Once Upon A Time Storybook Bible

This book is illustrated by Omar Aranda and published by ZonderKids. The book is approximately 8 x 10 inches which is similar to other hardback illustrated children’s books. Comprised of 33 popular Bible stories, there are 18 stories from the Old Testament and 15 stories from the New Testament. Each story has a title, scripture verse (taken from the New International Version (NIV), vibrant illustrations, “Once Upon A Time…” paraphrased story, and a “Happily Ever After” word of wisdom and story scripture reference.

On the front cover, it states, “The Bible is not a fairy tale. Every great story happened once upon a time.” An example of a “Happily Ever After” section in the Queen Esther story states, “Esther was brave to face Haman and the king. God gave her the courage she needed to save her people. He makes all of us brave when we need to be.” In the Darkest Day story about Jesus dying on the cross it states, “Jesus gave his life to save the world. He died so that one day, you could join him in heaven. Tell him thank you for his sacrifice.” I love the colorful illustrations of this book. The stories are written simplistically for a preschool and early elementary audience. This book will definitely appeal to young children and would make a great gift!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKids provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

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Once Upon a Time Storybook Bible
By ZonderKidz

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The Shack

In light of the new movie adaptation of The Shack, I thought I would reblog my review of the book. I have no plans to watch the movie because of how strongly I feel about the bad and misleading theology the book presents. I would consider watching it if someone asked me to give my opinion of it but I highly doubt the movie would make significant enough changes from the book to change my opinion of it. If you choose to watch the movie and/or read the book, I encourage you to do so with caution and with careful consideration and comparison to scripture. Do not let the emotional story cloud your discernment.

Heart Treasures

Here is my “review” of the book, “The Shack.” I wrote this and e-mailed it to all of my friends in August 2008 after reading “The Shack” for my church’s book club. Since the book is still making its rounds in the Christian community and since it came up in conversation in the comments section of another blog; I thought that sharing this would be relevant.

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I recently read a popular book called “The Shack” by William P. (Paul) Young. I am giving you my opinion of this book now because I can find a ton more positive reviews about this book than negative. Especially within the Christian community; most of the reviews/comments I have read give mostly praise and “how this book changed my life” perspectives. Personally, for a book that many people consider as Christian Fiction; I find this book to be mostly unbiblical and very…

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How To Be A Noble Woman

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:13-31 NIV

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The Beginner’s Bible (Updated 2016)

This book was first published by ZonderKids in 1989. It has been a favorite among households with young children. The old version has beautiful, colorful, and engaging illustrations. This updated version has the same illustrations but they have been transformed into three-dimensional art. 15541995_10211632981809220_344271054706927781_n

(Left: old version. Right: updated 2016 version.)

The stories are exactly the same in both versions. Over 90 stories divided between the old and new testaments.

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I remember my younger brother and sister receiving The Beginner’s Bible when they were toddlers. I loved reading it to them. Our family loved this book! When my first daughter was born, we received a copy of it. If it had not been given to us, I would have definitely bought it myself. The illustrations are eye-catching and perfect for younger children. The stories are easy to read for beginners.

However, I personally prefer the previous version instead of the updated version when it comes to the illustrations. In my opinion, this is a classic example of when newer is not always better. The pages in the updated version are thicker and shinny but I think that the 2D illustrations in the older version are more crisp. Here is a side by side comparison (Top: old version. Bottom: updated 2016 version.):

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Whatever your illustration preferences, I definitely recommend The Beginner’s Bible for any household or church library!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKids provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

The Beginner’s Bible, New and Updated Edition 2016
By Zondervan / Zondervan

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Hidden In My Heart

Hidden In My Heart is a New Living Translation (NLT) Scripture Memory Bible geared towards children. Towards the beginning of the Bible, there are “Ten Hide-It Helpers” to help with memorization of scripture. After that, there are fifteen pages of “Thematic Memory Verse Plans” which includes checklist boxes. At the beginning of each book of the Bible, there is a section that gives general information about that book. The information includes: Who wrote [the book]? When was it written? Why is it in the Bible? and What’s it about? Throughout the Bible there are 100 Core Verses listed in three translations: NLT, New International Version (NIV), & King James Version (KJV). These sections also include an “Explore & Apply” and a Prayer. In the back of the Bible, there is a checklist and “Dig Deeper” section for each of the 100 Core Verses. Also, throughout the Bible there are 136 Challenge Verses (also written in NLT, NIV, & KJV) along with a checklist in the back.

