Monday

The Action Bible: Faith in Action Edition...Review and Bible giveaway!

 The past few weeks...more like months...have been difficult. Dealing with hard things brought about a season of contemplation and basically put the brakes on life for a bit. 

I wrote about what's been happening in my latest article on the Pretty & Wise site here:  Just Sit With It.   I would appreciate it if you head over there to read it when you get a minute or two. It is a quick read but, oh, so heartfelt. 

Because of all the things going on, and putting a few things on hold, I'm a bit late getting this article written. But I didn't want to skip it. It is such a great resource for families and I didn't want you to miss out on a chance to win a copy of this Bible for your child. I love giving away Bibles!

I'm giving away a hardcover copy of The Action Bible: Faith In Action Edition! So check out the specs and my review and then enter the contest below.



About the Bible

For the past decade, The Action Bible has been instrumental in engaging millions of kids across the world with the stories of the Bible and the saving power of Jesus Christ. With vivid illustrations and fast-paced stories, children have connected with God's Word in new ways.  According to the publisher, David C Cook, this has led to many kids, and families, coming to know Christ as their Savior, joining a church, getting baptized, and growing in their faith. 

Based on the original bestselling title, The Action Bible, they have created a new interactive edition, The Action Bible: Faith In Action Edition

This new edition is designed to go beyond Bible knowledge and help your child grow a strong personal relationship with Christ. Kids learn to live out their faith through seven major themes of the Bible. These themes are identified with these Faith in Action badges found in the stories throughout the Bible: Courage, Faith, Hope, Love, Service, Trust, and Wisdom. 



































Features


Vivid illustrations and short impactful stories help connect Gen Zs and Gen Alphas to God’s Word.

• Stories are in chronological order to better help kids understand God’s redemptive story.

• The Faith in Action Edition is about helping kids Engage in God’s Word, Grow in God’s Word, and Live God’s Word.

• Spiritual Growth Resources include over 200 devotionals, prayers, character stories, teaching videos, timelines, maps, and Bible facts.

• Kids and parents can access digital resources by scanning QR codes throughout the Bible.

• Major themes of the Bible are highlighted throughout with icons that help kids personalize their faith and live God’s Word. 

• The Faith In Action Edition is the most complete interactive Bible for kids and teens.



My Review


As I looked through this Bible, I wondered if it was just for very young children or if was it for young teens as well. To me, this looks much like the Bible told in short story form and illustrated in comic book-style artwork. It is very well done for sure...but I just wasn't sure what might interest young teens these days. So I asked my son, who works with the youth group at church...mostly, young teens are in this group of kids. He said, "Yep. They would like it."  So there's that. 

Now when I say comic book-style illustrations, I'm talking really good quality work. I looked up info on the illustrator and found this: 

 Sergio Cariello used his experience working for Marvel Comics and DC Comics to bring his dream of illustrating the Bible to life. As a young boy, he grew up with a Portuguese translation of The Picture Bible and never imagined he would one day work on the Bible as an artist.

That's pretty impressive. We live in a fast-paced, media-driven world. It can take something 'extra' to get kids and young adults engaged because of what they are accustomed to consuming. 

I would not necessarily recommend a Bible such as this, in its short story/comic book style form to the mature believer looking for a Bible that will get them engaged in in-depth study. But I would recommend it to those children, young people, and adults who are looking for a way to get a good overview of God's Word. A practical, fun, and engaging starting point for sure that can cultivate a hunger for more of God's Word.  Something that just might spark the beginning of a great thirst for engaging God's Word and set the stage for the great adventure of a lifetime of getting into the Word to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and His Word. 

The resources look to be an added benefit for the individual reading it as well as for parents looking for ways to engage with their child together in his/her daily Bible reading and study. It looks to be a fun resource for homeschooling families as well. 

So I would recommend this to young families looking for resources that will aid you in getting your kids, young and older, into the Word! 

*Many thanks to David C Cook for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Order your copy of the Faith In Action Edtion of the Action Bible Today!
Find out more here: The Action Bible 
Purchase it on Amazon here: The Action Bible: Faith In Action Edition
Giveaway

I'm giving away 1 copy of The Action Bible: Faith in Action Edition!! 
(Note: This is limited to US winners only). 
This is a quickly ending contest so be sure to enter now on the rafflecopter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Holman's Old Testament Handbook: A Review and Giveaway

"The entirety of your word is truth" ~ Psalm 119:160a



















I am always excited to present to you new resources that can inform and enrich your study of God's Word. So I was extra excited to get a chance to review a copy of Holman's Old Testament Handbook. So let's dive in...

