Chronological Study Bible {A Review}

 

It came in the mail just before Christmas and I was anxious to dig in during the New Year. Most of you know I like to read through the Bible in a different translation each year and the thought of reading it chronologically excited me. In fact, I decided to use it for the 90 day challenge I was going to participate in for Lent.

Ruth and Naomi At-A-Glance

Ruth and Naomi At-A-Glance

Confession: I couldn’t get through it in 90 days. Not with this Bible as the helps were so distracting! In a good way. I would read and find myself drawn to their points in the margins. Their at-a-glance sections. The colorful maps and the nuggets of wisdom worth dwelling on.

I’ve had it four months now and I’m still in the Old Testament.

(Although I did skip forward for Lent.)

While I assumed I would simply enjoy this Bible for the chronological aspect, I find myself enjoying the Study Helps the most. Even my Sunday School class has benefited from it as I’ve read some of the highlights to them. Such as their little tidbit on the Yoke. And we’ve used the chart listing all the disciples and their occupations, etc.

Yoke

Reading through the path Jesus took to the cross in this format impacted me greatly this Lent. Maybe my heart was simply softened to receive it deeper this year, but one thing I do know: It was easier to picture the story unfold. And it amazed me to see how different the four perspectives of the disciples were and how they recanted the story for us uniquely.

I had planned on getting through this Bible before I wrote my review, but I can tell that’s going to take some time and I feel guilty for having it as long as I have with nothing to show for it. So maybe you simply knowing how much I’m enjoying it is enough?

This isn’t the type of Bible you buy and use one time, then set it on a shelf. This is one you can go back to over and over again. I’m partial to the NLT translation when sharing it with children, as well.

Overall, this Bible is one I would recommend. I’m so grateful for the chance to review it and share it with you.

For more information regarding the Bible, please visit THIS LINK.

How about you, friend? Have you ever read through any portion of the Bible chronologically? Ever read the NLT? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Note: I am a part of the Tyndale Blogging Network. I have received this book for free in exchange for my review. All opinions and thoughts listed above are my own.

Hosanna! {Now and Forevermore}

palm branches

He came as predicted. (Matthew 21:4-5)

And still they did not see. For their hopes were not set high enough. Wrapped tightly in political bondage, they were simply asking for a new leader. One to overthrow the Romans.

So when they shouted “Hosanna,” they were taking it literally. “Save us now.” Now. From the Romans. Not from forever. Not the world. Just us from the now.

But God knew.

God saw their need. And He promised to fulfill it.

Through Jesus.

Friends, Jesus took ‘Hosanna’ to a whole new level.

I’m sharing more about it this over at my 2nd home: 5 Minutes for Faith. Won’t you join me? Simply click on the button below!

The time is coming…Can you feel it?I hope to see you over there so I can hear how you are preparing…

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Lent on Purpose {and The Mystery of Grace}

GRACE

Have you ever tried to explain grace to a 5 year-old?

Has a five year-old ever taught you a thing or two about grace?

Have you ever considered if grace could exist without love?

These are some things I’m pondering over at 5 Minutes for Faith today as I contemplate this Lenten season. I’d love to have you join in the conversation. Simply click the button below!

 

And friends, I still haven’t forgotten this place and my utter desire to update all of you. Thank you for your patience as I try to find my new groove and figure out where blogging (and the time it takes) fits. I am determined to make room somewhere…soon.

For now, will you join me over at 5 Minutes for Faith? I’d love to see you there…

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

My Life {Punctuated with Hallelujahs}

simplystriving

Friends, I’m tired. I say that literally as I care for this newborn babe. And I must confess, I had forgotten how hard simple life tasks are when sleep alludes you.

Even hallelujahs.

That’s what I’m talking about over at 5 Minutes for Faith today. I’d love to have you stop by. Just click the button below!

And can I just say I miss this space? I know I haven’t been around. It honestly wasn’t intentional and am determined to carve out some of my day this week to update any of you curious as to why. If you have time, please, check back in.

Thanks for sharing your time with me. I hope to see you over at 5 Minutes for Faith.

Simply striving,

Nikki

One Thing This New Year {Making our Mark}

resolution

Friends, I wonder…do I live each day with my mark in sight? Do I stay focused on where I’m going instead of where I’ve been? Do I keep my eye on the prize as I plan and prepare for what this year might provide?

Like Paul, have I made Jesus the master of my own life?

This New Year, as I mark up the calendar, as I make plans or resolutions or what have you. As I face what 2014 throws my way, I want to make sure I don’t miss my mark.

And I’m over at 5 Minutes For Faith talking about this very thing. I’d love to see you there, just click on the button below!

