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Book Review: 1000 Days–The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell

Posted by Julie on October 24, 2012 in About Me, Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Don’t forget to submit your thankful post for use here in November. More details here.

It’s been awhile since I’ve contribute as a BookSneeze blogger. Wait no more because today I review Jonathan Fallwell’s 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ.

I think all of us could be guilty of giving the headlines and not the details when it comes to describing Christ and His three years of Earthly ministry. When I read my Bible, I realize I gloss over the details because I’m sure I know it already.

1000 Days is perfect for the believer to take their time and remember why you decided to follow Christ in the first place. The chapters go through Christ’s words and actions beyond the headline. His ministry and Falwell’s writing inspire. It’s a needed refresher for everyone who calls Christ their Savior.

For those who seek to know more about Christ or want to understand the difference between relationship and religion, 1000 Days is an excellent book to form an opinion. Falwell speaks in layman terms everyone can understand without overwhelming.

If you’re looking for a read on Jesus that challenges you as a believer to a new place in your relationship, this book probably isn’t it, I don’t think it was designed to be a deep, transforming work for someone who already has a relationship with Christ. For that, I recommend Bob Sorge or Beth Moore.

But this book was a great reminder to me that Jesus is worth reading and talking about, more than the sound bite I’m guilty of presenting.

Book Description

An opportunity to meet Jesus Christ like never before.

Have you ever thought that when Jesus Christ came to earth more than two thousand years ago, he could have simply given us salvation—period!—and never done another single thing? Jesus Christ could have chosen to be born of a virgin, live for 33 years in relative obscurity, die on the cross, be buried, and rise from the dead three days later, and still give us the opportunity for salvation without doing any of the things we read about in the gospels.

Yet there was more.

For three years—roughly 1,000 days—Jesus served in public ministry while on earth. He didn’t need to do this ministry, yet he did anyway, and that’s the key for us. This intentionality implies that there is a lot of information in Scripture that we need to grapple with. We need to understand what Jesus said and did during his 1,000-day public ministry, so we can apply his teachings to our lives today.

What makes these 1000 days of Christ so vitally important?

Jesus’ public ministry was to help us understand what true love is all about—both for God and for other people. When we love God and others first, the rest of life falls into place: our possessions, our ambitions, our hopes and our dreams. Jesus modeled everything he taught, and his invitation is to make his mission our mission too.

Purchase 1000 Days here.

I received 1000 Days from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.


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Sabbath Sunday: Be a Firework


Sabbath Sunday–where I share an amateur nature(ish) picture and a few thoughts on God’s love for you.

Those oohs and ahhs aren’t just for fireworks.

Freedom isn’t just for Americans.

My story, in part, is about surrendering fear and what others thought about me.

That kind of peace has a price, but what a victory.

Be colorful.

Be a sight to behold.

Let all of heaven ooh and ahhh over God’s latest masterpiece.

Surrender what’s holding you back to the One who knows all.

And be a firework.

In Jesus’ name.

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Sabbath Sunday: It’s That Simple Like Me

Each Sunday I share my own amateur nature photo with a thought or two about God’s love for you.

I used to feel inferior because I wasn’t a complicated person. I’ve never had lobster or flown overseas. I don’t use big words and I’ve never enjoyed reading the King James Version of the Bible. I’m a girl that likes well done hamburgers who would still probably eat strawberries from the garden.

I don’t know the right verses to say word for word or the correct place in the Bible to find it. I’m pretty sure I know, but never certain.

I don’t own Prada and I don’t drive a Lexus. My joke is I had to return to the thrift store to buy my own pants back.

This picture is simple to me. Church and America. Remember the commercial from the 80’s? Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet? That’s me.

Maybe that’s you, too. But perhaps you think you’re missing out because God is complicated and He wouldn’t be interested in you. Oh, have I got news for you.

He’s so simple we make it complicated. He loves us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to Earth to live as man. A perfect man who never sinned. He was crucified for us, for love, simple, pure love, with your beautiful face on His mind when He took the nails. He died, and three days later was resurrected. He is in heaven, and He will be back. When? Don’t let anyone tell you they know.

Not even Jesus knows.

It’s that simple.

He’s coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He’s coming back for His Kids. The ones who felt too simple but trusted Him anyway, and the complicated ones with luggage of issues.