About The Book

Immerse yourself in The Old Testament Handbook, an elegant, full-color Bible handbook that includes robust summary content, charts, maps, word studies, illustrations, and more for every Old Testament book of the Bible. Constructed with high-quality cloth cover materials and a sewn binding, the Old Testament Handbook is designed to last a lifetime as a valuable companion resource for Bible study, teaching, and ongoing discipleship.

The Old Testament Handbook features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible® (CSB). The CSB captures the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.


Features

  • High-quality, foil-stamped cloth cover materials and Smyth-sewn binding meant to last a lifetime

  • Elegant full-color interior design, including maps, charts, illustrations, and other visual helps for every book of the Old Testament
  • More than 75 in-depth word studies of key words found in each Old Testament book
    • A Ribbon marker for easy referencing between pages during study, teaching, or sharing










    My Review
    First of all, I just have to say that this is a beautiful book to behold. With its foil-stamped charcoal-colored cloth-over-board cover, it is a pleasure to hold in my hands! Not kidding...it's gorgeous! Even the pages with their thickness and buttery softness testify to the care that went into the making of this beauty. Many of the infographics within the book are worthy to be put in a frame and hung on your wall...but please don't. 

    If you are a book lover, as I am, the quality of the material matters for those books that you retain for your reference bookshelves. This book was put together with the intent of repeated use over the years. 












    There are so many features within this Handbook to love...

    It begins with a letter from the publisher that contains the reason this book is so aesthetically pleasing to the senses. It has much to do with how the craftsmen and artisans of the Old Testament "were instructed to complete their tasks for the combined effect of both glory and beauty." Seriously, buy the book and read the intro for yourself. 

    It goes on to give an introduction to the whole of the Old Testament as God's timely and inspired word as it explains the composition and canon of the Old Testament, the making of the Old Testament, God's Spirit in the guiding of the process, the reception of the Old Testament and why our canon is on target. 

    Then comes the meat of the book... Each book begins with a genre indicator, a one-sentence summary, a book introduction, and an outline. Then follows various word studies, maps, and timelines where pertinent to each book. 

    I really appreciate the charts and tables connecting Christ and key themes across Scripture as well as the infographics about key figures and events. 

    If you are looking for a book to help you in your understanding of the Old Testament as you read through your Bible...or even to give you all the necessary context as you begin studying a book of the Old Testament this would be a great tool to have on your bookshelf. I highly recommend this handbook. 

    You can purchase your copy of The Old Testament Handbook today at this link: 
    The Old Testament Handbook  Oh...and with Christmas coming this would make a great gift! 


    Many thanks to Lifeway Christian Resources for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

    #OldTestamentHandbookMIN #theoldtestamenthandbook #christianstandardbible #CSB #holmanhandbookseries #holmanhandbook #holmanbibles #othandbook @christianstandardbible @bhpub


    Be sure to check out and enter my giveaway below before you go!

    Giveaway

     I am NOT personally giving away a copy of The Old Testament Handbook but I do have a fun giveaway. You can enter the rafflecopter below to win a $10 Amazon gift card!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway



    Tuesday

    Surprised By Oxford: Movie Review & Giveaway




    I don't know how I missed it. But I never read Carolyn Weber's memoir, Surprised By Oxford. 

    Now that I have had the opportunity to preview the film adaptation of her book I will definitely be getting the book to add to my TBR pile. Because I still lean into that old saying, 'The book is better than the movie.'  But that remains to be seen in the case of this book/movie. Suffice it to say that the movie was good enough to lead me to want more. And I suspect I will get more from reading Professor Weber's memoir. 

    Overview


    Title: Surprised By Oxford

    Studio: Evolve Studios, Nook Lane, Ascendant Fox

    Genre: Faith-inspired, Drama, Romance

    Directed by: Ryan Whitaker

    Run Time: 1h 42m

    Rating: I don't believe it is rated, but I would venture to say it is PG-13 due to the realistic nature of the film. There is occasional profanity, etc. I will leave a link here to the Plugged In review that goes further into issues in the movie that might be of concern to family viewing. Here is the link: Plugged In Review

    Available to rent or buy November 2023

    Purchase your movie here: SURPRISED BY OXFORD MOVIE








    My ReviewπŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›


    Caro Drake, a brilliant but emotionally guarded American student, arrives at the University of Oxford determined to attain her Ph.D. Through a turbulent friendship with a charming young man, she begins to open herself up to mystery, vulnerability, and love. 

