Tag Archives: devotional guide

Book Review: Big And Little Coloring Devotional

8 Nov

Kids crave constant activities and attention. Adults crave quiet moments of refreshment. How can we achieve both? Big and Little Coloring Devotional engages adults’ minds with appealing biblical devotionals while providing a creative outlet through coloring to diffuse stress.

Let’s have fun with our children through coloring and facilitate their spiritual growth with Scripture. Big and Little Coloring Devotional will incorporate physical, spiritual, and emotional refreshment by providing authentic faith-filled devotionals combined with therapeutic doodling for both the adult and child.



Rachel Swanson is a dental hygienist turned author, speaker, and accredited christian life coach helping women discover their unique purpose and pursue their dreams. She inspires others by sharing personal real life refining moments with relatable truths on her blog, social media pages, in-person speaking events, and through her high-level online coaching program.

Rachel is married to her husband Jeff of 10 years. They have three children: identical twin boys (Gavin and Rylan) and 19 months later a baby girl (Aria). They reside in a wannabe country town in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California.

Web/Blog: http://www.RachelCSwanson.com
Facebook: @Rachelswansonofficial
Instagram: @Rachelswansonofficial

Jacy Corral (pronounced “Jackie”) is an illustrator, hand lettering artist, graphic designer, wife, and mom. After enjoying an extensive career in corporate marketing and design, she traded fancy slacks for yoga pants to focus on the great privilege of raising her daughter, investing in her home and marriage, and creating artwork that helps people to connect and reflect. Jacy lives with her husband, daughter, and miniature poodle in West Los Angeles, CA. She shares her creations regularly on Instagram and at http://www.hyssopdesign.com.



My Impressions:

While I have seen my share of adult and children’s coloring books, I have not seen one that combines both and can be be shared at the same time. The Big And Little Coloring Devotional does just that. It’s format allows the adult and child to face each other with compatible designs while allowing each to explore God’s word and work out their own creativity. Each two page spread includes a simple design with a Bible verse and a more complex design with devotional thoughts that expand on the scripture. Rachel Swanson has created the perfect way for mom and child to interact, have fun, and talk about the promises of God. And there are lots and lots of designs — this book will last a long time. The author shares how the book came about as she looked for ways to spend time with her daughter in prayer and Bible study. She says that the book is a creation orchestrated by the Creator Himself for you and your “little” to enjoy! Swanson has a hit on her hands as she combines God word, her devotional thoughts, and the beautiful designs of Jacy Corral. You are going to love it! Consider adding this one to your holiday shopping list.


Audience: parents and children

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to B&H Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Book Review: Total Christmas Makeover

6 Nov

Give your Christmas a makeover with this practical approach to help your family learn what it means to truly celebrate their Savior.

In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it’s important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ’s birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.

Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.

In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God’s grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season.

Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God’s Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of the First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree, Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness, and Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible studies and Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home book. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.

Find out more about Melissa at http://melissaspoelstra.com.

My Impressions:

If you are anything like me, you may dread the coming of Christmas. Oh, not the day itself, but all the things that go with it — shopping, crowds, obligations, and increased stress. In Total Christmas Makeover, Melissa Spoelstra looks at Christmas in a new way. She takes God’s word about sacred celebrations and festivals and applies them to the Christmas activities and traditions within our own families. With emphasis on ritual, relationships, and rest, this 31-day devotional guide will give you a new outlook and a new commitment to putting the focus of the holiday season where it belongs — on God.

Total Christmas Makeover won’t have you throwing out all the things you hold dear about Christmas time, but it will show you a way to streamline, tweak, and refit your traditions and thoughts towards God. Each day begins with scripture, then progresses to the author’s thoughts. She also includes a short prayer to jump start your time with God, along with questions to get you thinking about what should be part of your Christmas activities.  Practical tips conclude the short devotional. I especially liked the emphasis the author puts on remembering to honor God in all we do at Christmas, the importance of keeping our relationships strong, and finding the needed rest that God provides to his people. Because there are 31 selections, you can get started on Thanksgiving Day and finish up with the book before Christmas!

So if you long for a way to get rid of distractions that mar the beauty of Christmas, pick up Total Christmas Makeover.


