Unwrapping the Names of Jesus By Asheritah Ciuciu

I have always been intensely interested in the names of Jesus and God. They aren’t just names they have much deeper means. I couldn’t wait to read this book! Right away the cover drew me in. It is so pretty and festive! I love the title too! Christmas is associated of course with the giving and opening of material gifts. While is nothing wrong with giving and receiving gifts, unfortunately it has become the focus of the holiday instead of Christ’s birth. We forget to “unwrap” the greatest gift we will ever receive, Jesus!
There are 4 weeks devotionals divided into five days each and one for Christmas day. Everyday centers around a name of Jesus. The 4 sections begin with an introduction and lighting the advent candle. Verses to read, discussion questions and a suggested Christmas carol to sing. These are a great start for the ones that follow. The daily devotions are short but well written and include scriptures. At the end of all of them is a prayer, a challenge and more scriptures to study. (I like that!) When you finish the 5 days, there is more!! Listed are service focused activities to choose from that your family can together that focus on Christ.
This book is beautiful inside and out! It adds so much meaning to celebrating Christmas!
It would be great for a family, group, or personal study to be used year after year! I wish I could give Ms. Ciuciu’s book 6 stars! I found it inspiring and a great blessing!
I received a free copy of this devotional in exchange for my review. I was not required to give a positive review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck By Bethany Turner

Sarah had it all…well she thought she had it all. She was married to her high school sweetheart, she was a famous writer of sleazy romance novels, and extremely wealthy, then her marriage begins to fail. Her world falls apart when she finds her husband cheating on her in their home. After her divorce she feels confused and unhinged. Her friend, Piper, reaches out to her and leads her to Christ. On her very first visit to Piper’s church she meets the minister, Ben. They are both are instantly smitten with each other. A bit of a complicated situation considering he is a man of God and she is the writer of X-rated books? She is a new creature in Christ and wants to follow Him in all areas of her life including her writing.
This book’s story line is unusual in several ways. First, I have never read Christian fiction about a newborn Christian and their spiritual growth. Many of us as believers may have forgotten the newness of our walk with God and total dedication to the Lord. Sarah’s new life is a reminder of that sweet season and also how easily we can lose that focus as time goes on. I enjoyed watching her learn God’s ways and strive to change when He convicted her of sin. Her hunger to learn and obey the Lord was so wonderful!
The story addresses passion and physical desire between a single man and woman that honor God’s guidelines for purity before marriage. The author handles this in a very tasteful way. The temptations and difficulties faced were so true-to-life. Being attracted to the opposite sex is a natural part of how we are created. What is important is how it is handled according to God’s Word. I loved the cleverness and humor throughout the book.
I understand what the author was trying to convey, but was disappointed that Ben and Sarah’s relationship seemed rather one dimensional, focusing on the physical and not the other aspects of a healthy relationship that grows toward marriage. In addition, Ben as a pastor didn’t seem interested in discipling his new convert. I found the book unusual and entertaining.
I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.