Be You Four Week Mini Bible Study by Heather Bixler ~ Promotional

Title: Official Launch: Be You Ð Four Week Mini Bible Study by Heather Bixler

be_you_2_250If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 2 Corinthians 3:9 (NLT)

What would it look like for you to be bold, transparent, free, and truly the person God created you to be? What would it look like for you to BE YOU?

In this four week mini Bible Study journey with author Heather Bixler as she shares some of her personal struggles with you in an effort to be transparent with you, the reader.

God wants us to shine and radiate His glory, but truly this can only be done through our brokenness. God is looking for transparent women to help guide others to a true and intimate relationship with Jesus through the sharing of their own brokenness, and compassion for one another.

If we are truly going to shine for HIS glory in the new ministry of HIS righteousness then we must learn the art of being who God created us to be. We often think this is found through performance and behavior changes, but when we have given our life over to Jesus then everything God created us to be is found in the Holy Spirit that is already living within us.

Come and unwrap the beauty that is already within through the four week mini Bible Study, Be You!

Download on Kindle today for Only $0.99!

Free Kindle Book to Celebrate the Launch:

mini_bible_study_bundle_250Download your copy of our brand new Mini Bible Study Bundle for FREE! This Mini Bible Study Bundle includes the following Becoming Press Mini Bible Studies in One:

  • God the Father – Four Week Mini Bible Study
  • Faith – Four Week Mini Bible Study
  • Rejected- Four Week Mini Bible Study
  • My Treasures – Four Week Mini Bible Study
  • BONUS: Breaking Pride – Tearing Down Walls, Walking in His Grace.


Download the Becoming Press Mini Bible Study Bundle- Vol. 1 for free today and tomorrow (11/29 & 11/30)!

Free Online Bible Study using the “Be You – Four Week Mini Bible Study!

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Sign up today for a free four week online Bible Study with author Heather Bixler. Starting in January 2014 you will have the chance to participate in an online Bible Study of “Be You – Four Week Mini Bible Study.” Be sure and sign up today, space is limited and registration is required!

Sign up for the FREE online Bible Study here!

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Healing Grace (Touch of Grace Book 3) by Beth Shriver ~ A Review

Healing Grace (Touch of Grace Book 3) by Beth Shriver

Mose Fisher was a man of few words. He preferred action to talk. Like the other men in his family, he was a blacksmith and knew and loved horses. Living on the family farm, he traveled back and forth to town to work in a furniture store as a wood worker, between planting and harvesting seasons, to supplement the family business. His skilled hands crafted such fine pieces of furniture that many people asked for his pieces personally. But his dream was to own his own furniture shop in his community.

Healing Grace
Abby Barker lived with her father on what used to be a flourishing farm. But the decline of the property was only the shadow of the trouble Abby and her dad faced. Life had been unkind, and her father had taken to the bottle in response, especially after Abby’s mother had died. Only Abby’s job working in the local Christian school as an ESL teacher was keeping them afloat.

While Mose was driving down the road one day, a truck and horse trailer was forced off the road by a speeding motorist in front of him. Responding quickly, Mose was relieved to see the man and woman exit the truck unharmed. He turned immediately to the horses trapped in the trailer and assisted Abby in getting them out. The filly seemed to be slightly injured, but Mose at once sensed the man’s hostility when he offered to help. Abby appreciated his kindness but was not free toexpress her gratitude until later.

Abby was no stranger to horse care, but no matter what she did, her filly’s injured leg was not getting any better. She didn’t want to let her dad know the extent of the horse’s injury since she knew they couldn’t afford doctors or vets. Her father wouldn’t even get help for his own illness. She had no other friends to turn to; she had been isolated from other people for so long. The Amish man who assisted them at the accident scene seemed to know about horse care. When she discovered that he worked in town, she turned to him for help. Thus was the beginning of an unusual friendship. But what would they do if it becomes more than friendship?

The author does a wonderful job of creating a situation where two separate worlds believably intersect. What seemed almost impossible at first glance seemed doable mid-stride. She also wrote empathetic characters with real spiritual and social conflicts especially when Mose and Abby were repeatedly drawn together through circumstances they had little control over. Both Abby and Mose found themselves at a crossroads in their lives. I felt their struggles often made them approachable and real.

