Sunday, November 12, 2017

Spiritual Gift-Giving Guide

Spiritual Gift-Giving Guide.  Christians can give and receive gifts that nurture their relationship with God.
 The internet has already had its yearly explosion of STUFF. Gadgets and gizmos, clothes and chocolate covered cherries, boots and baby dolls.  And I have nothing against any of those things.  In fact, I'll be buying such things for the people I love this Christmas.  But perhaps like me, you'd like to offer something more than trinkets.  A gift that represents the way they love God.  A gift that nurtures their Bible Study and encourages them sink into the Word of God.  A gift that let's the world know they are believers from the heart.  What gift could be more appropriate than a spiritual gift?

You'll find here gifts for the men in your life, fathers, brothers, sons, elders, ministers and friends.  You'll find gifts for the sisters of your heart, mothers, sisters, teachers, daughters, and dearest friends. And don't forget the kids you love, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, students and little friends. 

The Men in our Lives


Good Words to Gladden the Heart (Volume 1) and (Volume 2): Mr. Slater has been preaching as long as I have been alive.  And these two devotional books are chock full of the wisdom that comes from those years of ministry.  Sweet and simple these would be great for a daily devotional or to share with a family at the breakfast table.  Each devotional has a scripture, song, prayer and devotional thought.

Mastering Life Before It's Too Late: 10 Biblical Strategies for a Lifetime of Purpose - Mr. Morgan builds his book around ten "patterns" for mastering life. This is not "Ten lifestyle choices to make you feel great!"  No, the author's stated goal for following these patterns is to be "pleasantly productive" in the kingdom of God.  Our days are limited, he says, and the only way we can make a difference is by managing our own lives. Read the review here.

Convicted: A Scientist Examines the Evidence for Christianity If you've ever wanted all the apologetics information you could want in one place, this is the book for you.  This would be an invaluable resource for young people just going to college. Read the review here. 

The New Inductive Study Bible (NASB) This Bible is a study method and Bible all in one package.  Package this gift with a box of colored pencils, and your loved one will be all set to begin studying the Bible in a deeper way.Read the review here.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy Eric Metaxes writes a biography of Nazi-era theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which will be enjoyed by the amateur historians/theologians or the novel-lovers on your list. Read the review here.

More Than a Passing Glance: Early Christian Art 
Most Bible students have never participated in an in-depth study of Christian images. Discover some of the most common symbols used by the early church, and learn why they are important and how they relate to the Bible. Great for your history, art or theology lover!


The Sisters of our Hearts


Women of Action: Transformed by Obedience:  Do you have a woman in your life who is loves God and longs to be transformed by Him?  This is the perfect book for her. And if you buy it from us, we have a special promotion. Give Women of Action as a gift and get a gift from us: A PDF of 12 Christmas Meditations. Click through to learn more. 

To be a Handmaid of the Lord: The updated edition is appropriate for women of all ages and situations.  It is structured as a study guide.  By in large each lesson is a series of insightful questions pointed at a particular topic.  Some of these lessons focus on specific women of the Bible and others on character traits that we should be developing.  The questions vary from very straightforward, "List the fruit of the Spirit. (9 things)"  to much more complex, "Read Romans 13:1-2.  Should we obey the government? YES or NO If "yes" was Jochebed (Num. 25:59) right to hide her son? (Acts 5:29)."  And they all draw the reader on to find the answers themselves in the Word. Read the review here. 

Life Lessons from the Book of Ruth: A Woman's Inspirational Study Guide for Living
Life Lessons From the Book of Ruth is an inspirational study guide for women. The book focuses on the motives and transformational life lessons in Ruth. Ruth teaches us to live righteously and happily in the service of God. 

Hearts on Fire: Susan Elliott who authored this series operates the site Church of Christ Women Authors and loves helping Christian authors get traction in their respective genres.  Each of the Hearts on Fire books stands independently but reflect Susan's desire to encourage women to study and obey the word of God. 

Has peace eluded you, despite your best efforts? Have you lost your joy? It's easy to feel helpless when everything pushes and pulls at us. Thankfully, you don't have to feel this way. Real peace and contentment come from the study of God's Word. Within the pages of the Bible are the secrets to a joyful life. My Heart Will Not Be Troubled teaches you how to leave heartache and grief behind, and recreate your life into one filled with hope, peace, and joy. Why not leave all your troubles behind, and grab hold of a new beautiful life?