    That's the short of it. But really there is so much more. The beginning of the movie sets the stage for understanding the source of this young woman's quest for truth, and trust as it gives us a bit of her childhood background story. 

    Later...In a scene with her undergraduate college professor where she gives her analysis of John Donne's Holy Sonnet 14, he lets her know that she is missing the point and states that "anything without eternal significance is ultimately doomed to futility. The truth is in the paradox..." This sets us up for what is to come as she heads off to Oxford for her postgraduate studies. 

    Caro wrestles with unsettled feelings of a desire for what is real, what is true, whatever that thing is that we all long for. The thing our soul longs for. Her friend leads her to read C.S. Lewis' book, Surprised By Joy, which is his recounting of his early life and his lifelong search for Joy which leads him ultimately to find God. 

    There are so many underlying nods to the link between the intellectual quest for truth and understanding of human nature and the 'God who is there', without being 'in your face' with it. As Caro says, "Maybe we reach for something or desire something because that something is there...beyond us. The thing our desires point to." 

    And we have the picture of the struggle in the romance between Caro and Kent. There seems to be a parallel here in the picture of God's pursuit of Caro and Kent's pursuit...even as he gives up the pursuit out of love and respect for her wishes. There is a scene where Caro and her friends are viewing William Holman Hunt's painting of Jesus standing at the door and knocking. One of the friends notes that there is a problem with the painting. There is no handle on the door. 
    That is the beauty of the pursuit of God...He waits for us to open the door.  Ultimately it is up to Caro...to open the door of her heart. 

    I hope this spurs you to go watch the movie...and maybe go read the book as well. 

    "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." ~Revelation 3:20

    Go “Behind the Story” with Annie Downs interview...


    SURPRISED BY OXFORD IS AVAILABLE TO RENT OR BUY FOR THE MONTH

    OF NOVEMBER. Just go to this link: SURPRISED BY OXFORD MOVIE.

    Many thanks to Evolve Studios for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.

    #SurprisedByOxfordMIN #MomentumInfluencerNetwork


    Giveaway


    I'm giving away a free Vimeo download code to watch the film!! To enter just leave a comment below with your full name and email. No rafflecopter this time. I'll do a drawing for the winner on November 20. 

    Note: This is limited to US winners only




    Monday

    Dr. Michelle Bengtson: An Interview with the Author of The Hem of His Garment

     

    Please welcome the award-winning author, speaker, and board-certified clinical neuropsychologist with more than 25 years in the diagnosis and treatment of medical and mental disorders, Dr. Michelle Bengtson. 

    Though we have yet to meet face to face for that long-awaited chat over a cup of coffee, Michelle and I have gotten to know one another through our author connections over the years. I am deeply honored to count her as a cherished friend and prayer partner.  I know her as a woman of profound insight, deeply rooted wisdom, and unwavering faith. It is a genuine privilege to feature her on the blog today.

    The Interview

    Dr. B, you haven’t always been a published author. Before you began publishing books to encourage others on their painful journeys, what did you do?

    I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I began entering writing contests in my pre-teen years. I was encouraged to write because I enjoyed word-smithing but to also pursue a career in which I could make a living. So I became a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, first in the hospital setting and then in private practice, where I evaluated, diagnosed, and treated patients with any kind of suspected brain inefficiency including but not limited to ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental delays, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and dementia. 


    You minister to people daily through your website, books, social media posts, and podcast. Do you have a mission statement? 


    I’m grateful for each day God has given me, and it’s my desire to encourage others with the encouragement He has given me. My mission statement is the following: I seek to restore hope, renew faith, and encourage others to live in their God-given identity by teaching them how to renew their mind one transformed thought at a time.


    Your first traditionally published book was about overcoming depression. Why did you decide to write about depression? 


    I didn’t choose to write a book about depression…the topic and the publishing industry basically chose me. I had been planning to write a book to help guide parents whose children were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. But I was speaking at an event where literary agents and publishing house acquisition editors were in attendance, and at the time I was sharing how depression would be our greatest epidemic worldwide. After I spoke, agents and editors kept approaching me telling me that when I finished writing my book on depression, to send it to them because they wanted to see it.  I went home, began writing the proposal, and within two weeks, I became deathly ill. The further my health declined, the more depression got a foothold to the point that I cried out to God and told him that if that was going to be my life, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue living. But our God is such a good, redemptive God, and because I endured a time of severe clinical depression, Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression became a much more empathic, compassionate book concerned about those who also walked through the valley of depression.


    How did you decide what to write next, after Hope Prevails?


