Tag Archives: christian life

Spotlight And Giveaway! — They Turned The World Upside Down

17 Feb

They Turned the World Upside Down JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour for They Turned the World Upside Down by Charles Martin, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


They Turned the World Upside DownTitle: They Turned the World Upside Down
Author: Charles Martin
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: Christian Life/Spiritual Growth

In the aftermath of Jesus’ resurrection, the testimonies of those who had followed him were so bold and so powerful that they turned the world upside down. What would happen if we lived with that same kind of faith today?

Walk in the shoes of the disciples, as New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin brings their stories to life with his storyteller’s perspective.

In the first century, believer didn’t just mean someone who heard and agreed with Jesus; it meant someone who acted on that belief. And when the outside world saw the faith of these new believers, they declared “they turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

That’s the kind of believer Charles Martin wants us to be. The kind who understands that the truth of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is so powerful, it reshaped history. The kind of believer who lives with that same world-changing faith today.

In his second non-fiction work, he uses his talents as a novelist to walk you through the lives of the disciples in the aftermath of the Resurrection and as they spread the message of the Gospel and “turn the world upside down”, leading up to Paul’s ministry in Thessonalica. In his beloved lyrical style, Martin illuminates key moments from Scripture and shares stories from his own life as a disciple.

With the same depth, sensitivity, and emotion that have made his novels beloved to millions, Martin will helps you engage with your faith in a new and inspiring way.



What Exactly Do You Believe?

Throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus, and leading up to and through the resurrection, the apostles’ problem was our problem. Belief. This has always been the problem.

So, let me dig at you a bit: What exactly do you believe? Let me put some teeth into this question.

• If God asked you to build an ark, would you?

• If He asked you to sacrifice your son, would you?

Okay, let me bring it closer to home.

• If He asked you to pray for the sick— someone who was in a coma on life support attached to a ventilator, moments from being “unplugged”— would you?

• If He asked you to cast out a demon, would you?

• If He asked you to pray for a dead person, to bring them back to life,

would you?

Still too tough? Okay, what if He asked you to:

• Forgive someone who didn’t deserve it— at all. Would you?

• Tell the Muslim with the prayer rug in the cubicle next to you about

Him. Would you?

• Risk a relationship with someone you love to tell them that their sin is not righteousness— even though they adamantly and defiantly claim that it is. Would you?

• Go to a friend’s house to pray for their child who is a cutter. Would you?

• Tithe before you pay taxes and your bills when money is already tight. Do you?

According to Jesus, the kingdom of heaven has come to us (Rev.12:10). If you are in Him, then you are in the kingdom. He also tells us that unless we become like a child, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3). Why is that?

“Taken from They Turned the World Upside Down by Charles Martin. Copyright ©2020 by Charles Martin.

Used by permission of Nelson Publishing, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com”.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


Charles Martin

Charles Martin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fifteen novels and two nonfiction books. He and his wife, Christy, live in Jacksonville, Florida.

CONNECT WITH CHARLES: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a print copy of They Turned the World Upside Down and What If It’s True?!

They Turned the World Upside Down JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight February 16, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 23, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Blog Tour — Love Her Well

18 Aug

Love Her Well Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Love Her Well by Kari Kampakis, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Love Her WellTitle: Love Her Well
Author: Kari Kampakis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date:
August 18, 2020
Genre: Christian Living/Parenting

Moms are eager for tips and wisdom to help them build strong relationships with their daughters, and Kari Kampakis’s Love Her Well gives them ten practical ways to do so, not by changing their daughters but by changing their own thoughts, actions, and mind-set.

For many women, having a baby girl is a dream come true. Yet as girls grow up, the narrative of innocence and joy changes to gloom and doom as moms are told, “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” and handed a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive.

Author and blogger Kari Kampakis suggests it’s time to change the narrative and mind-set that lead moms to parent teen girls with a spirit of defeat, not strength. By improving the foundation, habits, and dynamics of the relationship, mothers can connect with their teen daughters and earn a voice in their lives that allows moms to offer guidance, love, wisdom, and emotional support.

