Children’s Book Review of "A Father’s Love" & Book Giveaway

    by Sally Matheny

A Father's Love
     It's time for a book review and giveaway! Be sure to read below how to enter for the drawing.

      I’m so glad Zonderkidz is publishing I Can Read! books like A Father’s Love, part of the NIV Adventure Bible series. 

A Father’s Love is a level 2 book, which means it is a high interest story for developing readers.

     The full-page, colorful illustrations are beautiful. Most of the thirty-two pages contain thirty words or less. Sentences are broken up into about ten words per line. The print is large and easy to read.

     Of course, this is the familiar story Jesus told about a father and his sons. One son leaves his father and squanders his inheritance until he is eating with pigs. He decides to go home and ask for his father’s forgiveness. If you haven’t heard the story, I’ll not tell you the ending, but I will tell you that not everyone is happy to see the prodigal son.


     This is a great story to share with youngsters. Most first – third grade students will find the text within their reading range.

     A Father’s Love  will open up discussions on responsibility, forgiveness, jealousy, and acceptance.
     I highly recommend this well-written and beautifully illustrated book.

     In fact, I plan to give a copy of this book away this week. Everyone who leaves a comment below will have their name placed in a drawing for the book. We’ll announce the winner at 3:00 p.m. (EST)  March 7, 2015.

[Congratulations to book winner, Jennifer R.! I'll contact you concerning a mailing address.]

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Bibles Removed From N.C. Baptist Church

by Sally Matheny

Bibles Removed From N.C. Church
The event didn’t make the headlines, but it happened in a North Carolina Baptist church on a chilly, Sunday morning in February 2015.

The black Bibles, normally nestled between every two hymnals in each pew, weren’t missed until the morning worship music had already begun. A few people never noticed. But several of the congregation grew concerned. One of the deacons, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders, discreetly whispered the discovery to the pastor. The pastor nodded in response to the deacon as the praise band continued their music.

When the music ended, the pastor returned to the pulpit and announced for the children to come for the children’s message.

The pastor was my husband. The church was my place of worship.


Remembering Today’s Persecuted Christians

by Sally Matheny

The Story of St. Valentine
by Voice of the Martyrs/Cheryl Odden

Hidden under layers of commercialism, it’s difficult to find the origins of Valentine’s Day. 

One of my favorite children’s books on the topic is The Story of Saint Valentine, by The Voice of the Martyrs and Cheryl Odden. It’s a beautifully illustrated book about faith, love, and courage. 

It’s the story of one Christian’s brave perseverance in standing for truth no matter what the cost.

I think Valentine’s Day is a great day for remembering today’s persecuted Christians. Many think of Christian persecution in faraway countries.
The Voice of the Martyrs gives eye-opening information about the developments in Cuba, which is only about 1500 miles away.

Despite improvements, the Cuban government still arrests, mistreats, marginalizes and openly opposes Christians. Christians are often prevented from working in certain jobs. Though there have been fewer arrests, both church leaders and evangelists have been detained, have had personal items confiscated, property destroyed, and some have endured beatings.”

VOM also states that rules established in 2014 limited churches to one bank account each and increased the power of the government to freeze those if they desire.

The government knows the best place to implement and gain support for their policies—with the country’s youngest citizens.

“Some children are required to renounce Christ and embrace communism in school, and Christian young people are often not allowed to graduate from high school or enter a university.”


A Delicious Review of Kristen Feola's Book: The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast

by Sally Matheny

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast
by Kristen Feola

When I first opened The Ultimate Guide I thought the book pertained to the Daniel Plan. The Daniel Plan focuses on the wholesome foods Daniel (of the Bible’s Old Testament) ate and why.

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is not the Daniel Plan. Same Daniel. Different agenda. Author and nutritional consultant, Kristen Feola presents an appetizing book for “everyone who is hungry to know the Lord in a deeper way.”
The book includes three parts: The Fast (17 pages), The Focus (27 pages), and The Food (140 pages).

After a brief introduction to what the fast is, Feola shares her own personal experiences resulting from the fast as well as the testimonies of countless others. Reading how God worked through the fasting of his people was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Feola also assists the reader during the 21-day fast by providing 21 daily devotionals. Scripture verses are included (most are NIV) as well as more references for additional reading.

Then you get to the food part—that ironically takes over half the book. But, I liked that because of what Feola offers here. At first glance, I wasn’t so sure the recipes would be to my liking. While I don’t fry foods, I’m as southern a gal as they come. My family is typical meat-and-potato eaters. Since they were not participating in the fast, my challenge was to cook something tasty for them without sabotaging my fast. Even my picky-eater enjoyed many recipes!

A list of foods to eat and foods to avoid are listed prior to some suggested meal plans. I don’t want to give away the whole content of the book so I’ll just share a few from each list. Three of the items on the “Foods to Eat” list are fruits, vegetables, whole grains. Three items off the “Foods to Avoid” list are refined and processed food, sweeteners, and meat.

There are over 100 recipes, many with full color photos. I haven’t tried them all yet, but I plan to refer to this book often because all the ones I have tried were delicious! Many of the ingredients were new to my cooking. I soon discovered how easy it is to grind oat flour and flaxseed and use them in recipes.

Recipe categories include: Breakfast, Appetizers & Snacks, Salads, Soups, Vegetables, Main Dishes, and Juices. The most surprising recipe for me was the “Date Honey.” Not the prettiest fruit to work with, but the easy recipe produced a yummy food that could be used alone or in many of the other recipes.

Nutritional stats are not listed, such as calorie and fat counts but I think perhaps that was intentional because that isn't what the fast is about. 

This book is delightful and I will continue using it. The devotionals and recipes helped me, especially through the initial difficult days of the fast. 

I can’t forecast what the fast will do for you. That’s an individual heart issue between you and God. I know what it did for me. There were specific areas of focused prayer during that time where I drew closer to God and received great blessings. Also, after the initial headaches from sugar and caffeine withdrawal, my body felt more energized, less sluggish. Brain fog lifted and a clearer focus settled in. Because of Feola’s tasty and filling recipes, I almost felt guilty, as if I had not suffered enough for it to be considered a fast.

"Blessed are those who hunger 
and thirst for righteousness, 
for they will be filled." 
Matthew 5:6