Thanks for sharing you time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Christmas is Coming! {Bring Your Inner Child}

Christmas Ornament Collage ~ Simplystriving CC

He plunges into the tinsel bag eagerly. I catch my warning before it’s uttered and sigh in relief when his five-year-old hand retreats with only a few strands. And as he runs to the tree, I hear him humming his favorite Christmas Carol.

With precision, he hangs each silver strand just the way he wants it. His slippered feet patter on the hardwood as he asks his dad if he wants to come and lend a hand.

After much attention, we all step back and admire our handiwork. All six feet of it. The same tree I tried to replace years ago. The one my husband and I joke about — how it’s so fake it’s nearly real as I end up vacuuming up pine needles into spring.

And my boy, all four feet of him, he says it best:

“Mom, it’s the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen!”

I look again and see the ornaments he’s been making since preschool. I see the carpenter’s nail hung right in front as a reminder. And as I glance over and see my husband and I’s 14 year history together all hung in one place, I couldn’t agree more.

It is the most beautiful tree I’d ever laid eyes on. Thank you, child, for helping me see.

I’m not sure when our perspective changes. When we get too tall to truly see the glory displayed right in front of us…

This year, I’m striving to bend low. I’m approaching the manger on my knees as I reflect on the miraculous beauty that was gifted to me thousands of years ago. And as I contemplate the significance of a lofty manger, a smelly stable, an un-sanitized birthing room, I’ll step back and say:

“Father, it’s the most beautiful display of love I’ve ever seen!”

Friends, do you see it? Will you join me here down low, look up with me and proclaim His splendor? How will you celebrate the Reason of the Season this week? I’d love to hear.

And in true Music Monday fashion, I invite you to join me and my five-year old as we sing his favorite Christmas song:

Christmas is Coming

by Jason Gray

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Enter Into His Presence {Christmas Style}

.
When I think of anticipation,
I recall the all-familiar
scene in
“The
Christmas Story”
.

You know the one — where they are anxiously waiting for their moment with Santa. Ralphie’s rehearsing what he will say until it’s perfect. You can almost hear his heart pounding in expectation of what he considers the most defining moment of his young life.

Finally, his time has come, and as he approaches the man dressed in red, he freezes.

Ralphie’s mouth gapes wide. He stares at the one he’s been envisioning, his well-prepared speech weighing heavy on his tongue.

Whether he’s in shock, awe, or disappointment, I still can’t decide — maybe all the above… Regardless, he almost misses his chance to share what he longs for most.

burning-thru-the-fog-Courtesy of Greg Abel Photography

Friends, when we approach our Creator — hopefully every day — we are having that defining moment.

Think about it…

When we pray, we are walking up to the King of all Kings. The Jehovah. The Alpha and Omega.

We don’t have to travel far and wide, long and rugged like those wise men of old. We don’t have to leave our sheep behind to stand before Him personally. He’s already here with arms open wide. Inviting us into His chamber…

It should make our heart palpitate. Our souls should arrive humbled and yet expectant. Knowing this moment is sacred. Acknowledging this time is life-changing.

The best part? (Besides not having to wait in line) We don’t have to rehearse a thing. He already knows what’s on our minds. But if we can muster up enough strength to say it to Him directly, we’ll find what Ralphie was searching for.

Redemption.

Fulfillment.

Relationship.

Answers.

I’m not sure, but maybe it’s all the above.

This Christmas Season, let’s find out together. Let’s allow our hearts to flutter when we bring our meager selves to Him. And let’s tell Him what we long for most as we bring our souls to His knees.

I don’t know about you, but I can already hear Him saying, “Come…”

And do you know what else, friends…He knows our name.

How about you? How do you prepare for your time with The Savior? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Hallelujah {The Highest Phrase}

robinspinetree2-M

It took a homeless man to remind me. That no matter what, why, where, when, how, praise always applies.

Hallelujah is truly the highest phrase. (SEE VIDEO HERE)

And this Season, as we proclaim our glory to God in the Highest, I’m striving to put it to practice.

Can my every breath sing hallelujah?

Can I give Him all my Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh?

Would I travel far and wide, no matter how long it takes, just to follow His Light?

Just to give Him my humble cry of Hallelujah?

Is my hallelujah enough?

Oh how I wish I knew. How I long to say yes to each of these. I’m striving…

But friends, one thing I do know.

HE IS ENOUGH.

No matter what, why, where, when, how, He deserves my hallelujah.

So I will find the hallelujahs of today. I will give all I have to Him–whether it be gold or … my attention. I will proclaim His glory in the highest and allow His peace to rain here on earth. On me.

He deserves my hallelujah. The highest phrase for the highest praise.