As a mom of four daughters (three of whom are teenagers), Kari has learned the hard way that as girls grow up, mothers must grow up too. In Love Her Well, Kari shares ten ways that moms can better connect with their daughters in a challenging season, including:

  • choosing their words and timing carefully,
  • listening and empathizing with her teen’s world,
  • seeing the good and loving her for who she is,
  • taking care of themselves and having a support system, and more.

This book isn’t a guide to help mothers “fix” their daughters or make them behave. Rather, it’s about a mom’s journey, doing the heart work and legwork necessary to love a teenager while still being a strong, steady parent. Kari explores how every relationship consists of two imperfect sinners, and teenagers gain more respect for their parents when they admit (and learn from) their mistakes, apologize, listen, give grace, and try to understand their teens’ point of view. Yes, teenagers need rules and consequences, but without a connected relationship, parents may never gain a significant voice in their lives or be a safe place they long to return to.

By admitting her personal failures and prideful mistakes that have hurt her relationships with her teenage daughters, Kari gives mothers hope and reminds them all things are possible through God. By leaning on him, mothers gain the wisdom, guidance, protection, and clarity they need to grow strong relationships with their daughters at every age, especially during the critical teen years.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository | Christianbook



Empower her to handle hurtful people.

Your daughter is a flawed, imperfect human surrounded by flawed, imperfect humans. She will never stop encountering hurtful people, but she can learn to deal with them.

How? By understanding that nobody is a waste. Everyone serves a purpose. The worst behaviors offer the best examples of how not to act, and while some people teach her who she does want to be, others teach her who she doesn’t want to be. Even sharks can offer unforgettable lessons on social graces, dignity, and the importance of being kind.

Many people become kind after they are hurt because they promise themselves to never make anyone else feel the same way. They boost their emotional IQ by letting their pain become their teacher. Your daughter can’t control how other people treat her, but she can control her response. She can do the right thing and save her energy for positive people, choosing a path that God can (and will) bless.

(Taken from “Love Her Wellby Kari Kampakis. Copyright 2020 by Kari Kampakis. Used with permission from http://www.thomasnelson.com.)



Kari Kampakis

Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is an author, blogger, and national speaker from Birmingham, Alabama. Her books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?, have been used widely across the country by teen youth groups and church groups to empower girls through faith.

Kari’s work has been featured on the TODAY Show, TODAY Parents,Yahoo! News, EWTN, Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s blog, The Huffington Post, and other national outlets. She and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola. Learn more by visiting http://www.karikampakis.com or finding Kari on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

CONNECT WITH KARI: Website Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(2) winners will receive a print copy of Love Her Well by Kari Kampakis!

Love Her Well JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight August 17, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on August 24, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.




Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Book Spotlight — Eat Live Thrive Diet

21 Jan

I think the folks at Waterbrook were peeking at my scales when they decided to send me a copy of Eat Live Thrive Diet by Danna Demetre and Robyn Thomson. LOL! If you are like me — a woman of middle years who struggles with keeping the pounds off — you may be interested in this lifestyle plan to rev up your midlife metabolism. This book is both science-centered and God-centered in its plans and principles. So if you have resolved to make some changes in 2019, give this book a look.

From the well-known health and lifestyle coaches of the widely popular website Lean Healthy Ageless (formerly Ageless Woman Living) comes a practical, science-based diet book that unravels the mystery of why women gain weight as they age and includes a sustainable plan to permanently lose the pounds and inches.

Eat, Live, Thrive Diet shows women how they can not only lose excess body fat permanently but also improve their overall health in critical areas such as brain function, resistance to disease, slowing down external aging, and increasing energy. This highly effective eating plan is presented in a compassionate voice by two experienced health coaches who share personal experiences of battling weight and emotional eating issues. Whereas most diets are short-lived or require substantial upkeep to maintain, Eat, Live, Thrive Diet is a viable eating plan that women can adhere to indefinitely. In addition to minimizing sugar intake, the plan emphasizes the importance of short-term intermittent fasting–a simple lifestyle change that makes it easier and more effective for many mature women to reach their health and weight loss goals. The book also highlights health risks and drawbacks of many popular fad diets that can be harmful on a long-term basis.


