A strong defense of Christian faith through Grace – for teens and reluctant readers

The Case for Grace (Student Edition) by Lee StrobelThe Case for Grace: Student Edition: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives 
Author: Lee Strobel
Board Book: 132 pages
Language: English
ISBN 13: 978-0-310-73657-8
List price: $9.99Reviewed By: Janice D. Green

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

In The Case for Grace, author Lee Strobel bares his own soul as he shares his personal struggle with accepting the Christian faith, and more specifically understanding how grace is freely given to ALL who come to God in a spirit of repentance. Several different personalities are represented including backgrounds of extreme neglect, bitter rebellion, do-gooders oblivious to how they are missing the faith, and even from the most despicably sinful backgrounds imaginable, yet they all found grace and new life in Christ. This book is powerful, written for teens and addresses the kinds of concerns that are real to them.

But don’t let the fact that it was written for teens prevent sharing it with adults as well. I felt it stirring my heart – and I’m a senior citizen who struggles to read long books. As I read this book, I considered adults I would like to send it to – adults who might not be willing to read any Christian book I gave them. The simplicity of this book makes me think maybe they would read it through.

I received a free copy of this book through the BookLook review program by Zondervan. I was in no way required to give a positive review.

When God Turned on the Light by Allia Zobel Nolan

When God Turned on the LightI was given a copy of Allia Zobel Nolan’s book When God Turned on the Light to review; and the more I read it, the more I fell in love with it. Not only do I see it as a wonderful book for children, but it has inspired me to write about the Bible in a delightfully new way. What a glowing example of good writing!

This is a book about creation. It isn’t exactly Genesis, but it is. It takes the theme of the light and weaves it playfully through most of the days in the Genesis account of creation. By focusing on the things young children understand instead of forcing a day by day accounting, this book will captivate children from cover to cover.

The rhyme in this story flows smoothly enough throughout the book. But it isn’t just the rhymes that make the book poetic, the words are rich with word pictures and beautiful descriptions. For example: “Caterpillars munched leaves, which the light made see-through. When they took off their fuzzy coats, butterflies flew.” Allia’s creative lines coupled with the delightful illustrations by Linda Clearwater will stretch every child’s imagination.

Pages come with surprises like the zebra’s discovering their reflections “staring them right in the eyes.” Fun pops out of page after page as the light seems to dance its way through the story bringing everything to life. And as the child nears the end of the book, a much deeper concept is beautifully introduced. “Yes, God lit the world with another light too. He was Jesus, the Lord, who saved me and saved you.” Wow!

And on the last page is a scripture verse, Psalm 18:28. “You have turned on my light! The Lord God has made my darkness turn to light.”

This book takes my breath away. I know it will touch young hearts in a powerful way.

I was given a copy of this book from Harvest House Pulishers for an honest review, but was in no way obligated to give a positive review. I simply love the book and plan to use it as a model in my own future writing.


Think Spring – It’s closer than you think

With all the blizzards and ice storms popping up all over the US over the past few weeks, spring may seem like a remote possibility, but down deep in our souls, we know it will come again. Maybe sooner than you think.

216537_10150158033852856_8053711_nDo you love birds as much as I do? The many varieties, colors, and behavior patterns are so intriguing. Watching them can relax me on any kind of day and any time of year and they offer so many opportunities to teach your children/grandchildren about God’s wonderful world.

Bird feeders can be set up any time of the year and are a sure fire way to attract a variety of birds. Bird houses require a little more thought and planning if you wish to use them to attract birds to your yard.

208538_10150158051072856_4922408_nIt is important to have a realistic idea of what kind of birds are likely to come to your yard. What part of the country do you live in? Do you have a large manicured lawn or lots of trees and shrubbery? Do you live near water? Bluebirds like wide open spaces with trees close by but not too close. Nuthatches need pine trees. American Goldfinches need thistles nearby for nesting – they winter in South Carolina, but rarely stick around for nesting once spring returns. Don’t set out a wood duck nest box if you don’t live near water. …and so on…

Once you decide on the kind of birds you can realistically attract to your yard, learn their nesting requirements. Do they need a nest box or do they prefer only a shelf? How big should it be? What size entrance should the nest box have? Should the box be mounted on a tree, the side of a building, or on a post out in the lawn? What other nesting materials might be helpful – yarn, threads, hair, dryer lint, wood chips…? Each bird has its preferences, and the more you know about them, the more likely you are to be successful in getting them to nest where you can observe them.

Spring is very close. I noticed a pair of bluebirds going in and out of a nest box this morning on my way to church. So if you want birds to nest in it this year, time is short. If you don’t get it out in time all is not lost. The time it stands outdoors may make it more attractive to the birds next summer as it will seem more natural to their environment as it weathers.

Here are a few websites with excellent information to help you plan for your desired feathered friends.

Peeking inOne more way you can plan for a successful summer of birdwatching is to consider plants you may want to grow to attract them. I have planted sunflowers in the south to attract the migrating American Goldfinches. If you hope to see hummingbirds, there are many flowers that are ideal for attracting them. This link on the Cornell website will be helpful as you start planting for birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=1146

by Janice D. Green, author of The Creation


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