Why live with your head bowed in sorrow when you can rejoice? It’s no secret that life’s hard, but you can learn to find the joy in everyday moments, despite the hardships that come your way. Rejoice Sister! You Have Ever Reason fosters your love for God and helps you build a stronger personal faith. Through this study, you will learn to be happy, grow in joy, and apply God’s wisdom in your life. You have nothing lose and everything to gain when you learn how to rejoice!

Why not add a little spiritual devotion to your daily life? Daily Spiritual Growth for Your Life is a collection of thirty articles on various topics. These devotionals will change you, charge you and encourage you to keep on keeping on. You can never spend too much time thinking about God’s word during a day. Daily Spiritual Growth for Your Life tackles topics that are relevant to every Christian’s life. Each devotional is designed to make you think, and come away with a greater understanding of each subject. This study will guide you to a greater joy on your spiritual walk, and a more vigorous zeal for putting God first in your life. So, why not add a little growth to your spiritual life, and spend the next thirty days in devotion?

The Apostle Paul spent his life trying to make amends for his mistreatment of Christians. He traveled thousands of miles, instructed congregations and taught a young man named Timothy. His lessons stand the test of time and are just as essential today as when they were first penned. Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth is a verse by verse topical study. Paul charged the young preacher to preach the word, and that charge is still ours today. Step into a study that will make the word come alive before your eyes and help you apply the timeless concepts found within Paul’s letter to your life. You can learn to rightly divide the truth, and live a full life of love, happiness, and hope.

Holy Labor: How Childbirth Shapes a Woman's Soul:As a younger woman I served as a doula and a child birthing instructor.  Finding material with a Christian understanding of childbirth (as opposed to scientific/medical texts or texts that focused on the birthing mother as a "goddess") was nearly impossible.  Holy Labor's author Aubry Smith is both a mother and a theologian.  I would recommend this book for any expectant Christian mother.

Redeemed, Purified & Peculiar: A Study of TitusRedeemed, Purified & Peculiar: A Study of Titus is an in-depth look at the book of Titus. Although Titus is a tiny little book in the New Testament, it is full of valuable lessons. Paul teaches Titus fundamental lessons that include how to better live as Christians, the organization of the church, and how to treat false teachers. Why not dig deep into this text, and discover the treasure contained therein? 


Bookmarks:  Designs By DJ has prepared bookmarks for all your holiday needs!  You can grab a set of 5, 10 or 50 for a very affordable price.  They are beautiful and perfect for tucking in your holiday cards, giving to the women in your ladies Bible class, or offering to coworkers as a quiet way to share your faith. Order your bookmarks here.

Diligent Woman Gear:  If you are like me there are plenty of women in your life who are amazingly diligent. Maybe they don't always get it right but day after day year after year they are warriors in prayer, in motherhood, as wives and in their homes.  Reward them with some awesome gear! Like this iPhone 6 case.  This lined journal.  Or this t-shirt.

The Kids We Love

The Little Guys

First Virtues (padded cover): 12 Stories for Toddlers. My preschool class LOVES this book.  Each story highlights one virtue (for example obedience) and then tells a short rhymed tale of a character who exemplifies the characteristic.  An ideal read aloud for the 2-4 crowd!

Pray & Play Bible for Young Children and Pray & Play Bible 2:  Some of the absolute favorite songs of my preschoolers have come from these books.  Although they are techinically not curriculum each lesson has songs, finger play, prayers and other ways to connect the story to the minds of young children.  The book is large, beautifully illustrated, and very accessible.

Kids and Tweens

The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters: A Children's Guide to the Old and New Testament: We bought our younger daughter a copy of New Testament: Stories from the Bible Told Block by Block last Christmas.  She doesn't know it, (SHHHH) but the Old Testament: Stories from the Bible Told Block by Block version of the Minecraft Bible is coming home for Christmas. The stories are adorably illustrated with Minecraft screen shots. The dialogue is humorous without being irreverent.  Any kid who is old enough to really get into Minecraft should be old enough for the books.

Hannah's One Hundred: Volume 4  We have received a CD of Hannah's hundred volume 4 from my mom last year.  In the 12 months my daughter has had it she has memorized every song on the CD.  That doesn't sound impressive until you realize that this means she memorized the entire book of James!  The songs are hokey; there's no getting around it.  But what 9 year old doesn't love hokey? See the other volumes here.

Strong Plants and Sculptured Pillars:The teen devotional is everything I could wish for.  It is accessible, faith-building, application-based, and focused on helping teens see how God has always valued the contributions of young people. Giving this book as a gift puts you in a position to encourage the teens in your life as they search for and follow God. Read the review here. 

Will You Be My Friend?: Growing Friends Within the ChurchMaking friends is hard, no matter our age. Will You Be My Friend reminds us to open ourselves up to relationships, and teaches us how to become real friends with those around us. While this book is geared toward a church family, its lessons are applicable in all areas of our life.

Student Workbook: Choose You This DayChoose You This Day asks, “Is there any reason to choose Christianity over all other faiths?” In fact, there are many. Every other world religion is man reaching up to God; Christianity alone is God reaching out to man: the only God who loves the world so much that He sent His own Son to die for us. The Christian God is the only God who offers us grace in our weakness, forgiveness in our sin, love even when we hate and reject Him, and life when we deserve death. 

The God Who Sees: Lessons from Another Perspective: This is absolutely one of my favorite books for teens!  I love the mixture of accessibility (each story is explained clearly) and complexity. I would recommend this as a gift to any young Christian.  Read the full review here.

Legal Stuff: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.” 

Some of the products reviewed here were received for free in exchange for an honest review! Our review policy is to return materials that we can't wholeheartedly endorse.  I absolutely loved each and every one of them or I wouldn't be recommending them to you.  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Soul Exalts the Lord

#Scripture Sunday

If you'd like to find more of DJ's work as a graphic designer or virtual assistant, you can follow her on Pinterest, email with a question or project, or get more information here.

Mary's Manifesto

Mary was more than a Mom; she was a poet and a theologian.  Mama, you can be too!  ChristmasMary was amazing.  We remember her heavy with child traveling to Bethlehem; we imagine her cradling her infant son in a stable, and we see her fleeing slaughter with her husband to Egypt.  But sometimes we forget she wasn’t just a mom, she was a poet.

We call her song the Magnificat.  But at its heart, it is Mary’s manifesto, her doctoral thesis in theology.  Her statement of what it means to be the maidservant of the Lord.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Defeating Fear!


Halloween celebrates fear.

Natural Disasters.
Nuclear War.

The media peddles fear.

What are Christians supposed to do?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Maggie, Aretha and Kyla-Marriages in conflict over God

Let's imagine an ordinary Monday...

You wake up with a beautiful idea, a plan, a conviction from God. And you are ready to get started.  But then you remember that the last time you had one of these brilliant ideas your husband squashed you like a bug.  He hasn't even woken up and you can feel your resentment building.  You start flipping bacon and by the time he stumbles towards his morning cup of joe, your mood has turned bitter.  You've  already had the argument with him in your head, so why say anything at all!

Is that your story? 

When I wrote last week's post about what to do when you feel your husband isn't on board with your desire to serve God, I had lots of great conversation on Facebook, on the blog and in person. These talks taught me that this is even more difficult and controversial a topic than I imagined.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How do I obey God when my husband isn't on board?

“How do I obey God when my husband isn’t on board?”

Even through the computer I could hear the despair in her voice.  I’ve been in “women’s ministry” a very long time, basically the whole of my adult life and it’s a question I’ve heard before.  I’ve heard it whispered as a woman of God told a hard truth about her husband.  I’ve heard it wailed as an angry woman complained about a godly man that she couldn’t get to do what she wanted.  I’ve heard a baby Christian wonder out loud how she is supposed to implement what she is learning in her non-Christian home. 

Some Bible questions are easy to answer (Does God love you? Yes.  No matter your situation the answer is always yes.) but some like this one are thorny.  I can’t begin to help a woman come to an answer without knowing her, her situation, and her husband.  And dear reader, as much as I think about you and pray for you, I don’t KNOW you.  But we can talk about some principles straight from God’s word so you can apply them to your own relationship with God and your husband.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Should I be having sex?

Should I be having sex?  

Should I be having sex?  God's word, purity, marriage, single, christian faithNo.  If you are single, sisters, the answer is simply “No.”  

No, if you are in your teens and your health teachers explain that abstinence is an unhealthy, old-fashioned, unrealistic idea. 

No, if you are in your 20s and engaged or considering moving in with your boyfriend.

No, if you are in your 30 or 40s and still single or single again.

No, if you are 50s or 60s or older and left alone by a spouse's death.  

To the unmarried God simply says, “No.”

(If this list doesn’t apply to you, sweet sister, because you are married, I really encourage you to go read the YES! side of this post written by my friend Angela at the Dilligent Woman.)