Danna Demetre, is a radio personality, writer, and popular motivational speaker. She is the president of Lifestyle Dimensions and president and cofounder of Women of Purpose, an evangelistic ministry. Danna currently hosts a weekly radio show called Health Solutions Today. She lives in El Cajon, California.

Robyn Thomson is an advanced clinical weight-loss practitioner trained by top doctors and scientists in the industry. Through seminars, workshops, and coaching, she helps people lose weight, improve their nutrition, and get more active.


(I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I have not read it and this spotlight seeks to inform, not endorse.)

Book Review And Giveaway: Two Are Better

22 May

TAB_flatcoverRev_rgb_500-200x300Are you looking for adventure? Want to simplify your life? Break free?

Go for it! This unique and entertaining story proves it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. After 52 years of life, Tim and Debbie Bishop finally found in each other that special someone they’d been searching for years to marry. In only 10 weeks, they moved from marriage proposal and wedding, to Tim’s “retirement” and relocation, to embarking on a cycling adventure of a lifetime. Was it a grand getaway or a big mistake?

Two Are Better: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast is a full-color, 208-page, 6″ x 9″ paperback book published by Open Road Press, including over 100 color photos of the Bishops’ trip across the country. Learn the inspiring story, be challenged to make your own dreams come true, and enjoy a vicarious adventure across a beautiful land.

Trip Blog

8-23-Deb-015-150x150Originally from Maine, Tim Bishop has over thirty years of experience in business, first as a CPA, then for many years in various roles in the corporate world. In addition to consulting for small businesses, Tim serves as a Hope Coach for TheHopeLine, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reach, rescue, and restore hurting teens and young adults.

7-10-Tim-002-150x150Debbie Bishop has taught for over 26 years, for the past 11 years as a literacy specialist in Framingham, Massachusetts. She has a passion for reading and seeing that young people do it well. She also has high interest in recovery issues and encouraging others with her own triumphs over struggles earlier in her life. Debbie also serves as a Hope Coach for TheHopeLine.

My Impressions:

Tim and Debbie Bishop were 52 before they married — for the first time! Then to add to the adventure of starting a brand new life after years of singleness they chose to fulfill the long held dream of a cross country bike trip, a honeymoon designed to fast forward the learning curve of marriage. What they learned about themselves and God can be experienced in their book about the life-changing challenge in Two Are Better. What you get is a first hand, up-close-and-personal account of the highs and lows of new starts and life lessons on the open road.

The book is written primarily from Tim’s perspective, with thoughts from Debbie interjected in the narrative. Photos from their 50+ day trip across America provide glimpses of the majesty of America. There are some serious and humorous accounts along the way. But what stands out most is their reliance on God before, during and after the trip that started them on their new life.

The Bishops were dedicated bikers before their trip, but it was amazing to me the lack of planning they undertook for the adventure of a lifetime. They started their journey with a goal to reach the Atlantic before Debbie needed to go back to work, but they soon found that what they expected was not always what they experienced. Too much weight on the bikes, sore bottoms and differences in approaches all caused some slow going at first, but the Bishops’ determination and commitment saw them through. Many of their experiences can serve as metaphors for the Christian life.

If you are interested in bicycling, adventure or if you are wondering what God may have in store for the second half of your life, you should check out Two Are Better — a quick read with great insight.


(Thanks to the authors for my copy of Two Are Better. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a Kindle version of this book, click on the image below.


I have a paperback copy of Two Are Better to give away. Just leave me a comment to be entered to win. Giveaway ends May 29th.

Book Review: Great Dog Stories

25 Apr

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card authors are:
and the book:
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to
Susan Otis, Creative Resources  for sending me a review copy.***


 M. R. Wells is the co-author of Four Paws from Heaven, Purr-ables from Heaven, and Paws for Reflection. She has written extensively for children’s animated television and video programs, including several Disney shows, Adventures from the Book of Virtues and Bibleman. She shares her Southern California home with her cats and dogs Muffin, Bo, Munchie, Becca and Marley.