    Again, I didn’t really decide. My readers decided for me. After reading Hope Prevails, many readers contacted me and wondered when I was going to go even deeper into God’s Word and write a Bible Study. I didn’t consider myself a Bible teacher, but with God’s help, I went on to write and publish the Hope Prevails Bible Study. Then readers began asking when I was going to write a book on anxiety. So my next project became Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises. When I was so ill and on medically prescribed bed rest, and wrestling with depression’s darkness, I began a daily practice of writing an encouragement that always began with, “Today is going to be a good day because …” And I followed that statement with one of God’s promises. I began what has become a daily ministry over the last six years of writing a “Good Day” post on social media, and readers resonated with the message, so the publisher asked me to write all new content for the book Today is Going to be a Good Day: 90 Promises from God to Start Your Day Off Right” to help us choose a mindset based on God’s Word.


    Your books have all seemed to have been written after you came out of a struggle, sharing what you learned on that journey. How is that different from your most recent release? 


    That’s very true. Hope Prevails, the Hope Prevails Bible Study, and Today is Going to be a Good Day were written after I came through the valley of depression. Breaking Anxiety’s Grip was written after I came out of anxiety. My husband and I are no strangers to pain: we’ve endured multiple cancer diagnoses between the two of us, have lost many friends and family to cancer, have gone through a miscarriage and job loss, have felt the sting of relationship issues, and I struggle through severe daily chronic pain. My publisher asked me to write my newest book, The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms.  This book is different from any of my previous books because this book was written in the crucible of pain rather than through the rearview mirror of pain. 


    Who did you write The Hem of His Garment for? And what do you hope readers take away from reading it?


    The Hem of His Garment was written for those enduring physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual pain, grief, or loss, and need a hand to hold, hope to cling to, and a voice in the darkness to encourage them to continue putting one foot in front of the other. The Hem of His Garment focuses on the stories of the woman with the issue of blood, and to a lesser extent, Job because they both endured every one of the different types of pain mentioned above. The world is inundated with people walking their own painful journey. The question we try to answer for the reader is, “How do we hold onto our faith, like the woman with the issue of blood or like Job, when we know God can heal, but he hasn’t yet?” and “What lessons or gifts does God offer us amid our painful circumstances?” 


    Why did you focus on the woman with the issue of blood in The Hem of His Garment? 


    Having gone through physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual pain, I could relate to this woman because she also experienced each of those kinds of pain. In addition to her physical pain, she likely also endured emotional pain from the years of rejection and ridicule such a disorder promoted in those times. She likely experienced relational pain resulting from others choosing to not associate with an unclean woman, likely leaving her single or divorced. We know she suffered financial pain because Scripture tells us she spent all her money on doctors but continued to get worse. She may have experienced spiritual pain as a byproduct of knowing God could heal but for whatever reason hadn’t. And she probably experienced grief not just from lost relationships and lost opportunity to provide for herself financially, but also from loss of hopes and dreams for her future.


    Speaking of the woman with the issue of blood, what do you think is one of the key takeaways from her story? 


    When Jesus went to people, we saw them get the healing desired (the blind man could see again, the lame man could walk again, Lazarus could live again). But when the woman with the issue of blood went to Jesus, she received much more than she probably imagined. This woman held on to her faith over twelve years of suffering, knowing that if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she would be healed. In that moment Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” (Luke 8:47-48 NIV) Jesus not only healed her physically, but he saw her, he validated her and her worth, he offered her a future, and he gave her a testimony, none of which would she have experienced in the absence of pain and suffering. Perhaps in our longing for healing of our pain, God is beckoning us to exercise our faith, to come to him and touch the hem of his garment. Perhaps he has something more waiting for us.


    What do you hope others take from reading The Hem of His Garment?

     

    It’s my prayer that readers realize they aren’t alone in their pain and suffering, they have a hand to hold, and a fellow sojourner to walk with them through their pain. I want them to learn practical steps they can take to continue reaching out for the hem of Jesus’s garment. Their pain may not change but their perspective of it may.


    Are you working on another project? 


    In terms of The Hem of His Garment, I’m working on book club/study materials to make it easy for groups of people to go through the book together while encouraging each other in their pain. I’m also working on the next book! I’ve turned in the manuscript and the first round of edits for what many will consider a sequel to The Hem of His Garment. While this next book can definitely stand alone, it will also serve as the logical next step after The Hem of His Garment. Many have believed the lie that our past pain disqualifies us from God’s service or living the abundant life Jesus came to give. In this next book, we’ll actually take a deeper look at how God uses our past pain for good!