Audience: adults (especially women)

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Book Review: Journey into Grace

14 Sep

Life is a journey of joyful moments and painful moments, including twists and turns that threaten to undo us. But if we allow God to work through the joy and the pain, that journey can lead to the life-sustaining richness of His Grace and an intimate relationship with Him.  That truth is the core of international speaker and teacher Darlene Sala’s new women’s devotional, Journey into Grace. With Darlene’s heartfelt voice alongside two coauthors, including her daughter, Bonnie, the 150 readings explore themes such as fear, forgiveness, learning, loving, prayer, and relationships.  This book offers women quiet moments with God as they bring their real life challenges to His feet.


Darlene Sala has had an active ministry role as pastor’s wife, counselor, Bible teacher, missionary, author and leader of Guidelines International Ministries, which reaches, teaches and touches lives with the love of Christ throughout the world.

Darlene speaks at family conferences and churches in the United States as well as internationally.  She leads the Guidelines Women’s Ministry Team in presenting the THRIVE:  Journey into Grace Seminar. Contact luisa.ampil@guidelines.org for more information.

Darlene is the mother of three adult children and grandmother of eight, seven handsome grandsons and one Princess.  She likes black licorice, does her best writing in the middle of the night and has an African Violet named, well . . . Violet.

My Impressions:

Darlene Sala, along with her two co-authors Bonnie Sala and Luisa Reyes-Ampil, has compiled a devotional just for women. Filled with daily wisdom, each of the 150 entries speaks to issues that all women face. Journey into Grace is divided into topical sections so that the reader can find devotional thoughts specific to what they are facing on any given day. Some of the topics include finding grace in every day experiences, forgiveness of self and others, help with carrying heavy burdens, strengthening relationships, getting through the hard times, and living a life of obedience. Each day’s entry starts with a scripture verse on point with the devotional thoughts explored. Many of the thoughts shared are personal experiences of the authors or their friends. The authors pose a question for reflection and then a starting point for prayer. Journey into Grace is a good choice for those who are struggling with specific problems or for those who need an extra dose of encouragement. I found the entries I read to be perfect for the day I was facing. It is so cool how God can arrange that!

The back cover describes life as a journey filled with good and bad, Journey into Grace is a good compliment to daily Bible reading and prayer time for the reader to find an extra measure of grace for her day.


Audience: women.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Barbour Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Too Blessed To Be Stressed

12 Jan

51kizchtjul-_sx355_bo1204203200_Thousands of women have had the pleasure of reading the wit- and near-wisdom-filled books from beloved inspirational humorist, Debora M. Coty. Her Too Blessed To Be Stressed has become a perennial favorite, selling upwards of 46,000 copies since its 2011 release. Now, ready to rescue you from the joy-sucking dully-funks, is an all-new 365-day devotional featuring just-right-sized, truth-filled readings (gift-wrapped in humor) for your heart. The Too Blessed To Be Stressed daily devotional touches on everyday life topics like relationships, love, boundaries, hope, brokenness, and praise, while helping you to arrive at healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith.


deb-coty-headshot-2Debora Coty is an inspirational speaker and author of the popular book series, Too Blessed To Be Stressed, with over 250,000 copies sold. Her passion is sharing an off-beat blend of biblical truth gift-wrapped in humor, encouragement, and unconventional wisdom with women of all ages. She believes that the stresses of life become manageable when we truly understand God’s blessings. Deb’s wit and insights have helped thousands of women.


My Impressions:

Does your busy life — work, home, family — keep you too stressed . . . to be blessed by God? Well, help is here in the form of Deborah Coty’s latest Too Blessed To Be Stressed . .  . Inspiration for Every Day daily devotional. Filled with wit and wisdom, these 365 offerings — one for every day of the year — are a great and quick kickstart for your day or a way to lead you into a deeper of time with God. Each day, Coty shares a scripture verse to reinforce God’s care and love for us, a brief story that feels like a conversation between friends, and a short prayer to start the conversation with God. A great resource for your New Year resolution to find more time with God, Too Blessed To Be Stressed is a recommended read!


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Barbour for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: ScriptureDoodle and ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises

15 Dec

scripture-doodle-hiScriptureDoodle: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, October 2016)

With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.

Often, in the busyness of life, Christians forget that God created them to enjoy creativity. With guided instruction and completed examples, this beautiful book invites readers to draw closer to God through their own art.

More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle. Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, ScriptureDoodle gives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader’s imagination and helps integrate God’s Word into everyday life.


9781434710437_hiScriptureDoodle God’s Promises: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, December 2016)

Some of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God’s promises and faithfulness to His children.

ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God’s Word in all circumstances.

This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.


aknight-413April Knight is a worship artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Knight’s work includes live worship painting and leading ScriptureDoodle workshops online and at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally. Her family of four is her greatest joy, along with serving alongside her husband at their local church.