Connie Fleishauer is a retired teacher and writer, and is the co-author of Four Paws from Heaven, Purr-ables from Heaven, and Paws for Reflection. The wife of a Bakersfield, California farmer, she is a mother of three and grandmother of one. While many cats have warmed her home, currently, she has two dogs.

Kris Young has worked as a screenwriter for more than 20 years and currently teaches screenwriting at the L.A. Film Studies Center and UCLA. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Celine, and son, Skye. He is currently “between dogs” but is hoping to welcome a new one sometime soon.

Visit the authors’ website.


From the authors of Four Paws from Heaven (over 100,000 copies sold) comes a new collection of devotional tales. In these heartwarming stories, the authors share wisdom gleaned from years of training, guiding, and loving the canines in their lives. Readers will discover powerful spiritual insights, including:
 the blessing of true companionship

 the gift of unconditional love

 the joy of adoption

 the power of obedience

 the comfort of resting in the Master’s arms

Everyone who has loved a dog will find encouragement and hope in these touching stories—reminders that these faithful, devoted companions are part of God’s great plan for their lives.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736928820

ISBN-13: 978-0736928823


The Dog Who Wouldn’t Fight
Choose Love
Choices are the hinges of destiny.

When my friend Sue came home from work one summer evening in 2002, the last thing she dreamed of finding on her door- step was a puppy. She loved dogs and had two of her own, but she was cautious. She could tell this pup was a pit bull, and the dog
was emaciated. But as she carefully drew nearer, the four-footed stranger smiled and wagged its tail. When Sue sat beside the pup, it climbed on her lap, smothered her with kisses, and wrapped its paws lovingly around her neck.

Since Sue could not remember seeing this pup in the neighbor- hood, she decided to keep it overnight and check for lost dog fly- ers in the morning. She felt it prudent not to put the newcomer in the house with her own dogs. After feeding and watering the hun- gry foundling, Sue made a bed of blankets on her garage floor. The pup immediately curled up and went to sleep.
Later that evening a teenage boy knocked on Sue’s door. He was looking for a missing pooch. Since his description fit the puppy perfectly, Sue returned the dog and thought that would be the end
of the story.

It was just the beginning! Next evening, the female pit bull puppy was back. The poor thing looked literally “hang-dog,” as if she’d done something wrong and expected to be beaten. Once again, the young pit bull showered Sue with kisses. Sensing the dog was in trouble, Sue called local animal control for advice. After con- firming Sue’s address, they told her there had been reports of people in a nearby house raising pit bulls to fight. The next day arrests were made in the case, and Sue was allowed to keep the loving puppy she named Champagne. “Champ” made instant friends with Sue’s other dogs and has grown into a gentle giant who cuddles under the covers at night and is one of the sweetest canines Sue has ever met.

How Champ knew to flee that fighting environment is a mys- tery. Why she sought refuge on Sue’s porch is as well. But one thing is clear: this pit bull puppy chose love—just as Sue did by taking her in. Those choices blessed them with each other and changed both their lives forever.

My friends Ruett and Rhonda also chose love. They did so in the face of wrenching tragedy. One night when their sons were small, Rhonda and the boys were at a local park where seven-year- old Evan played in sports leagues. Rhonda was about to drive off with Evan and ten-month-old Alec when gunfire erupted around their car. They were caught in the middle of gang violence. Both boys were hit. Alec suffered loss of vision from metal fragments that penetrated his eye. Evan was fatally shot. Rhonda got in the back with Evan until the paramedics beckoned her to come with them.
There are no words I could ever write that would adequately describe the excruciating pain Evan’s parents suffered…and still suffer. It is searing to lose a child under any circumstances. This was a sudden, traumatic, utterly senseless loss. Nevertheless, in the midst of their pain Rhonda and Ruett made an amazing choice.