What makes this Bible really unique is that there is a download code for scripture memory songs for the 100 Core Verses. Before gaining access to the songs, an account must be made using email address, download code, and password. I assume this is to ensure that the code is not shared outside of the person/family/organization who owns the Bible. There is an option to download the full files of 100+ songs in either NLT, NIV, & KJV. Or each song can be downloaded individually.

This Bible has some unique qualities such as the memory verses printed in three Bible versions and the scripture memory song downloads that are available. I think that it would be a good addition to any family library. The sections that focus on scripture memory in this Bible will be helpful to anyone (child or adult) who has a goal of memorizing more verses. I personally love all of the checklists! I have listened to a few of the song downloads and they are catchy tunes that would be easy for a child to pick up. The songs would absolutely be a valuable tool for those who utilize them!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

NLT Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible, Softcover By Stephen Elkins / Tyndale House

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To Be Left-Handed Is Not A Sin

A couple of months ago, a friend on Facebook posted the following meme… to which I felt the need to respond. I said that this meme is Biblically inaccurate. Although right-handedness or the right hand in general is considered a sign of strength (in the Bible and elsewhere), there is not anything in the Bible that says that being left-handed is a sin. ztIJsgw

My friend deleted the meme in response to my comments because he did not want to post something inaccurate. He did message me in private to say that he had heard before that left-handedness was a sin which is why people were punished for using their left hand in the middle ages and even more recently… sometimes by the church. I told him that I would research left-handedness in a Biblical context and get back to him.

The first thing I noticed was that I was not sure at all where the “25 times” in the meme came from. Looking in my New International Version (NIV) Bible Concordance… I can only find 12 times where it actually says “left hand (ed).” There are many more than 25 occasions where it says “right hand (ed).”

As I mentioned above, there is nothing in the Bible that says being left-handed is a sin. The notion is taken from Biblical mentions of the right hand being a sign of strength and power. If you think about it, throughout history when talking about kings and kingdoms, the right hand man, etc. has more power.  Or considering that being right-handedness is a dominant trait, more people will have better strength in their right hand and right arm. When the Bible talks about God’s kingdom or God’s right hand it is to illustrate that power in a way humans would understand based on how kingdoms and power work on earth.

Here are all the instances where the Bible talks about being left handed that I could find. Passages are listed first (NIV) and my commentary in brackets is under each passage.

Genesis 48:13-14 “And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.”

[Traditionally when giving a death bed blessing the right hand is placed on the head. By switching hands and putting his right hand on the youngest son, he gave him a bigger blessing. However, they were both blessed AND both of Joseph’s sons became 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel.]

Leviticus 14:15, 26 “The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand,…” “The priest is to pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand,…”

[These are part of instructions to a priestly ritual.]

Judges 3:15 “Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.”

[Reading this chapter in context, it tells the story of Ehud, from the tribe of Benjamin, going to give tribute to an evil king. Ehud tells the king he has a secret message and plunges his sword in the king’s belly. The king was so fat that the sword was hidden and Ehud was able to escape before servants found the dead king. Because Ehud was left handed (which was unusual), he had his sword attached to his right side and people would not have noticed it.]

Judges 7:20 “The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

[Self explanatory]

Judges 16:29 “Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,”

[Self explanatory]

Judges 20:16 “Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”

[The tribe of Benjamin was known for having many left handed people… like Ehud.]

1 Chronicles 6:44 ” and from their associates, the Merarites, at his left hand: Ethan son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluk,”

[This chapter is listing genealogy.]