Amish clothesline

Amish clothesline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one factor I didn’t care for in the book were some of the personal conflicts between Abby and Mose. While it was easy to understand the conflict that existed between Abby and her father, between Mose and his father, the tension between the young people was not as clearly defined. Mose was struggling more with a cultural conflict since he was drawn to an English girl–something frowned upon in the close knit Amish community. But when they were together, I felt that their conversations didn’t clearly communicate what they were conflicted about. And some of their discussions didn’t even make sense to me. I felt confused more than once in figuring out what they were talking about. I got the feeling that they didn’t know either sometimes. I felt this weakened the resolution of the tension at the end of the book.

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Other relationships in the story were heartwarming. For example, I absolutely loved the closeness Abby established with Becca, an Amish girl near her age. Mose’s mother took Abby under her wing and they became close both as a mother and daughter would be and as a mentor and student. Overall, this was a pleasant read with a satisfying conclusion that included an unexpected twist.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Booketeria and Charisma Media/Realms. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

God’s Great Plan by Melissa Cutrera ~ A Review

God’s Great Plan by Melissa Cutrera and Illustrated by Matthew Sample II

“He’s praying for us and preparing a place
Where we’ll live forever with the God of all grace.”

Gods great plan
God’s Great Plan by Melissa Cutrera is a beautifully written picture book for young children. The illustrations by Matthew Sample II are vivid, detailed and full of meaning. They convey a sense of darkness when discussing the origin of sin, then warmth and comfort when you read about Jesus’ life and purpose. The author’s powerfully simple rhyming couplets communicate the heart of the gospel message from the beginning in the Garden of Eden to Christ’s resurrection.

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Grandparents sit up and take notice. Aunts and uncles, friends and family, I have a gift idea for you. Share this gorgeous picture book with them. When you want to tell the basic simple outline for God’s wonderful plan for man, begin when they are young. Knowing that nothing in life is left up to chance endows our little ones with a sense of purpose and security. Knowing they are loved and cherished not only by their family but also by God and that they play a part in His plan is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow on them. This book communicates the message to our children and grandchildren lovingly and effectively. I know I will enjoy reading this to my grandchildren some day.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Shepherd Press and Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Awakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church by James Stuart Bell ~ Review

Awakening FaithAwakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church by James Stuart Bell with Patrick J. Kelly

“History instructs us, the law teaches us, prophecy foretells, rebukes condemn us,
wisdom persuades us, but the book of Psalms goes further than all of these. It is medicine for our spiritual health. When we read it, we find a medicine to cure the wounds caused by any of our passions. Whoever studies it deeply will find it to be like a gymnasium for their soul, where the different psalms are like different exercises set out before them. In that gymnasium, in that stadium of virtue, they can choose the exercises that will best train them to win the victor’s crown.”Ambrose

Is it possible for speakers, writers, musicians, artists, teachers, political leaders, missionaries and ministers to reach out to an audience 2,000 years in the future? Could they have something to express that we want to hear? Do we have anything in common with such persons of the past? If we strip away the culture, the dross and history of the ages, is there anything left to communicate? In my opinion, there certainly is.

When I received the book, Awakening Faith by James Stuart Bell, I was excited at the opportunity to finally fill in some of the gaping holes in my knowledge of the early history of the Christian church and the Church Fathers. After reading several of the 366 offerings, I haven’t been disappointed. While the language has been simplified, the content is deep and thought provoking. This is a book of devotions presented by many writers, speakers, and leaders of the early church; it is not a history book. However, there is a section at the end of the book that offers a brief history of each contributor. Armed with the synopses and the Internet, I enjoyed
expanding my understanding while reading the devotions.

I’ve often heard pastors teach that Christ came at one of the most opportune times in history, where the Roman Empire offered a tremendous means for the Gospel message to travel the length and breadth of Europe, the Middle East, the British Isles and the northern regions of Africa. In reading some of the devotional entries, I noticed how widespread so many of the contributors were…from Patrick of Ireland, and Sulpitius Severus in Gaul (France) to Cyprian of Carthage, Egypt, and Boniface known as the Aspostle of the Germans to Braulio who was a bishop in Spain, and Ephrem the Syrian, a deacon and hymn writer in Turkey to Theodore the Studite, a monk in Constantinople.