Will you join me? This is one of my favorite Christmas songs and its message portrays this brilliantly. I’m sharing this video clip so we can focus on the lyrics, although THIS CLIP is my favorite and official video of:

A Hallelujah Christmas

performed by Cloverton

How about you, friend? How will you bring your hallelujah this Season? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Coffee Talk With Jesus {A GIVEAWAY}

I was a reader of her blog before Simplystriving ever came to be. I believe it was in my twelfth post I mentioned how her words had made me think and ultimately encouraged me. That was two years ago now and I can still say the same today: Barbie’s words soak through to my soul and percolate. Because they’re written with Him in full view…

And now Barbie’s written a book! A 31-day Devotional no-less. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Now that I’ve read it, I’m elated to give away one to you…

If we’ve shared moments on the screen together before, you’ll know I often talk about this scandalous love affair our Savior offers. How He doesn’t just want our obedience, He wants the intimate depths of our heart. Our soul. He longs to take residence in that place we harbor what is most sacred to us.

Barbie gets it and has a way of taking you there…of showing you glimpses of Him for a few minutes each day. That’s all this book requires–just enough time to finish your morning cup of coffee.

Coffee Talk With Jesus: Intimate Chats With The Savior is written as if Jesus is at the kitchen table with you, sipping on Breakfast Blend Brew while you enjoy each other’s company. Or maybe you’re eating coffee toffee bars or it’s chocolate mint coffee {there are quite a few wonderful recipes in the book as well!}

Friends, I would have been thrilled with her devotional if that’s all it was. Truly. But Barbie goes one further. She makes you commit as she offers these moments of reflection. This safe place to pen your own response of what God is sharing with you each day.

Here’s what I loved most: The reflection moments dig into uncharted waters. Most focus on Him. Not so much what you should do, but what He can do for you. You’re not asked to look in the mirror, you’re asked to look at His reflection… You’re also asked to look within, to where He should be and see if there’s anything blocking you from having the kind of relationship you both long for.

There’s so much I could share about this book. About how real and personal it can take your relationship with Him, but I’d rather you explore it for yourself. And in hopes you do, Barbie has offered to give away one copy here to one of you!

ON TO THE GIVEAWAY:

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOT CLOSED.
CONGRATS #3, DEBBIE, FOR WINNING!!

One winner will have their choice of either a signed copy of the book itself or the kindle version of Coffee Talk With Jesus. Winner will be chosen at random using random.org on Monday, December 2nd, at 12:01am Central Time.

HOW TO ENTER:

Simply answer in comments this question: If you had a coffee date with Jesus, what is one thing you would want to make sure you talked about?

Comments will need to be entered by Sunday evening, December 1st at 11:59pm Central Time and have a valid email address to respond to if you win (all email is confidential and will never be shared).

FOR ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

You may use any of the share buttons featured below to offer this giveaway to your friends. Simply share in comments which one you used.

NOTE:

If a hard/soft copy of the book is requested by the winner, please note these will be shipped out mid-December. And my readers outside the US of A are more than welcome to enter–thank you, Barbie!

MORE INFO ON THE BOOK:

To learn more about this wonderful Journal/Devotional, you may visit:

  • Amazon (I’m not an affiliate — just making it easy) Click the “Look Inside” to get a taste of what to expect each day.
  • The Author, Barbie’s blog ~ Freshly Brewed Life (and if you hurry, she’s also giving some copies away!)

Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: I was provided with a PDF copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Everything expressed here is my own opinion. Barbie would never ask anything from me but my own perspective. She is, however, the one supplying the book for the giveaway and for that, as well as the copy I received, the honor is all mine. I am truly grateful.

Good to Me {God’s More-than-Enough}

PUSSYWIL-M

We hold back. I’m not sure if the clinging is learned or if it’s in our human DNA, but I know it’s safer easier to keep a little in our grasp…just in case.

Friends, how this must hurt His heart, for He has never done the same.

My God gave all to save all.

My Savior sacrificed everything for the mere hope of … me. you. love. Take your pick–He offers it all.

And I know I can put ALL my hope in the truth of His promises. I am assured I can steady my heart on the ground of His goodness. So today, I will rise up and proclaim His glory. I will face this morn fully equipped with all He’s given me.

He’s given me life. love. joy.

And no one. Not one can take this from me. No one can steal what He’s given. (John 16:22)

My God is so good to me…

“Why is everyone hungry for more?
‘More, more,’ they say
‘More, more’
I have God’s More-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day.
Psalm 4: 6-7, MSG

These verses jumped off the page this last week and I am making them my mantra this week.

Friends, we have God’s more-than-enough…He will offer more joy in one ordinary day than anything else we could hold tightly to.

Let’s let go and let God…let’s open wide so He can fill high. Let’s bow down and lift up His name. Simply because He’s so good…

Good to Me

Audry Assad

I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night–raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life
I will trust in Your promise

How about you, friend? How has He been so good to you lately? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki