Pilgrimage | Lynn Austin

Very high on the bucket list of my life travels is Israel. I long to see the places Jesus and his disciples walked. To see where miracles happened, where He taught, where He loved the least of these and where He rose. I know it would be life changing.

And now, after reading Lynn Austin’s journey, Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked, through the holy lands and the spiritual experience she had from the trip, it only solidified my desire to go. This honest and real story of awakening from a spiritual valley while walking through the lands is an incredibly inspiring read by one of my favorites authors.

“I have arrived in the land where Jesus walked. My pilgrimage has begun.”

We all encounter times when our spirit feels dry, when doubt looms.

The opportunity to tour Israel came at a good time. For months, my life has been a mindless plodding through necessary routine, as monotonous as an all-night shift on an assembly line. Life gets that way sometimes, when nothing specific is wrong but the world around us seems drained of color. Even my weekly worship experiences and daily quiet times with God have felt as dry and stale as last year’s crackers. I’m ashamed to confess the malaise I’ve felt. I have been given so much. Shouldn’t a Christian’s life be an abundant one, as exciting as Christmas morning, as joyful as Easter Sunday?

With gripping honesty, Lynn Austin pens her struggles with spiritual dryness in a season of loss and unwanted change. Tracing her travels throughout Israel, Austin seamlessly weaves events and insights from the Word . . . and in doing so finds a renewed passion for prayer and encouragement for her spirit, now full of life and hope.

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It’s incredible, although not surprising, that a journey through Israel can be so refreshing for faith and renewing to the spirit. I’m glad Austin decided to share her journey, so readers can catch a glimpse of it. I also liked the scriptures at the beginning and end of each chapter, as well as the closing prayers in each chapter. They helped to draw you closer to the lessons Austin shared in the chapter.

Life is a beautiful journey and this was a great example of one such journey.

Have you ever been in a spot like Austin on your spiritual journey? What was something that helped you renew your faith? Oh and if you have been to Israel, please share of your adventure below!

(Thank you Bethany House for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion).

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World | Michael Hyatt

If you at all want to grow a platform, this is the book you need to read first. I can’t tell you enough how helpful it has been. I wish I read it two years ago. And the source? Not some self-named “guru,” but someone who actually knows a thing or two about growing a platform: Michael Hyatt.

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Michael Hyatt, one of the top business bloggers in the world, provides down-to-earth guidance for building and expanding a powerful platform.

To be successful in the market today, you must possess two strategic assets: a compelling
product and a meaningful platform. In this step-by-step guide, Michael Hyatt, former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, takes readers behind the scenes, into the new world of social media success. He shows you what best-selling authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other creatives are doing differently to win customers in today’s crowded marketplace. Hyatt speaks from experience. He writes one of the top 800 blogs in the world and has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter. His large and growing platform serves as the foundation for his successful writing, speaking, and consulting practice.

In Platform, Hyatt will teach readers not only how to extend their influence, but also how to monetize it and build a sustainable career. The key? By building a platform. It has never been easier, less expensive, or more possible than right now. . . The book includes:

  • proven strategies
  • easy-to-replicate formulas
  • practical tips

Social media technologies have changed everything. Now, for the first time in history, non-celebrities can get noticed—and win big!—in an increasingly noisy world.

I really don’t have much to add, because the description is spot on. It’s a must read, extremely helpful and worth every penny!

Have you read it yet? What was helpful for you?

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Case for Christ for Kids Devotional | Lee Strobel

Lee Strobel has long been a voice in Christian Apologetics, most known for bestselling book The Case for Christ. With significant amounts of research this book has been a staple in Christian apologetics.

Not only has Strobel written versions for children, his latest in the series is a fantastic devotional kids, Case for Christ for Kids: 90 Day Devotional.

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Based on the eye-opening best-selling series, this 90-day devotional for kids ages 9-12 explores the life of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian, while also tackling tough questions kids ask about God. For kids who want to learn more about their faith so they can share with others, this devotional uses light-hearted prose, illustrations, historical facts, research and true stories to bring to life the miracles, ministry and way of life of Jesus.

Not everyone believes that Jesus is the Son of God. To some people he’s nothing more than a man who lived a long time ago. So why do Christians believe what they believe?

The Case for Christ for Kids 90-Day Devotional explores the life of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian, while also tackling your tough questions about God.

Using historical facts, illustrations, true stories, and research, this devotional brings to life the ministry and miracles of Jesus. Each day includes a captivating story, a personal application, and a final word of Scripture.

Build your own case for Christ. Make it one you could stake your life on!

Each devotional has a “case” to examine, which is personal story or a fun story to get the reader’s attention. Strobel then invites the reader to “examine the case,” getting the reader to dive deeper into the story/example and what that means. It’s the perfect way to keep readers focused! Finally each devotion ends with the final word, a verse to emphasize the teaching just read. They aren’t too long or overwhelming, but not surface level either.

With creative and fun writing, Strobel has created a devotional for kids that is not only enjoyable and entertaining to read, but provides truth for kids to work through and make their own. If you looking for the perfect stocking stuffer, look no further!

(Thank you Zondervan for a free copy in exchange for my honest review).

The Long Awakening | Lindsey O’Connor

“That’s it, I thought – use the gift; offer it up, offer it out. Live well, live grateful.”

This beautiful memoir by Lindsey O’Connor is honest, raw and real. Oh, and inspiring. The Long Awakening is a reminder of how precious life is and how faith, hope and love are just as powerful!