Another thing I noticed is that many of the early writings were in response to heretical beliefs that had gained popularity, drawing Christians away from basic Biblical truth. The abundance of heresies and the incursion of pagan beliefs in the early church prompted many leaders to write encouragement for young believers to stay true to Jesus’ teachings, and to refute errors. Consequently, there is a prolific amount of written documents kept and preserved to this day. What was written is still relevant for us.

Here are a few examples of wisdom that never grows old.

Newly excavated Church of Saint Jacob in Nisib...

Newly excavated Church of Saint Jacob in Nisibis, where Ephrem taught and ministered. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The [Holy] Spirit makes one person a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret Holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one person’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. The Scripture says, ‘In each person the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good’ (1 Corinthians 12:7).” Cyril of Jerusalem

“When the Holy Spirit saw that virtue was difficult for us, and that we neglected holy living because of our inclination toward pleasure, what did he do? He mingled the doctrines with delightful melodies, so that we would receive the benefit of divine wisdom through soft and pleasing sounds, just as wise doctors do who smear the cup of medicine with honey. Therefore, he devised these harmonious melodies for us to sing and, while singing, to be trained in goodness. For while it is difficult to hold in our mind an apostolic or prophetic message, we easily chant the words of the Psalms, even in the home and around in the marketplace. They can even sooth our wrath and lull us to sleep through their sweet melodies.” Basil the Great

“But how can we correct someone else when we are neglecting ourselves? We are wrapped up in worldly concerns, and the more we devote ourselves to superficial things, the more insensitive we become to spiritual things.” Gregory the Great

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Apparently human nature and our spiritual needs haven’t changed much in the past 2,000 years.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this commentary from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) and Zondervan Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Preacher’s Wife by Brandi Boddie ~ A Review

The Preacher’s Wife by Brandi Boddie

The preachers wife

Rowe Winford, the town’s newest minister, was not from Kansas; people were certain of that as they eyed his crisp, clean and pressed tailored outfit when he strode by on his way to the church. It wasn’t a surprise then when they wondered how he would deal with the rough and tumble life of the post Civil War West. He wondered that himself. This was his first post as the head of a church. Previously, he had only been an associate pastor, little more than an accountant-secretary- errand boy. He pondered how he would win the folks over when his perusal was stilled by the town’s saloon and dance hall.

Marissa Pierce hastened uncomfortably down the sidewalk on her way to the bank. Why had Jason sent her there now while she was dressed in the bawdy and colorful costume of a dance revue girl, with its low neckline and indecently high hemline? Lately, Jason, the unscrupulous owner of the saloon, seems to have purposely set out to humiliate her at every opportunity, hinting that with her reputation as a saloon and dance girl and with her dark complexion and hair inherited from her Native American ancestry, she would never be able to live the normal respectable life she longed for. She was aware that he was afraid to lose her because her attractive appearance made her a popular dance partner. And he knew her contract with him, drawn up when she was just a young teenager, was nearly up. She desperately wanted to live her life away from Jason and his shady, dishonest business. But on the rare occasion she was allowed away from the saloon, she was obviously scorned and shunned for being “one of those girls,” referring to the nightly activities of most of the other women who lived at the saloon. She was trapped.

Looking up suddenly from the press of townsfolk around him, with their giggling hopeful daughters, young Rowe caught the teary, sad eyes of a passing woman in an outlandish costume. He was surprised at the contrast between her appearance and her distressed countenance. Later, he couldn’t shake off the hopelessness in her eyes. He wondered if she needed help. Did God want him to help her? Is that why he couldn’t stop thinking about her?

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The pace of the story quickly picks up as the minister makes attempts to help Marissa at the risk of his reputation. I was immediately immersed in the story and the time flew by as I was reading. The author has developed such a realistic dilemma that I couldn’t help but become wrapped up in Marissa’s struggles for freedom; her emotional entrapment was just as real as her physical state. As I became more acquainted with the hero and heroine, it became clear that pride also held Marissa captive in its grip. She had been keeping a secret that could prevent her from ever experiencing happiness if she was not willing to deal with it. But God had a loving plan for her and it seemed to include an unlikely relationship with Rowe Winford.