1 Chronicles 12:2 “they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin)”

[Archers and soldiers were often ambidextrous and again these men were from the tribe of Benjamin]

Daniel 12:7 “The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”

[A man delivering a message to Daniel in a vision. Both hands are equal in this passage.]

Matthew 6:3 “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”

[In context, this is talking about not bragging when giving to the needy. We should give in humility not expecting praise from man.]

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Also, I am going to be blunt here… but hopefully not in a way that will be perceived as judgmental because that is not my intent. Ultimately, the meme is an attack on Biblical Christianity for the purpose of justifying the LGBT lifestyles. Not only did it distort the Bible but it mocked it. The Bible is either Truth or it is not. It can’t be both. Many people living or supporting LGBT lifestyles say they are Christians yet completely try to justify their lifestyle by using the Bible. It can’t be done for the following reasons:

*100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
*100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
*0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.

Here is a blog post that I wrote last year after the SCOTUS ruling in favor of gay marriage which expands on my position on this matter: A Conservative Perspective

I completely understand that there are people who do not believe the Bible is God’s word. Ultimately, that is between them and God which is why Christians should be loving and respectful to those who believe differently than we do (whether on this subject or others). We should not have a judgmental attitude towards others however, it is not wrong to respectfully teach what the Bible says in context especially when people distort & mock it to fit their agenda. And it is not wrong to respectfully debate differences of opinion. I have many friends and a few family members who are gay. Most of them know my beliefs on the subject but still know that I still love them as my friends and family.

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Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.

Fruit of the Spirit- 30 Day Scripture Writing Plans

This month I have posted two scripture writing plans… At the time, I only created black and white downloads of the plans. I went back and added a papyrus design option to the downloads. I thought that maybe some of you would prefer something a little more than the black and white!

Black and white is still available for those who need easy printing. If you want to make the black and white more unique, just print them on the color paper of your choice!

I will continue to add the papyrus design to future posts in this series!

Here are the links to the previous blog posts where you can find the download links:

Fruit of the Spirit: LOVE

Fruit of the Spirit: JOY & PEACE

Fruit of the Spirit LoveFruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACE

Fruit of the Spirit: JOY and PEACE (30 Day Scripture Writing Plan)

Continuing with the Fruit of the Spirit 30 day scripture writing plans, here is JOY & PEACE! I combined them because I found that several verses fit the characteristics of both joy and peace. I will continue to create plans based on all of the Fruit of the Spirit listed in: Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

PLEASE NOTE: I use the New International Version (NIV). So the passages I have listed are based on my NIV concordance for specific words like love, joy, etc. Other versions may or may not use the same wording. Most of the Fruit of the Spirit words are pretty straight forward and the meaning of the passage will remain the same. If your version does not have a specific word that you expect from whatever plan you are doing, look for a synonym of that word in the passage. Also, I may also use passages that use other words that support the theme… such as the Joy theme using a verse that says “Rejoice.”

I plan to post each segment of the series as I complete them… which could take several weeks or several months depending on how much time I am able to put into them. By posting them as I finish them, it will allow you to choose from any of the topics in any giving time frame you choose.

Suggestions for how to be successful with this challenge:

  • Decide ahead of time where you will be writing down the scripture. You could use a journal, notebook, or print out the lined writing page I have provided to keep in a 3 ring binder.
  • Print a copy of the challenge so that it is easily accessible to you. Keep it in your Bible or in the journal, notebook, or binder you are using.
  • Decide what time of day you will be writing your passage of scripture. Try to stick to a daily routine so that you are consistent. If you get behind, try to catch up later in the day or do two days at a time. The further behind you get, the harder it will be to catch up.
  • Pray that the Lord will speak to you through His Word before reading and writing each passage.
  • Reflect each day on how you can apply the passage of scripture to your life.

Please comment below to let me know that you are doing this challenge! I would love to hear from you!

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Papyrus (30 Day Plan): CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Black & White (Plan & Lined Paper): CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Fruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACE

Fruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACEFruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACE Lined