Perhaps you are a profound sort, many degrees and titles next to your name. You want proof and none of this simple faith stuff. Well, He’s got your back on that, too. Scientists are finding faith truths in quantum physics. Muslims are turning to Christ by the thousands each day because Jesus is showing up. For real. It boggles the mind, but it is happening. Dead people are coming back to life. Tumors are shrinking simply by people praying in the name of Jesus. There are doctor reports and x rays, as well as verbal witnesses.

Me? It’s easier for me to trust the Bible and take God at His Word. After all, it’s stood the test of time no matter how many ways and times the message and the messengers have tried to be extinguished. I like simple statements–like the one where God made the ark, man made the Titanic.

I like my pictures with sunshine, churches, and American flags.

I love my future knowing it will be in heaven with Jesus.

It’s that simple.

Do you know Him?

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Book Review: Tricia Goyer’s Beyond Hope’s Valley

Posted by Julie on May 2, 2012 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Tricia Goyer presents the third book in her Big Sky series, Beyond Hope’s Valley. It continues Marianna Sommer’s journey where she returns to her Indiana Amish roots for her brother’s wedding, and preparing for her own wedding to Aaron Zook. Although being Aaron’s bride has been her dream since she was a little girl, returning to Indiana is a bigger adjustment than she planned on.

Marianna misses her Montana life. The rules are different in Montana and she can feel the disapproving stares in Indiana when she is friendly with the Englisch. The setting is different and she misses the lake life she grew to love in Montana. As she settles in, life becomes more unsettling. Marianna learns a lot about herself and those she loves, and has to make a choice, all the while drawing closer to a personal relationship with Christ whether her home is on the farm or a lake.

I confess, I did not read this book as thoroughly as I wanted due to the publisher shipping the books a bit late. However, what I was able to read was a smooth return to Marianna’s life and family and I absolutely related to the heart of the book. I know what it is like to have a life in two states, and both hold their appeals. But living in one brings conflict for Marianna not living in the other, and oh, how I know this. It’s hard.

There are secrets unraveled toward the end that I’m curious to know if Tricia will re-visit those characters and the issue in a future book. The secrets affect Marianna and I like how she goes about making her plans, with prayers to Jesus, and the eventual life she chooses.

If you enjoy Amish fiction with romantic themes and a transformation in faith in Christ, you’ll enjoy Beyond Hope’s Valley. I recommend you start with Beside Still Waters and continue with Along Wooded Paths to get the most out of Marianna’s story.

About the book: 

Beyond Hope’s Valley – Book Three in the Big Sky series

After an extended stay in Montana, where Amish traditions are different than in her home state, Marianna Sommer returns to Indiana for two reasons, first to help her brother and his girlfriend prepare for a baby and their wedding. Second, to plan her own wedding to Aaron Zook — a marriage she’s been dreaming about ever since childhood. And yet, although she had missed the idyllic farms and families of her upbringing, Marianna is surprised that Indiana is somehow making her long now for Montana.

As months pass, secrets that were hidden in winter’s frozen grasp thaw and take on a life of their own. The truths about a child, about a past relationship, and about God’s plans are being revealed. Walking through a valley of questions, Marianna must hold on to hope as she decides where and with whom her heart truly belongs. 

About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of thirty-two books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

More info: Living Inspired and

Link to buy the book: 

Tricia is having a custom Amish prize pack and author chat TBA, so please stay tuned to her website.

There are other bloggers reviewing Beyond Hope’s Valley. Visit them here.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Character Confession: The Sparkly Gift

Posted by Julie on April 21, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

To say I had a low self-esteem as a young adult would be an understatement. I didn’t feel worthy of love for a few reasons, and would complain when I observed what I thought were high-maintenance girlfriends demanding flowers and chocolates from my friends, their boyfriends. I thought so little of myself I remember uttering that “if he wasn’t hitting me, that would be gift enough for Valentine’s Day.”

When my husband came on the scene, he showered me with gifts, and I struggled. In my mind, he was going to learn who I really was, and that I wasn’t worth loving, and he’d be goe. To me, he needed to save his money and time. But he was stubborn and full of faith, letting me know that the Holy Spirit showed him we had a future, and a good one. I didn’t run, but I didn’t allow myself to enjoy the romantic beauty of the relationship. I was so practical and afraid of enjoying anything of worth I didn’t even want to shop for diamond rings.