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On a crisp October day in 2002, Lindsey O’Connor woke from a 47-day medically induced coma. She heard her ecstatic husband’s voice and saw his face as she emerged from the depths of unconsciousness. She was bewildered by the people around her who looked so overjoyed and were so thoroughly attentive and attuned to her every move. Then came the question: “Do you remember that you had a baby?”

Lindsey drifted in and out of consciousness again for weeks. When she finally and gradually surfaced permanently from her long submersion, she struggled to understand that the day her baby came into the world was the day she left it. Her awakening was the happy ending for her family and friends–the miracle they had been praying for–but it was just the beginning of Lindsey’s long and frightening journey toward a new reality.

With visceral images and richly layered storytelling, Lindsey O’Connor vividly tells the poignant true story of the struggle to reenter her world and rebuild her identity. Underlying this life and death battle is a story of lost and found love, the effort to make sense of life-altering events, and the continuing search for self. This moving memoir paints a powerful picture of pain, beauty, and the unsurpassable gift of finally knowing who you are.

O’Connor’s writing flows easily page by page, with details of what she went through, as well as those closest to her (her husband’s role is such an example of selfless love) yet, through the honest struggles and pain I was reminded of beautiful hope and the power in that. She truly is a storyteller!

You don’t have to be a mom to be touched by this story (i.e. me). I can’t imagine going through something like this, but the strength of Lindsey, her husband, their other children and friends is proof that miracles can and do happen.

I recommend this book and hope you’ll pick up a copy!

(Thank you Revell for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!)

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3 Bibles & 4 Reasons to Grab Them

You know what I love? Creativity and the chance to express yourself. That’s one reason why I love some of the latest bible editions from the ever wonderful Zondervan. Whether you’re looking for one for yourself or as a gift, there’s plenty to choose from!

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Also, there may even be a giveaway at the end. That’s all I’m saying.

So here’s a little about each one and 4 reasons to buy them!

Sports Collection Bible, NIV (Football)
The Sports Collection Bibles in the New International Version (NIV) offer fans of basketball, soccer, and football a way to show their enthusiasm for both the Bible and their favorite sport! This version—specially geared for football fans—includes: Presentation page for gift giving and personalization, thinline size with easy-to-read print, perfect to take anywhere, Words of Christ in red and ribbon marker.
1. It’s the perfect size to take to bible study or church. As much as I love my study bible, that thing weighs 37 pounds. Plus there have been occasions where my phone fails me and I have no bible.
2. Jesus’ words are in red. I’m partial to bibles with red letters (Thank you DC Talk), as I find it rather helpful.
3. To all my single ladies who love sports – You come with a football cover bible to church, guess what? You’ll grab the attention of fellows who love football. I kid people! I kid! So I guess that’s not a real reason, but it’s fun and if someone decides to talk football with me because of it – bring.it.on. I’ll talk about the Saints all day baby allllll day! (Except last Sunday’s game. That game is dead to me).
4. It also comes in two other versions: the best sport of the universe (soccer) and basketball.

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Animal-Print Collection Bible, NIV (Zebra Print)

Perfect for kids and teens on the go! Ideal for home, school, or church use, the Animal-Print Collection Bible, NIV offers the following features: Complete text of the New International Version, Words of Christ in red, ribbon marker and handy elastic closure.
1. This little guy is perfect to keep in your purse or work bag.
2. Look how cute this is?!?
3. Y’all it comes in Giraffe and Pink print. Do you know how much I heart giraffes? I’d have a pet one if, oh it wasn’t illegal and I didn’t live in an apartment. Although, it’s two stories, so I think one would fit…
4. This one also shows red letter love.

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Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens, NIV: Build and defend your faith based on God’s promises
Feeling uncertain about your life? The world? Your future? Looking for something secure to hold onto in turbulent and confusing times? Wanting to know more about God? Address your questions and build a steadfast foundation for your faith with the NIV Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens. Find traction for your beliefs and promises for your future. Discover constant and concrete truths rooted in the unchanging love and promises of God.

1. What a wonderful time my teenage years were, except not. Let’s throw our hands up for a decade of awkwardness! No really, I would win. Between braces and my stellar wardrobe choices, guys, I got this covered.

But it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a teenager, especially during this day and age. First, let’s all take a moment to THANK THE LORD social media didn’t exist when I was ages 11-college. Lord knows what kind of mischief I would have gotten into. But it adds a whole new level for teenagers today and it’s scary! Scary where they search for their value and scary all the messages they are constantly bombarded with. But with a solid foundation based on beautiful Truth, those teenage years can be fulfilling and amazing. With everything else included in this Bible, it’s a great place for teens to start!
2. The “extras” in this bible are great. Whether real life examples of other students, deeper looks into God’s promises, encouragement about God’s word, His principles and all around truth, this is an awesome bible for students to dive into!
3. It has a hard cover so can take a beating in a backpack.
4. There’s plenty of room to add notes and highlight favorites passages!

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Aren’t these great?! To end I want to host a giveaway! Why? Because these are all fantastic bibles and I want to get the word out about them because nothing can change a life like His Word :). All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and you’re entered to win the bible of your choice! If you want to earn extra entries, here’s a few easy ways (just leave a comment each time you do). P.S. On a random note if you’re curious why I don’t use rafflecopter, it’s because it hates me. It never works on my computer – tried everything they suggested too. Apparently we’re not meant to be. Rude right? ;)

Be sure to leave a comment! Leave one by 10/23/13 at 11:59 (CST).

(Thank you DJC Communications and Zondervan for the copies to review!)

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