Faith-filled Reading

Faith-filled Reading

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)


Do you enjoy reading?  Do your kids enjoy reading?  If you said yes, to either of these then I have some great resources for you.

If you enjoy reading but do not have kids, jump down to Books for Adults.

If you enjoy reading and have kids, go to Faith-fill Reading Program for Kids and then read on to Books for Adults.

Faith-filled Reading Program for Kids

This summer I learned about an awesome reading program for kids.  Of course, there are a ton of great reading programs, but what set this one apart from the others is that it is geared toward building the faith of our kids. How great is that!

It encourages children to:

  • Read books on their level that contain Biblical wisdom.
  • Memorize scriptures.
  • Apply Biblical wisdom to everyday life.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you about it now…well,  because, unlike other reading programs, this one does not end until August 31.  So, there is still time for your kids to jump in and participate.

Anytime we can encourage our children to memorize scripture and learn how to apply it to real life is an opportunity we don’t want to miss.


Our oldest daughter with the two books she chose after finishing her faith-filled reading program. She has enjoyed digging in them.

What do you need:

All you have to do is either download the reading journal or pick up a free copy at your local Lifeway store. (I would recommend calling the store to make sure they still have copies on hand.)

Your child needs to read 6 books. There is a recommended reading list in the reading journal or they can choose their own based on their reading level.

Your child will need to memorize the 6 Bible verses in the Bible journal.

Every time they finish a book, they need to fill out one of the journal pages, which asks a question about a character in the book and the Bible verse on that page.

Once they’ve completed the journal, simply take it to the nearest store. Upon turning in the completed journal, your child will receive two free books. One book from a list of 6 different books and either a devotional book or Bible.


Adult Books

So, of course, I can’t talk about reading without sharing some books that I’ve read recently or want to read. I will read any genre so what I’m sharing below is a sampling of a few books that will challenge your faith and/or have faith intertwined in the story lines.  Because, let’s be honest, a book lovers wish list can NEVER be too long!

Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage by Gary Thomas



A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion) Book 1





Face to Face with Jesus





The 20 Hardest Questions Every Mom Faces: Praying Your Way to Realistic, Biblical Answers 

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Against the Tide

Two Little Old Ladies

Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships


Who’s Using You? Making Yourself Available for God’s Use

What is on your book list or what have you enjoyed reading?


Marriage God’s Way {Book Review}

Marriage God’s Way {Book Review}

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J


I’ll never forget the first book I read about marriage. I’m sure this old book was actually wonderful. But as a newly engaged college girl, I cried through the entire thing. I felt the author described a woman I could never measure up to. I wasn’t sure I wanted to measure up to her, either.

When I was growing up, young women were encouraged to speak their minds and develop independence and leadership skills. This book told me that the only way to be a godly wife was to basically shut down every “natural instinct” I had. Suddenly my expressive personality was a sin. My independent spirit was insubordinate. What’s worse, I felt that I somehow wasn’t “womanly” enough because I didn’t fit the image of the tidy, quiet housewife. This was salt on the wounds of all my insecurities.

God Calls Women to be Submissive

Although I resisted the idea of being a submissive wife, I knew that God called women to be submissive to their husbands. Scripture gives this instruction multiple times (Ephesians 5:22-24), but I struggled to understand what that really meant.


What did a verse like this mean for a girl like me? How would our marriage work with my personality more geared toward leadership, and my husband more content to go along? These verses were just because of cultural practices, right? After all, men and women are equal. The message of our culture was so ingrained in my mindset. It was very hard for me to accept and understand scriptures about what a Christian marriage should look like.

What Submission Is and Isn’t

In our culture, to submit means you are less than, weak, and taken advantage of. But perhaps we’ve mixed up “submission” with “enslavement.” Maybe submission doesn’t mean what the world thinks it means. Maybe God knew what he was doing when he designed marriage to be one loving husband leading his one submissive wife toward Christ. And, just maybe, our submission as wives isn’t an act of fear and reverence for our husband, but instead a beautiful way of honoring our God.

