Friday, October 30, 2015

NKJV Study Bible For Kids {Book Review & Giveaway}

I have a confession.  I have grown up in church and owned a Bible the majority of my life but it wasn't until the last few years that I have actually started reading it.  It's not that I haven't believed what everyone says about it being God's love letter to us but more that I just couldn't understand what I was reading when I opened it.  But over the last few years the Lord has brought me resources to use in reading His word. Now when I read the Bible it feels more like an exciting time to dig into a great book rather than something I know I'm supposed to check off my list.

Because of my own struggles in reading the Bible as a child I have a passion to see my kids and the generations to come be excited to read God's word.  If you have spent time in the word you know how life changing it is.  Reading it is not just a good thing to do but life to our body and spirit.

(please note: clicking the image contains an affiliate link where you can purchase the book)
With that said, I was SO excited to read and review the new NKJV Study Bible for Kids by Tommy Nelson.  Truth be told, this book is so good that my kids are going to have to share it with me! :)

We headed to Starbucks one day last week to do a little school work and brought the NKJV Study Bible for Kids with us for our Bible time.  The girls absolutely loved it so I thought I would share with you some of their favorite parts of the book.

Livvy chose to look up the book of Esther and Ellie the book of Matthew. 

One of our favorite parts of this book is the description it gives of each book of the Bible. As you can see it explains what the book is about, who wrote it, when it was written, why it was written and how it can be applied to our life. 

These spotlight sections are placed throughout the Bible which are great for a quick read or devotional. It breaks it down in a way kids can understand. 

Since this is our first year to homeschool I absolutely love this timeline section in each book. It's a great way to give the kids, and myself, a visual of when and where the story took place. 

My girls love these starring roles sections because they describe personalities of major people of the Bible. 

Epic ideas are placed throughout for the kids to read and learn more practical things about the christian life. The dictionary is awesome for those hard to read words that most kids, and adults, don't know the meaning.

Would you like to win a FREE copy of this NKJV Study Bible for Kids from Tommy Nelson?  Simply leave a comment below and answer this question:  What are your favorite Bible study tools?  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Shame Game

A young 16 year old girl was sitting in a sea of people yet felt so very alone. She vowed that one day she would leave that town, burn bridges and start a new life. That girl did just that and yet she found herself in college, sitting in a sea full of people, feeling so very alone. "I know what I will do" she thought to herself. "I will stare at the ground and not say a word. Then no one will notice me and I will never have the opportunity to mess up. No one will know me or my name and I won't have to feel any more pain". But as the days, and years, went on she realized that pain deep down never went away. No matter how much she put up walls between herself and friends, family and even her husband, that pain was still there.  "What is this pain?!" she cried out to God.  "What is wrong with me? Why, no matter how much I hide, does this pain remain?  I thought if no one knew me, the real me, I wouldn't have to experience pain. No more pain of rejection and no more pain of disappointment. If only I could remain invisible then all this pain will go away.  Yet it remains.  In fact, the more I run the stronger the pain grows. Please help me God,  I can't go on this way".  

Can you relate to this girl?  I sure can....because it was me. If you have breath in your body you have probably dealt with shame in some area of your life. Shame crept its way into my life as an overweight child. I would hide behind over sized t-shirts and athletic shorts in hopes that no one would notice me. That shame stuck with me and as a teenager I made many poor choices which resulted in a great deal of shame surrounding me. I thought if I could run fast and far away from that shame that it would disappear. I thought if I became a nobody and no one knew my name that those painful experiences would cease to exist. But the truth is the further I ran the more intense the pain and shame became.  

The problem with shame is that it causes us to dwell in darkness.  Everything we do is hidden or secret for fear of people around us knowing the truth. Shame has been around since the beginning of time when Adam & Eve hid from God out of shame. Satan tells us to run and hide but God tells us to bring it into the light. 

The Lord has brought a great deal of freedom and healing in my life but this last weekend I attended a conference and the Lord revealed to me a root of shame that I was still carrying from that 16 year old girl I just described. The Lord showed me that root of shame had not been dealt with and was causing me to receive shame in other areas of my life without noticing it.  

Some daily things I would experience shame on included feeling shame about eating a cookie, or not exercising, or thinking I was failing as a mom, not feeling worthy enough to be a church leader, feeling stupid for writing this blog, not feeling worthy of God's love. As God uprooted that root from almost 16 years ago I felt shame in all these other areas fall off.  I feel like I just delivered a baby, the intense pressures to be perfect are gone and I lost weight over night.  

Shame will literally suffocate and paralyze us, keeping us from walking into the destiny God has on our lives.  Do you have a root of shame in your life?  Here are some spiritual truths for you today:

Shame says: I must keep things hidden, it is safer and easier that way.
God says: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Shame says:  I am not enough. I will never measure up.
God says: I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power.(Colossians 2:10)

Shame says: I have done too much. God will never be able to use this hot mess.
God says: I love to make a message out of your mess.
                   I am holy and without blame before Him in love. 
                   (Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 1:16)

Shame says: I will never be able to overcome this addiction. I am a loser. 
God says: I have the Greater One living in me; greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Shame says: I am too fearful and timid to be used by God.
God says: I don't give a spirit of fear or timidity but power, love and a sound mind. 
(2 Timothy 1:7)

Shame says: I am too dumb to do anything great. No one will ever take me seriously.
God says: I have received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my understanding being enlightened. (Ephesians 1:17-18)

Shame says: I am not special. There is nothing unique or lovable about me.
God says: I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

Shame says: I am not chosen or valued.
God says:  I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people. (1 Peter 2:9)

Shame says: I am not forgiven. Therefore, I must put my sins on replay and beat myself up over them.
God says: I am forgiven of all my sins and washed in the Blood. (Ephesians 1:7)

This list could go on and on. I can promise you for every thought of shame or insignificance you've had there is a promise for you in God's word to counter it. It says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we must take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. We do this by speaking God's word to that thought. Stop playing the shame game with the enemy and start receiving God's grace and love today. 

