Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review : Better Than A Superhero

This book is being featured on the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance this week. Information about the author and more details about the book can be found here.

Better than a superhero by Belinda Francis is a great way of teaching children about Jesus. It covers many aspects of Jesus' character and his mission. It touches on stories from the gospel accounts and gives children a great overview of Jesus' life as well as explaining his kingship. Furthermore the book encourages children to talk to Jesus and have a relationship with him.

I especially like Kayleen West's illustrations of Jesus, as well as coming across as caring, he also looks happy which I think is an important concept in itself. The rest of the illustrations are great too – attractive and appropriate to the text.

An instructive and fun book for young children.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blog Tour : Better Than A Superhero

This blog tour is for the children’s book: Better Than A Superhero by Belinda Francis, illustrated by Kayleen West. This book is part of a blog tour organized by Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

I will post my book review soon.

21st -25th July 2014

is introducing

(Wombat Books 1 May 2014)


Belinda Francis, illustrated by Kayleen West

About the Book:
Who is better than a superhero? Find out about Jesus as you explore what he did and who he was. And most importantly how Jesus really can be your best friend!

About the Author: Belinda Francis
Award winning journalist turned children's author Belinda Francis worked in newspapers, magazines and electronic media for ten years in South Africa before she and her family immigrated to Queensland.

Shortly after arriving in Australia, her elder son was diagnosed with ASD and she devoted the next few years to his early intervention, which with God's guidance, has paid off miraculously. Her second son, who had been born ten weeks prematurely, is now healthy and strong – evidence of yet another miracle. She and her family recently celebrated the arrival of their third child, a much-prayed for daughter.

While raising her children, Belinda wrote Better than a Superhero, her first published book, and threw herself into the local church and community. She runs the Sunday school program at her church campus.

Belinda is passionate about raising children up in God's kingdom and excited about the ministry opportunities the book will undoubtedly open up.

About the Illustrator: Kayleen West
An award winning artist, her work hangs in private and corporate collections in France, United States, Italy, and the Australian Embassy in Ireland and in government collections in Australia.

Although an initial childhood dream was to write and illustrate for children, Kayleen was encouraged to venture into a career of an exhibiting fine artist and later a graphic designer. Returning to her original passion in 2009, Kayleen is now a published children's Author and Illustrator working on her third children's book and writes Christian content for magazines and blogs.

Kayleen is the author and illustrator of Without Me? (Wombat Books, 2013) and the illustrator of Better than a Superhero (Even Before Publishing, 2014).

For more information:

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Devotional Thought : 1 Kings 18:21

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18:21

Was it fear that kept the people quiet? Or was it that they wanted to keep their options open? When Elijah suggested a contest the people said, “What you say is good” (v.24). Perhaps they were wondering if God had forsaken them, or abandon them, and they wanted evidence. Despite their history through Abraham and Moses they wanted their own experience of God's intervention. Whatever their thinking they were reluctant to make a public stand.

This would have been extremely discouraging for Elijah and later he would complain to God that he was the only one still following the Lord. “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (19:10, 14).

It is no wonder Elijah felt this way when no one would verbally declare their allegiance to the Lord. And no doubt, Elijah felt lonely in the face of such stiff opposition – "four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah" (v.19).

God responded to Elijah by saying, "I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him" (19:18).

But where were these seven thousand when Elijah needed them?

Where are we when our leaders need us? When they make a stand for righteousness do we support and encourage them? Do we stand with them? Or do we say nothing?

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quote from Lauren Winner's Memoir

I have been reading Lauren Winner's memoir Girl Meets God and I'll write a book review in due course. In the meantime I'd like to share this paragraph which Lauren wrote about the Mitford series of books by Jan Karon. These books were instrumental in her coming to faith:
"They were no great works of literature, just vignettes about the people in Father Tim's parish, stories about ordinary Christians working out ordinary faith in their ordinary lives… They sang hymns I didn't know and prayed from a prayer book I had never opened. And I thought, I want what they have."
Christian Fiction can be subtly powerful because it describes what Christianity looks like, rather than explaining it.

So Christian Fiction Writers be encouraged!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review : Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage with the subtitle, My journey to a deeper faith in the land where Jesus walked, is an autobiographic account of Lynn Austin's trip to Israel. It provides an interesting look at many of the historical sites in this country with Lynn's personal and Biblical comments.

While this was an interesting read, I'd have to say I prefer Lynn's fictional writing. I kept getting the feeling throughout the book that Lynn was keeping something from me. Lynn admits to being an introvert and I suspect she is essentially a private person so I imagine writing the book was particularly challenging for her, though she does not express this.

Early in the book she comments that her three adult children left home within a five month period and she struggled to cope with the change that this brought. Then at regular intervals she mentions her difficulties with the changes that were happening in her life, but I was never sure if she meant her children leaving home or something else. This issue does resolve a little towards the end when she is a little clearer about the effect her children leaving home has had on her but even so, this was not entirely satisfying.

However in spite of this it was a pleasant read and very informative. I am doing a study tour of Israel later this year so the book was helpful in this regard. I also liked the way Lynn included the Biblical accounts and insights which connected to the topography of the area she was visiting.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Devotional Thought : 1 Kings 15:34

He [Baasha] did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. 1 Kings 15:34

Baasha killed Nadab, Jeroboam's son who only ruled Israel for two years. He also killed the rest of Jeroboam's family. We are told this happened because of the evil Jeroboam perpetuated in Israel (15:30). Baasha had the perfect opportunity to lead the people to return to the Mosaic covenant and the happy days of 1 Kings 4:20. But he didn't. Instead he committed the same sin and in the next chapter we see it brought the same result (16:3).

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. This is true of Baasha. He lived under Jeroboam's kingship and saw the outcome of his life and yet Baasha persisted in following Jeroboam's sinful ways.

God has graciously given us many role models, through the Bible and in life. Some are great examples of how to live a godly life. At other times God allows people to come into our lives who are less than ideal. We are wise if we can learn from both good and poor role models.

Surprisingly it is the bad role models that are often most instructive. We tend to take good role models for granted. They make wise decisions and reap good outcomes. However when we see unwise decisions being made and the resulting outcomes, it is important we also apply these lessons to our lives. It is easy to dismiss bad outcomes on unfortunate circumstances without considering if poor decision making has played a part.

Eleanor Roosevelt wisely said, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself."

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Quote from The Shack

"The real underlying flaw in your life, Mackenzie, is that you don't think I am good. If you knew I was good and that everything - the means, the ends, and all the processes of individual lives - is all covered by my goodness, then while you might not always understand what I'm doing, you would trust me. But you don't.”

This is a quote from The Shack by William Young. Although the book has some theological problems, it also contains some gems like this one. Do we really believe God is good? If we did we would trust him a whole lot more than we do.

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