“A husband is to love and cherish his wife not because she is perfect, or because she treats him the way he wants to be treated. A husband loves and cherishes his wife because he loves Christ. Likewise, a wife submits to her husband not because he is a wonderful spiritual leader, or because he loves her the way she wants to be loved. A wife submits to her husband because she wants to submit to Christ.  A husband’s love and a wife’s submission is not a test of their obedience to their spouses. It is a test of their obedience to the Lord…

There will be times when a husband does not want to love his wife and a wife does not want to submit to her husband. In those moments husbands and wives can tell themselves: ‘I am doing this out of my love for Christ. I am submitting to the Lord, because of what He has done for me.’ ” – Scott LaPierre 

A New Understanding of Submission

Recently, I had the opportunity to read Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. (I received a free copy of it in order to write this review and am sharing my unbiased thoughts about it.) I’m truly grateful the Lord brought this book into my hands. I have a much clearer understanding of what it means to be a submissive wife. I have also discovered the joy that comes in seeking God’s design. Can you believe that after hearing the mindset I was coming from? I can’t! Perhaps you’re like me, and you have wrestled with the scriptures instructing wives to be submissive. If so, I encourage you to take a look at Marriage God’s Way. Read what Scott has to say about marriage. I’ve only barely touched on the convictions that are now on my heart!


In his book, LaPierre explains these scriptures very clearly. Throughout the text, he uses many examples to prove how great God’s design for marriage is. His book is packed full of scripture, explanations, and personal life experiences to show how a godly marriage should look. He takes the time to make a full circle around issues, looking at them from many perspectives. The book speaks directly to both wives and husbands, jumping back and forth so that both understand how scriptures apply.


Marriage God’s Way: A Foundational Book for Marriage

I’ve talked specifically about how this book changed my perspective of submission, but this book looks at so much more! It’s not the typical marriage book of date ideas and ways to communicate better. That type of book certainly has its place in a healthy marriage. However, those concepts can’t stand without a solid foundation. Marriage God’s Way is a foundational book for your marriage because it purely centers on what God’s word says about marriage.

Scott might step on and bruise your toes, and your spouse’s toes as well. He has a very direct way of bringing into the open a message very counter to what our culture preaches. And that is why this book is so important! Marriage God’s Way would make a great bible study tool for you and your spouse to use together. A companion workbook is also available to go through after you read the book. I’m looking forward to checking out that in the future with my husband!


I hope you’ll consider reading Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. You can find it on Amazon in paperback or marriage-pindigital format. Click here to watch the book’s trailer. 


So That the World May Know – Ray Vander Laan Bible Study Giveaway

So That the World May Know – Ray Vander Laan Bible Study Giveaway

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Have you ever gone through a Bible study that just blew you away?  You came out with such a changed perspective, more love for God and his amazing gift, and a realization that God is just more awesome than you could have ever imagined?

Ray Vander Laan’s series of studies That the World May Know is like this for me!  Several years ago, our associate minister introduced us to this amazing video series and I highly recommend it.

It’s so much more than a Bible study

There are many great Bible studies out there, so what makes this study different?

What sets Ray Vander Laan’s series apart is that you don’t just pop the DVD in and watch him talk.  You pop the DVD in and then you set out on a Biblical adventure of exploring the text while exploring the Bible lands.  As a historian and Bible teacher who studied in Jerusalem, he helps us connect the Biblical principles of each Bible story to the cultural context by showing us the places where the events took place and explaining their significance.

What’s the Significance?

Have you ever read a Bible story and thought, “Why did they do that?” or “Why is that detail included?”  I have many times.

This is where Ray Vander Laan takes time to not only physically show you what these details would have looked like at the time but what they represented and what their significance in the Bible stories was. Understanding these details help us have a better understanding of how to apply these truths to our lives.

For example, understanding “the cup” that Jesus picked up and said, “Take this in remembrance of me” takes on a whole new meaning when you understand that that particular cup has a symbolic meaning too!  Jesus didn’t just pick up any cup.  You see every single cup taken during the Passover Seder signifies something.

In one of the DVD sessions in the “Path to the Cross” series, Ray Vander Laan explains the significance of each Passover cup and how the promises declared with each one impacts us as Christians taking communion today, as well as how they impacted the Israelites when God brought them out of Egypt.  Christ fulfilled these promises, and they are something we can cherish and remember now for encouragement until He returns!

The Path to the Cross

Last year as Easter approached, as many Christians do, I dug deeper into the Scriptures.  I wanted to understand more than I ever have before. Truly, all we need to understand is that we are all sinful and that Jesus sacrificed himself, taking all our sins upon him so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.  It’s really that simple.