I pray that as you are reading this, any spirit of shame will fall off you in the name of Jesus. Bring the darkness into the light and allow God to wash you with the blood of the lamb. The only place you can run from shame to receive healing is into the arms of Christ. Let Him heal you today.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Dream I Will Never Forget

As we were riding along to church this morning my 6 year old daughter asked if she could tell us her scary dream she had last night.  "Sure" I said, while continuing to put on make-up and half listen as I waited for another story that was so far fetched we could easily tell her that would never happen and not to worry about it.  But as she started talking she caught my full attention.  Read on for her dictation of the dream:

"I had a dream that there was a small fire under my bed. It didn't spread it just burned in one spot. We were all playing in the play room and noticed smoke so we ran to my room to find the fire. When we were all in the room a snake that was dark red with black spots on its back came into the room.  But it was weird, it started talking to us like it was a human. It said "God doesn't love you" then disappeared. None of us said anything but just had wide eyes. We left the house and when we opened the garage another snake appeared but this time it turned from a lizard into a snake. We ran back inside and found that red snake back in our house, it had come in through the front door. Ellie said to me "Livvy you know how to get rid of the snake, you have to pick it up and throw it outside!" So I walked over to the snake and touched it. It hissed at me then went out the front door and didn't come back."
As you can imagine this left me almost speechless.  Call me crazy but this was not just another scary dream. This was one of the best visual illustrations of how satan sneaks into our lives and tries to whisper lies. Just like he took the form of a snake to get Eve to believe a lie he tries to disguise himself to get us to believe lies. He whispers things like:  God doesn't love you, no one loves you, you aren't good enough, you aren't thin enough, you aren't smart enough, you will never be enough. We have all experienced his lies at some point in our life and unfortunately we don't often recognize them as lies.

We spent time talking with Livvy about the meaning of her dream but at the end told her to ask God to teach her something through it. When I picked her up from her class at church she ran out the door to me and said:
 "Mom, God spoke to me about my dream!  Our lesson in church today was about not being afraid. I felt God say that was for me about my dream. I don't need to be afraid because He is with me. Just like when I touched that snake and he left. He hissed before he left because he was mad he had to go. But mom, God showed me I have Jesus inside me and because of that satan had to leave! Mom, I'm just so excited that God actually spoke to me in real life!".
Now do you see why this is a dream I will never forget?  Not only did I leave with a visual of how very real satan tries to manipulate us and get us to believe his stupid lies but God used this nightmare of my daughters to teach her that He still speaks today.

As I tucked Livvy to bed tonight she said "Mom, I just know that I am going to dream of rainbows and princesses tonight because last night was a learning dream and I don't have to be afraid anymore."

Wow, just wow.  You are so cool God.

Do you have an area in your life you may have believed a lie?  Ask God to show you. He longs to bring freedom to every area of our life.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Win or Lose I Love You! {Book Review & Giveaway}

Recently our girls, Ellie & Livvy, have started playing soccer.  Ellie loves to get out and try new things and usually has a good attitude whether she wins or loses.  Livvy, on the other hand, has been hesitant to try sports.  When I asked her why she told me "because I'm so afraid of losing!"

I don't know about you but I can relate to Livvy much more than I can Ellie.  I remember as a young child never wanting to try things for fear of failure.  I remember being terrified of coming in last place(because I often did) or worse yet falling on my face in front of everyone.  The mere thought of it was paralyzing.

But, as evidenced by this blog, I have overcome that mindset.  I have learned that I would much rather fall flat on my face in front of everyone then to continue to hide and never try things.  There comes a point in all of our lives that we must decide if we would rather take a chance and possibly fail or sit back and watch life pass us by always wondering what could have been.  I tell my kids the pain of failure is so much less than the pain of never trying.

While I would like to give say my new found courage is me mustering all my strength to be brave that is simply not the truth.  The truth is the closer I get to God and realize how deep His love is for me, I am less afraid of what people think of me because my hope and my security is in him.  

I was excited when I was asked to review Lysa Terkeurst new book "Win or Lose I Love You!" because it addresses the heart of the issue of our attitude in winning or losing in life and finding our hope and joy in Christ.  The book uses adorable forest animals and kids, Max and Lulu, who are playing different field day games.  The characters are cute, relatable and engaging for kids of all ages. I have to admit even I could relate to the different characters.  Some of them were great sports and others not so much.  Lysa did a great job of making the forest animals come to life and teaching kids the importance of being a good winner and a good loser.

My kids have asked me to read the book to them multiple times and every time we read it something new comes to life.  I asked them each what they liked about the book and here are their responses:

Ellie(age 8): I liked that the book was fun to read and it taught me how to not be a poor winner or a poor loser.  
Livvy(age 6): I learned that if you win or lose people will still love you.  
Zeke(age 4): I liked the animals, they were funny. I learned you will love me no matter what.  

My favorite part of the book was the very last page that had 10 biblical words of wisdom(scriptures) whether you win or lose.  I had each of my kids choose the one that spoke to them most to memorize.  The girls told me these will help them next time they have a soccer game. :)

Whether your kids play sports or not, every family needs this book.  From soccer games, to board games to getting up and speaking in front of their class, my kids will never forget the life lessons learned in this book.  You can purchase your copy by clicking the image below:

Would you like to WIN a FREE copy of this book?!  Simply comment below and tell us who you would love to give this book to OR ask your kids how they know they're loved by you and share their response with us for a chance to win!