Find out more about April at https://scripturedoodle.com.


My Impressions:

Is the coloring book craze reaching saturation point? Recently a friend shared coloring book fails (The Golden Girls, really?), but the two ScriptureDoodle books put together by April Knight are a coloring book WIN! By combining the creativity God gifts all His people with (we are made in His image after all) with His Word, you can have days and days of meditating, creating and resting in His presence. The two books are designed as 6-week devotionals with each exercise to be completed daily. But I can see the user coming back to past designs to experience anew the comfort and refreshing that God promises. Besides providing scriptural guidance, Knight also helps with the fine points of doodling. I have a friend that loves adult coloring books and has been looking for something exactly like the ScriptureDoodle books. I guess I have my Christmas shopping done with this one!

I recommend both of these books who want to unleash their creative urges and spend some quality time with God.


Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase these books, click on the titles — ScriptureDoodle and ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises

(Thanks to LitFuse for making available complimentary copies. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review + Giveaway: Pray A to Z

5 Dec

51wn-jo7l-_sx343_bo1204203200_Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father. Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.


arhodes-412Amelia Rhodes is a speaker and author of Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break: Doing Life Together in an All-About-Me Kind of World. Amelia’s writing has also been featured in four Chicken Soup for the Soul titles, devotionals for the OneHope blog Undeterred and the international devotional Upper Room. Amelia has a growing speaking ministry and speaks regularly to women’s groups on topics of spiritual growth, friendship, and community, offering practical tools for living our faith in the everyday. She lives in Lowell, Michigan.
Find out more about Amelia at http://www.ameliarhodes.com.


My Impressions:

Community, according to my dictionary, is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. We all live in community whether as part of a small town or a large city, a remote rural area or a sprawling urban center. And even if your closest neighbor is miles away, we are all part of a larger group. I see the book Pray A to Z as a means to bring people closer together. This small book can make a big impact. Arranged alphabetically by topic, each passage begins with a verse of Scripture and then gives direction for specific prayer. Many of the topics are people and things I may not have included in my own prayer time without prompting, but are vital to the well-being of my community — court cases, foster families, eXcellence and generosity. The book is an effective resource to re-energize and re-focus personal prayer time or group prayer meetings. I also see it as a tool to compliment prayer-walking or driving as we go about our daily life.

If you want to up your prayer game, then consider Pray A to Z!


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Worthy Publishers and LitFuse for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)




Learn more about Pray A to Z and how to pray for your community, and enter to win Amelia’s Guide to Prayer Prize Pack to get you started.


One grand prize winner will receive:

A copy of Pray A to Z
A set of Pray A to Z prayer cards
A custom wood sign (similar to this one) made by Amelia’s friend
A prayer journal

Enter today by clicking HERE, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 20. The winner will be announced December 21 on Amelia’s blog.

Book Review (+ Giveaway!): The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

17 Nov

51uw-fw57el-_sx355_bo1204203200_For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.


acollins-399Ace Collins is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than 60 titles, including The Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Darkness Before Dawn, and Lassie: A Dog’s Life. Ace frequently speaks across the country and on radio and has appeared on national television shows, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox and Friends, Entertainment Tonight, The Early Show and more. When not writing, he works as a magazine editor and graphic designer, as well as host for a charity organization radio and television broadcast. Ace and his wife, Kathy, are based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Find out more about Ace at http://acecollins.com.


My Impressions:

I loved Ace Collins’ latest book, The Most Wonderful Time of The Year. Billed as a devotional, I think it is so much more. Filled with heart-warming stories, thought-provoking devotions, interesting facts, and great recipes to fill the stomach and sooth the body, this book is a wonderful way to plunge you right into the Christmas spirit! And though it is especially meaningful for use during the month of December, it’s message and lessons will be remembered long throughout the new year. The story Ace shares about George Handel’s writing of the great oratorio, The Messiah, really struck a chord with me. I am sharing it with my Bible study group, along with a recipe for a very sweet treat — Sugar Cookie Truffles. So if you want to bring a bit of extra meaning into the hubbub of the holidays, you need to get a copy of this book. Or get 2 or 3 — this book makes a fabulous early Christmas present!

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary ARC. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)





Join Ace’s Christmas festivities by entering to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway.

One grand prize winner will receive:

A copy of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
A button-wreath craft kit
Pass the Ugly Christmas Sweater card game
A gingerbread tree kit
An advent calendar



Enter today by clicking HERE, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.