What am I missing?

But so many times, I look at the days leading up to the Last Supper and think, “What am I not getting?  What would someone from the first century have noticed that I just can’t comprehend?”  Did the disciples sitting around that table, walking day in and day out with our Savior understand more of what was meant, even after the fact?  Jesus said they wouldn’t understand it all at the moment but later it would become clear.  We have the fortunate ability to look back and understand a little more than they did in the moment, but we miss what their cultural context made evident to them because that is not how we live.

As an answer to prayer, I stumbled across Ray Vander Laan’s video lessons called “The Path to the Cross,” which is volume eleven in the series called So That the World May Know. (It was on Amazon Prime!) This five-video lesson set blew my mind.  I look at the Last Supper in an entirely different way now.  Not only did he discuss the last supper but the Mount of Olives, which is very different than how I pictured it, and brought to life the absolute understanding and anguish that those hours and days before the crucifixion held.  Not only that but because Ray Vander Laan teaches these studies in the places or as close to the places where the stories actually took place, the visuals bring the Bible truths to life in ways you’ve never experienced before.

Win the “Path to the Cross” DVD study and the Discovery Guide

Thanks to a donation by Zondervan you can enter to win this study as well as another!

Path to the Cross Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win “A Path to the Cross”

The Death and Resurrection of the Messiah

I purchased this “Death and Resurrection of the Messiah” DVD and Discovery Guide from Zondervan a few weeks ago and have been excited to go through it.  It contains ten lessons and can be used for groups or individuals.  We enjoy watching them as a family.  I love how my kids can see where these stories happened and understand that these places still exist today!

Previously, I’ve only watched the DVDs and had short discussions with our bible class or our small group.  This time I’m actually going through the discovery guide as well, and let me tell you, it is great!  I’m loving digging deeper with the discovery guide…taking time to soak in the lesson, chew on it a bit, and then enjoy it more.

When Storms Come

The first video lesson in this volume, “When Storms Come,” is only about sixteen minutes long.  Enjoy it and be encouraged by seeing this story we’ve heard so often in a new way.  Then enter to win it as well!

Win Ray Vander Laan’s “Death and Resurrection of the Messiah” DVD study and the Discovery Guide

Enter for your chance to win “Death and Resurrection of the Messiah” DVD study and the Discovery Guide
Messiah and the Resurrection

Have you seen any Ray Vander Laan lessons before?

 What are your favorites?  


The Homeschooling Book List You Need to Read

The Homeschooling Book List You Need to Read

Lana W

Lana W

I’m Lana, a native Oklahoman. Married 17 years to the first boy I ever dated. Mama to two amazing, darling girls. I’m a coffee-drinking, book-reading, home-educating night owl! An accountant in my life B.C. (Before Children), my dream job would be getting paid to read all day.And if you’re into Meyers-Briggs personality tests, I’m an ISTJ. Most important of all, I’m a follower of Christ.
Lana W


Thinking about Homeschooling?

Maybe your child is not yet old enough for school, but the idea of homeschooling intrigues you.

Maybe the public schools aren’t meeting your school-age child’s educational needs.

Or maybe your child is being bullied.

Perhaps private school isn’t financially possible, and yet you want a Christian education for your child.

Or perhaps, you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you, calling you to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

homeschooling book list

Whatever your reason for considering home education, I encourage you to read as many books on the subject as possible. You’ll learn about the various educational philosophies, from unschooling to classical and everything in between.

When my oldest child was about three, my husband and I decided to learn more about homeschooling. So I began reading everything I could find about homeschooling. With each book I read, I felt more convicted that home education was right for our family. I also gained confidence in my ability to educate my daughter.

Over the next couple of years before we officially began homeschooling, I estimate that I read at least three dozen books related to homeschooling. Although I found nuggets of valuable information in each book I read, a few stood out to me and quickly became my favorites.

So if you’re considering home education, I recommend these books as a starting point:

When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

The author’s premise is that God calls Christians–even commands, perhaps–to educate their children at home. Although I disagree with his assertion that all Christians should home school, I appreciate the clear reasoning Sproul uses to advocate for home education. For those who feel God’s calling in their lives to home school, this book will help cement that decision. For those who might have some reservations about the parent’s role in education, this book may help convince you that the public school system hinders parents from instilling biblical values in their children. Sproul quotes John Milton, saying, “The end of learning is…to know God aright, and out of that knowledge, to love Him, to imitate Him, to be like Him.”