    If you are struggling with physical, emotional, relational, financial, or spiritual
    pain, grief, or loss, and don’t know what to do, let me encourage you to pick up a copy of my book The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms for additional insight on how to maintain your faith as you walk through this painful time. 



    Michelle, Where can my readers find your books and find out more about you?

    I blog regularly on my Website: https://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com and you can find me on these social media channels: 

    Facebook

    Twitter

    LinkedIn

    Instagram 

    Pinterest

    YouTube


    You can listen to Your Hope-Filled Perspective on Apple Podcast as well as on her website here:  https://bit.ly/3ef2fvs


    Make sure you go check out all of Dr. B's books here: Amazon



    If you have questions, or comments for Dr. Michelle, please leave your comments below. I know she would love to hear from you. 


    Dr. Michelle Bengtson is a hope concierge! Whether as a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, host of the award-winning podcast Your Hope-Filled Perspective, or the author of several award-winning books including Hope Prevails and Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, her passion is to share hope and encouragement with othersHer newest release is The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms. She loves all things teal, spending time with friends and family, taking long walks, or sitting by quiet shores, and it’s a bonus when any of those are accompanied by sea salt caramel chocolate! You can find her and her hope-filled resources at DrMichelleB.com


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    Saturday

    Route 60: The Biblical Highway Movie Review and Giveaway

    You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; 
    the appointed time has come. For her stones are dear to your servants; 
    her very dust moves them to pity. ~ Psalm 102:13-14

    There is a new movie in theaters nationwide September 18th & 9th. I have had the privilege of pre-screening the movie, so I am giving you a quick review here. I love it when I can point my readers to resources that will enrich their knowledge of God and His Word. So I'm so excited to share this with you!

    Studio: TBN

    Genre: Documentary, Cinematic Tour

    Featuring (as your tour guides): David Friedman & Mike Pompeo

    In Theaters: Only September 18th and 19th, 2023

    Buy tickets here: ROUTE 60


    About The Movie


    Carving through the heart of the Promised Land is the biblical spine of Israel, sometimes referred to as the Path of the Patriarchs and officially designated as Route 60. A highway of deep historical significance while often the scene of unrest and violence, this 146-mile road of asphalt and concrete begins in Nazareth, Israel’s largest Arab city, and ends in Beersheba, one of Israel’s high-tech centers. Running north to south, Route 60 connects ancient Israel with modern Israel, Jews and Christians with Muslims, and Israelis with Palestinians.

    This trek is far more than a two-lane highway; it is a historic, sacred link to the roots of Judaism and Christianity and the stories of the Old and New Testaments. Follow world-changing diplomats David Friedman and Mike Pompeo as they venture down this sacred road, treading the very ground Abraham, Jacob, King David, and Jesus once walked. Discover the history, witness the healing, and realize the hope along Route 60, the Biblical Highway.

    What others are saying: 
    • “Visually stunning and compelling storytelling.” - Mike Huckabee
    • “ROUTE 60 combines the truth of the Bible with undeniable archaeological proof, and like our tour guides, Pompeo and Friedman, that’s a powerful combination!” - Erick Stakelbeck





    "From the beginning, the road to believing in only one true God, the maker of heaven and earth, has carved its roots through the ancient land of Israel..." 

    "This road is deeply symbolic in the story of God shared by Jews and Christians and it a literal highway that bisects modern Israel ... where it is now known simply as Route 60." (from the movie).

    There are treasures within this movie and along Route 60, that hold deep wells of truth and meaning for all of mankind. As David Friedman says, "We all come from a common humanity."  There is not only a retelling of Biblical events as they travel this road, but also of their own personal stories as they relate to each location visited along the route. They also make connections from the ancient path to current historical significance for us today. All of this is woven brilliantly throughout the movie.  

    It is a movie that made me consider our own current attitudes about the roots of our beginnings here in the United States, all the while strengthening my own resolve to visit to Israel and make that pilgrimage before I die. 

    This is a remarkable movie. Make sure you get out to see it! 

    Watch the Trailer: 
     


    *Many thanks to TBN for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own. 

    #Route60MIN #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

    Buy tickets today to see Route 60 in theaters September 18 & 19 
    Purchase tickets here: ROUTE 60

    Giveaway


    Fun and quick giveaway! Hurry and enter because this giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on 9/23/23. I am giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one blessed winner! 
    (Note: This is limited to US winners only).

    *I'm not doing my typical rafflecopter this time. To enter you must go to my Captive Heart Facebook page and comment that you read my review below the link to this post on the FB page here: Captive Heart*