Tales to Tug Your Heart

They knew Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. They knew that unthinkable as it might be in their human strength, God was call- ing them to forgiveness and reconciliation. They chose love over hate, forgave those involved in their son’s death, and formed the nonprofit Evan Leigh Foster Foundation. Its mission is to reach out to gang members with the message of God’s love and redemption. They have shared that message personally, one on one. They hope and pray that by bringing gang members to faith in the God who can heal and transform them, gang violence will lessen and other children’s lives will be spared. Their choice to love has changed their own and others’ lives eternally and made them a living illustration of Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

A first-century martyr named Stephen would have understood their choice. He also chose to love those who caused him pain. He was seized and accused of blasphemy because he proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. Stephen chose to affirm his faith and defend it biblically. His accusers responded by ston- ing him. As he was on the brink of death, he prayed for his execu- tioners. Acts 7:60 tells us that he “fell on his knees and cried out,
‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Champ the dog chose to flee fight training and live out her life loving both dogs and people. Rhonda and Ruett chose to reach out in love and forgive. Stephen chose to pray for those who were martyring him, even as their stones were crushing him to death. Though they all suffered, they did not let pain twist and embit- ter them. They chose love, and became a blessing to others. Their choices mattered, and so do ours. If we love and obey the Lord and let His love and forgiveness flow through us, even in our toughest times, who knows what difference we might make?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While
we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Consider This:

Have you ever chosen to love in difficult circumstances? How did it affect you and others? Are you struggling with such a choice right now? If so, is there someone you might ask to support you in prayer?


My Impressions:

Great Dog Stories is a wonderful book to use for quiet time.  If you love dogs, you will love these short stories that illustrate a truth about God.  Each story includes a scripture verse for meditation and questions to challenge.  Pick up Great Dog Stories for the dog lover in your life — a great gift for others or yourself!

Author, Author! — Jay and Beth Loecken

18 Aug

One Family. One Purpose. One Passion.

Passion to Action is one ordinary family’s tale of pursuing an extraordinary dream. It’s a story about asking big questions, seeking answers every day, and along the way discovering a big faith.

What happens if you make a dramatic change? How does God sustain you in your new life? What will the people around you say? Find out for yourself what happens while reading about the journey of Jay and Beth Loecken. See just how far God takes them in their desire simply to serve -as a family- in soup kitchens, community projects, and churches across America.

Through the story of the Loeckens, see how God leads us to places we’d never imagine, be inspired to better live from your life’s passion, and find the courage to turn it to action.

Passion to Action: How God Uses Ordinary People in Extraordinary Ways by Jay and Beth Loecken

Guideposts Books/September 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8249-4857-3/256 pages/hardcover/$19.99

(From The Passion To Action website)

Beth and Jay Loecken and family — 

Our dream of hitting the open road and traveling the country in an RV began in the early years of our marriage. With the busyness of life, our dream never became a reality.  In July 2007, our family had the privilege of going to Africa on a life changing mission trip. When we returned, we wept as we realized all that we had in comparison to the African people. Our country host, Paul, shared his powerful testimony of growing up in the slums. As he spoke about the importance of having a dream, we realized that we had let our dream die. We decided to earnestly seek God to see if this dream was from Him. Over several months, God spoke to us through prayer and His word and we believe He has truly led us on this adventure. Read more about how we decided to travel full-time by clicking here.


While in Atlanta at the ICRS, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jay and Beth and talk to them about their ministry, book and future plans.  Here are some of the highlights:

BTB:  How scary was is it to sell everything and head out on the road?

Jay and Beth:  It wasn’t so much scary as it was exhilarating!   And though it was huge to let go of the security of a job and home, we know that God has us in His hand.  The more we step out, the easier it is to trust God.

BTB:  What do you miss most while on the road?

Jay and Beth:  We spent some time staying in a friend’s house and discovered some of the things we didn’t know we missed — having more than one toilet, privacy, sleeping in or staying up late.  (When you have a family of 6 living in an RV, everyone goes to bed and gets up at the same time.)  But we are so grateful to get to do what we are doing.

BTB:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Still on the road?

Jay and Beth:  We hope to have a ministry center in Denver that can serve as a home base for us and a place for others to come to study and grow.  Our dream is to have an old fire house — enough room for groups to come in and for us to park the RV.  We still see ourselves traveling and ministering all over the country.  In the short term we are working on a small group study that we will self-publish. The study will emphasize community development principles, joining hands in service and service with dignity.

A Big Thank you to Jay and Beth, a couple with real passion that translated itself into action!

(I received an ARC of Passion to Action from B&B Media Group.)