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto

On the other side of the spectrum from Sproul is Gatto’s book. Gatto was an award-winning, highly respected public school teacher. Yet he came to the conclusion that the public school does not truly educate children or teach them to be independent thinkers. Rather, it indoctrinates them to be obedient cogs in a machine. This book will open your eyes to the messages public schools send our children–don’t be different than your peers, don’t question, don’t care about anything more than passing the next test. Again, while you may not agree with the author’s assertions, it is a worthwhile, insightful read about the problems of the public school system.

For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

This book is a good introduction to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education, which is rooted in the belief that education begins at home. Charlotte Mason encouraged parents to find joy in spending time with their children, respecting them as unique individuals with opinions and ideas.To this end, Macaulay invites parents to provide a rich environment for learning and finding joy in the education process.

Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

What struck me most about this book was how family-oriented home education could be.  Throughout this book, the authors focus on strengthening the relationships between parents and children, as well as sibling relationships. This book is a good blend of the “bigger picture” of home education, which is discipleship, and practical tips, tricks, and methods. One of my favorite aspects of this book is how the Clarksons share how they have worked to cultivate a warm, inviting home where education isn’t relegated to one specific room. They have set up small areas throughout their home to encourage children to discover, investigate, read, and learn no matter where they are.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

According to the classical model of education, there are three general stages of learning. In the elementary grammar stage, children readily and easily absorb and memorize information. During the middle school logic stage, children begin to think more analytically. The final stage is the high school rhetoric stage, when students begin to articulately express and defend their own ideas. Understanding these stages helps a parent tailor their child’s education based on the child’s stage of development. The authors also outline a four-year history cycle and offer curriculum suggestions for all stages.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

This book is a relative newcomer to the homeschool scene, but it is an instant classic. As homeschooling mothers, it is easy to get bogged down in the daily checklist of “getting school done.” We tend to let worry and anxiety override our desire to have a peaceful, enjoyable home education experience. Mackenzie reminds homeschooling parents that we must find our own rest in Christ before we can pass that on to our children. This book is a great mix of inspirational and practical advice and one I plan to revisit each year.


102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Each Child’s Learning Style by Cathy Duffy

Once you’ve decided to homeschool, how do you decide what curriculum to use? Cathy Duffy explains the four types of learning styles and how to identify which learning style fits your child. She also helps the parent identify which style of teaching fits their personality. In my opinion, this section alone makes the book worth reading. Duffy reviews 102 curricula of various subjects, noting which learning styles are most compatible. (For example, a kinesthetic learner will do better with hands-on project-based learning. A visual learner might prefer a workbook or textbook-based option.) The book also notes whether the curriculum is religious or secular, the prep time involved, and whether the material is teacher-intensive or more independent. As a newbie to homeschooling, I found her advice invaluable. Even today, as a seasoned homeschooler, I refer back to her reviews frequently!

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

The title for this book is based on Proverbs 16:24: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” From the idea that some of childhood’s fondest memories are of books, Hunt provides lists of the best quality children’s literature. In this book you will find suggestions for all ages, from babies to preteens. (A sequel, Honey for a Teen’s Heart, provides recommended reading for older children.) The author focuses on the need for parents to provide an environment that promotes reading and encourages family read-alouds. You won’t find any books with objectionable content listed here; the author chooses both enduring classics and more recent publications but all have a common theme of wholesome entertainment.

homeschooling book list

If you’re considering home education, I hope you will research and determine if homeschooling is right for your family. While this list isn’t an exhaustive list of the numerous resources available, it should get you started and keep you busy reading for a while. May God bless you as you seek to provide the best education for your child!

Do you have a favorite homeschooling book you’d recommend? I’d love to hear which books have impacted your decision to homeschool!

Gifts from God

Gifts from God

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

As children we eagerly awaited Christmas morning, so we could tear our presents open and see the marvelous gifts that had been hidden under the tree.

As adults, do we still eagerly await our chance to open gifts?  Do we get excited to see what God has in store for us?  God is THE BEST GIFT GIVER of all he doesn’t need to wait until Christmas to bestow gifts to your soul.  He does it daily. Sometimes these gifts come wrapped in packages that we might not want to open.  Other times, we become like children at Christmas time unable to wait any longer until we can open those most wanted gifts.