The author’s debut novel has made a solid entrance into the historical fiction and romance genre. I am eagerly anticipating reading more of Brandi Boddie’s books in the future. This is Book One of the Brides of Assurance series. At the end of this book we get a sneak peek at the first chapter of Book Two.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the Booketeria, a service of Charisma House Book Group and Realms Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

For Every Season: Amish Vines and Orchards Book 3 by Cindy Woodsmall ~ Review

Amish family riding in a traditional Amish bug...

Amish family riding in a traditional Amish buggy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For Every Season: Amish Vines and Orchards Book 3 by Cindy Woodsmall

I have already reviewed books 1 and 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series. Their reviews can be read here and here.

For Every Season

This is book three of the Amish Vines and Orchards series. Book four is scheduled to be released in April, 2014. While this book could possibly be enjoyed when read alone, it best read as a continuation of the first two books in the series.

In the second book, a love triangle develops between Samuel King, his brother Jacob King, and Rhoda Byler. It isn’t obvious at first until the end of the second book which leaves the readers with a cliff hanger instead of a resolution. Book three focuses on Jacob’s character, answering some of the mysteries implied in the previous book. His past is so complicated, however, that it continues to intrude on his relationship with Rhoda until dynamics in the three is forced to evolve. The characters experience confusion, indecision, painful angst, loyalty issues, frustrations and more as the story rolls out. The author skillfully keeps her readers on tender-hooks trying to discover what the future holds for the three until the very last chapters.

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In the meantime another relationship, between Leah King and Landon Olsen, develops by leaps and bounds. In book one, Leah is a rebellious teenager determined to break every Amish rule possible. However we see some change of heart in book two when she moves to Maine with her brothers, Rhoda, Rhoda’s brother Steven and his family, and Rhoda’s loyal assistant of many years, Landon to help establish the new Maine branch of the King Orchard business. I enjoyed watching Leah grow in maturity in this book as she continues to struggle with her identity and whether to remain Amish or leave the order some time in the future. It is hard to foresee how she will decide, so I am looking forward to the next book in the series. The reader can’t help but hope she makes a wise decision.

There’s an intriguing mix of character development and surprising twists and turns that kept me reading this story in suspenseful anticipation. The author clearly knows how to portray real flesh-and-blood people and relationships that makes it easy to become attached to them. The events in the final chapters of this book had me in tears, hoping for a positive turn of events at the last moment. The final scenes are not your usual happily ever after ending, and left me strongly yearning to read the next book soon. But there is still enough resolution to be able to feel optimistic for the future.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books, a service of Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation by Joel R. Beeke and William Boekestein ~ Review

Jesus_is_Greatest_Gift

Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation by Joel R. Beeke and
William Boekestein

“Traditionally, at Christmastime we think about the story of Christ’s birth. It feels like Christmas when we picture Joseph and Mary, the shepherds, the angels, and the manger containing the Christ child. But to appreciate the magnitude of the main point of the story–that the eternal Son of God assumed our flesh-and-blood human nature–we need to learn from the rest of the Bible why Christ came to earth.”

Why Christ Came

Suppose you were asked the question, “Why did Jesus come to earth and live here in human form?” How confident are you that you could answer the question with more than two or three reasons? In the form of a small booklet with only 105 pages, the authors provide their readers with numerous thoughts and meditations to answer this question. It contains wisdom from several historical sources that have been overlooked, forgotten or neglected for a long period of time. In these meditations, our understanding will deepen as we explore the Bible passages that point to Christ’s coming and quotes from men of faith who penned their reflections on Scripture.

Meditation is a beneficial exercise all of us would be wise to learn. For me, meditation means taking in information either familiar, completely new, or as a reminder of something I may have forgotten, and spending time pondering their meaning and implications for my life. Sometimes the benefits are to expand my understanding and enrichment. The new information may be a puzzle piece that slips into place. Many “Aha!” moments come to me at these times. At other times, the new perspective or information is meant for me to share with someone else.

When meditating on the thirty-one points Why Christ Came, I experienced several “Aha!” moments, and my appreciation for the relationship I have with Jesus Christ expanded. This is something I’m sure the authors desire for everyone who delves into this short but pithy book. I look forward to making this book a part of our family Advent tradition for many Christmases to come.

View book trailer here

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this commentary from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) and Reformation Heritage Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”