the effective use of probing questions, Andy wonders (not wanders) through each Mary-Jesus interaction:

  • I wonder how Mary sitting at Jesus’s feet, while Martha toiled away, could be useful?
  • I wonder why five men divorced the woman at the well and the sixth refused to marry her?
  • I wonder if it ever slipped Mary of Nazareth’s mind—given that Jesus had become very much her son—that Jesus was also God?

Girl holding bookAs I wondered right along with the author, Andy dug deep into the original Greek or Hebrew (and sometimes even Aramaic) words that acquaint us with the Marys and lend depth to their thoughts and interactions. Her relentless inquisition of the text, creative imagery, and strong Biblical foundation made this book a stunning read. (It’s no wonder. Andy has her ministerial certificate degree from Eastern Nazarene University and has taught Bible studies for over twenty years.) Line by line, her experience and depth of biblical wisdom lend weight, wisdom , and wonder to the reader.

Also included in A Mary Like Me are:

  • Discussion questions following each chapter
  • Topical journal prompts to create dialogue between the reader and Jesus
  • Appendices: a Bible study resource guide, intercession guide for ministering to women suffering from depression/mental illness, and steps for leading a Mary study/discussion group

cherry-and-chocolateThe cherry on top of my Mary Like Me sundae was when Andy got personal. I didn’t expect God to use this book in my life. I set out wanting to bless a writing colleague. But in His boundless grace and wisdom, God had other plans. As Andy uncovered the human frailty of these women, I began to catch glimpses of myself. The Holy Spirit whispered to me about my flaws, my dreams, and my calling, and reminded me of His grace, His faithfulness, and His favor.

Joyful tears stained my cheeks as God used A Mary Like Me to remind me of buried dreams and boost my passion to pursue current ones. God has a habit of doing that. He begins by inviting us to bless others and He finishes by blessing our socks off.

One more thing about this book—make that one more word. It’s a word I use rarely and selectively.

Andy’s writing is anointed.

I believe it is touched by the Holy Spirit. I think it no coincidence that it took a total of seven years for her to write and publish this book and seven is the heavenly number of completion.

writer stuffI wonder if God might use this deep and colorful examination of God’s flawed-yet-called Marys to speak to you. Enter a comment below and one week from today I will randomly choose a winner to receive a free copy of A Mary Like Me.


Book Giveaway!

Do you need a new workout? I’ve got one for you. Warning: we’re not talking fitness. But, I suppose this workout did flex some spiritual muscles that were getting a bit flabby…

When I first began Becky Harling’s book, The 30 Day Praise Challenge, I expected a well-written, 20-minute-a-day parenting devotional. It turned out to be far more.

This past month, I learned how to let God turn my parenting worries and challenges into praises. Becky has a powerful lens through which she sees herself and others: praise. lensFor 30 days, I borrowed her lens by committing to praise God each day for some beautiful and not so beautiful things in my family.

sunriseI learned to praise God for my children’s struggles and celebrated how He uses these trials to draw them to Him. As I praised Him for my kids’ talents I began to see them in a new light. With fresh eyes, God showed me how they are uniquely fashioned as His masterpieces. One morning, my family picture was looking less than happy. I chose to simply praise God for the rising sun, which swelled into a wave of much needed hope to start my day.

curlAs I praised my way through 30 days, I discovered that Becky’s book is far more than a devotional. Like a curling iron that shapes a strand of lifeless hair into a soft, bouncy curl, God used this book to shape my flat and fearful, pleading prayers for my kids into praises that spring forth life and hope in our family.

If you could use a spiritual makeover for your quiet time, I highly recommend Becky’s book. Here’s where it get’s fun! There are 2 steps to be entered in a giveaway to win a copy of Becky’s book.

1. Leave a comment below.

2. Sign up to follow my blog by entering your e-mail address (for those of you who haven’t already done this).

Once you’ve followed steps 1 & 2, you are officially entered! The contest will conclude on Friday, July 17 at 12 midnight. One winner will be drawn from entries.

Ready … set … go!