Our Creating a Great Day team came together and created a special gift for you.  It’s a gift that we pray will open your hearts to the many wonderful gifts God may have in store for you or has already blessed you with.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but a wonderful way to dig into God’s Word for 5 minutes a day and refresh your mind, spirit, and soul to what the day holds.

Every day is a gift filled with amazing possibilities to grow and glorify God!  Our prayer is that you will not miss the gifts that aren’t neatly wrapped and placed under the tree but instead will openly welcome whatever gifts God is bringing your way this year.

So…we are gifting you a special 5 minute devotional Ebook that will help you focus on God’s great gifts!


In the “Gifts from God: A 5 minute devo book”, you will be encouraged with:

  • a verse
  • a short devo thought around the verse
  • a prayer
  • a place to journal your thoughts and prayers
  • a space for Bible Journaling and
  • Bible verse memory cards

Check out the devos contained within the FREE Ebook:

  • The Gift of Ambassadorship by April Everhart
  • The Gift of Being Chosen by Kristin Jesch
  • The Gift of Immanuel by Kristi Finefrock
  • The Gift of Music by Toni Dennis
  • The Gift of Newness by Melissa Williams
  • The Gift of Refuge by Kristin Jesch
  • The Gift of Self-Confidence by Laura Peoples
  • The Gift of Trials by Kristi Finefrock
  • The Gift of Waiting by Kristi Finefrock
  • The Gift of Weakness by Melissa Williams

This is a great devotional to use now so you can keep unwrapping awesome gifts even after Christmas Day is over


use it to kick off your New Year!


Get your FREE Gifts from God ebook now!
(If you are subscribe to our Creating a Great Day Newsletter, check your inbox.  Your gift is there waiting for you!)

52-Week Bible Story Devotional Review

52-Week Bible Story Devotional Review

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

A Unique Devotional for Kids

I had the privilege of receiving the 52-Week Bible Story Devotional by The Big Picture Interactive to review.  I found this book to be very interesting in a few different ways.  The first and most obvious is that with this devotional the reader has the option to download an app to enhance the experience.  The second is that I’ve not experienced a devotional for children set up to last for an entire year.

First off, I will say that my children thoroughly enjoy this book.  They think the technology aspect is really cool and really love the 3-D picture that pops up when using the app with the photos.  Unfortunately we were never able to scan the QR code and watch the video.  The code would scan and a page would open but a video would never start playing.  It seemed to be stuck in a permanent buffer.  In looking at the app reviews, other users had the same trouble.  An additional concern is that the app is a very large file and takes quite a while to download, even on WiFi.  For me it took around forty-five minutes to download.  The concept is excellent, and I hope they keep working on improvements with the app until it’s just right!

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Kid-Friendly Stories

As for the actual stories, they are written in a kid-friendly way that kept my children interested the whole time.  If your children cannot read, or if you can’t read with them, the app will do it for you.  For my family that wasn’t something I needed since we do devo time all together, but sometimes it is nice for kids to hear the story from someone else.  Based on the stories I have read to date, the devotionals are sound in doctrine.  Throughout the story, the verses are mentioned so that you can find the actual words of God in the Bible with your children, which further solidifies the story. I love that!

More than Just a Story to Read

After you’ve read the story and looked at the awesome 3-D photo with the app, there is a page full of awesome bonus stuff. I call it bonus stuff because no other children’s bible story book that we own has this much to offer after the story.  In this devo it offers more verses to read to drive home various points in the story.  The book includes a QR code which should lead to a video.  There’s also a little blurb that points the story to Jesus and how it impacts the story of Christ.  On the next page there’s a challenge to the family on ways to remember this story and the love of Christ throughout the week.  It asks some simple, yet thought-provoking questions and finishes with a prayer.


Content for the Oldest to the Youngest

I have so enjoyed all of the little details of this devotional.  My children have enjoyed it as well.  The questions allow us to come together in a place where no one person has a better chance of answering a question than another, which is really helpful in my home where competition runs high!  There is just the right amount of content and interesting pictures for my youngest ones but plenty of “meat” for my oldest child to further read and learn from.  I really do recommend this devo, even with the app issues.  This book has been a favorite in our home and will continue to be for years to come!


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