Again, my husband to be insisted, but it was a battle of wills within the store. Every ring the poor employee brought out was to me a car payment. Or two. Or ten. All true, but deep down there was something else going on within my rejections. I didn’t feel worthy of such beauty.

I chose the smallest diamond I could find, and a small, simple wedding band.

I wore them for 15 years, through good and bad, thick and thin. Literally.

But last year I needed a surgery where the rings had to come off. I was in a thick season where I’d gained weight and it took an hour and half a bottle of Windex to get those things off. The surgery didn’t last as long. When it came time to put them back on, I couldn’t. My finger was so swollen it wasn’t worth it. So I left my hand bare.

My husband knew of a place where ring re sizing that was inexpensive and did a great job, but he couldn’t remember the exact place. When I called around, the places were not inexpensive. The rings sat.

I lost some weight, but the thought of putting the rings on hurt my knuckle thinking about it. When I thought about it, my mind dreamed about a new ring. After all, I was as different on the inside as I was on the outside. Most of all, God changed and healed me. I realized, like every woman on Earth, I was worthy.

And I felt one day I’d have a ring to reflect His love for me.

In January my husband and I went on a cruise to celebrate our belated anniversary. While browsing the ship’s store, I noticed a jewelry sale. He encouraged me to take a look. The rings were sparkly and big, most too showy for me.

But one stood out. Every time light hit the yellow topaz, beautiful colors showed off the angles. Not long ago someone prayed with me and let me know that was how God saw me. A source of His light. Lots of color. My presence, because of Christ, would light dark places. I believe that prayer, and that ring got a hold of me. To add, the diamonds totaled 14. The main gem made a total of 15. Seemed a great gift for the 15th anniversary.

This is now my wedding ring. It’s not traditional but it is a perfect reminder of how far our marriage has come, how much God has done through both of us. I love this ring. I finally feel worthy to wear something bigger and sparkly. I am a woman, and I’m God’s  masterpiece. This is God’s definition for all females. We are all worthy to Him. All. Even you!

But wait, God wasn’t done. A month later I participated in a study called the Esther experience. One of the meetings took us through Esther’s wedding. As a token to remember the event and the significance for us as God’s daughters, we received a simple silver band. It’s as basic as you can get where the ends aren’t even together. I can re-size that band all on my own, thank you. I’m just as worthy to wear that mass band all of us received that night as the one on the cruise ship.

To celebrate the journey, this is what I do: wear the gold wedding ring on my left, and the simple silver band on my right. The left represents how God views me and that this was a gift from my husband. The right represents how simple His love is, yet how deep. My right hand is my dominant hand, so when I wear it, I remember Jesus is my everything.

I have a feeling someone is reading this who feels like junk and has maybe even uttered something like I did years ago that as long as I’m not getting hit by a man, that’s enough. I’m not saying demand gifts and prizes all the time, but please realize you have worth. When you were created God chose you last not because you were an afterthought, but because He wanted to show you off.

You are a masterpiece.

You are a gem.

Never forget.

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So Simple We Miss It

Posted by Julie on September 6, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Children get it, don’t they? Where we  need theories and proof kids just know. Faith like a child is something adults should aspire to. I do!

I was sharing a lesson with early elementary age girls and the topic was peace. Simply put, peace is the absence of worry. I explained that worry is not from God. When they start thinking about what if’s they should stop and remember the source. One girl raised her hand and said, “I know—if I start to worry I know it’s the devil and I just say ‘Jesus, throw him out!”

I love it. It’s truth so simple we miss it.

Are you able to do like my pint-size friend? When the worries come can you proclaim in Jesus’ name that the worries and their source are not welcome?

I challenge you to take it a step further.

I know for me the chain usually goes from worry, to fear of failure, then feeling like a failure. That’s the strategy of the devil and it doesn’t change because we keep falling for it. His end goal is to make you feel defeated. 

Look around.

Too many of us are falling for that lie.

So when that cycle starts with worry, start proclaiming.

Worry is not welcome, in Jesus’ name.

The source of that worry is not welcome, in Jesus’ name.

I am not defeated, in Jesus’ name.

The real name of the devil (and he does not want you to know this let alone proclaim it) is the defeated one.

Get out of here true defeated one, in Jesus’ name.

It’s that simple.

Don’t miss it.



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