Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu {book review}


Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu {book review}

The title and cover of this book are so perfect, aren’t they? Inviting and festive, focused on the Christ-Child.

About the Book: 

How to focus on Christ during Advent

Most Christians agree that Christmas is all about Jesus, yet most of us spend little time preparing our hearts to celebrate Him. Why is this? Partly because we don’t know how.

In Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, Asheritah Ciuciu leads readers through the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love). Each week:

  • Begins with an interactive family devotional that equips readers to celebrate Advent together
  • Offers five daily reflections that focus on that week’s name of Jesus
  • Includes suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service projects

This devotional can be used by readers in their own personal worship times or as a tool to engage in family worship during the busy holiday season. Either way, participants will gain a greater sense of awe and wonder at who Jesus is.

By focusing on the person and character of Jesus throughout the Advent season, readers will prepare their hearts so that when they admire the live nativity, sit in the candlelight service, or wake up on Christian morning, they can join the faithful who sing from the bottom of their hearts, “O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”

My Reaction:

I really wanted to love this book. I wanted it to ‘wow’ me, to teach me something I didn’t already know. But it didn’t, and I was disappointed. I still love the cover and the theme, but the wow factor was not there.

And I think I know why.

The intended use for Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is as a daily devotional for the four weeks of advent celebrated in a family group, with Bible readings and discussion and activities. Each day presents a challenge, prayer and Bible passages for further study.

The book covers a different theme every week in addition to five names of Jesus. It provides a repetitive pattern for worship rather than presenting the person of Christ. Perhaps I was looking for something other than what is offered. It is full of information and suggestions unrelated to the names of Jesus. I didn’t get the connection.

I would love to use the book with a group of young children and see where it takes them. I would love to study the names of Jesus in more depth. I would love to be more familiar with the names and what they say about His person. These are the desires I had before reading the book.

Next year I would like to take one name per week, rather than a different one every day. Maybe use the four weeks over a four year period and go deeper.

The author asked on social media what our favorite name of Jesus is? Mine is Immanuel, God with us. When I truly consider that God’s Son left His Father in heaven to dwell among us, I lose sight of the holiday we celebrate in December because so much of what we do has nothing to do with Immanuel.

The more I ponder who Jesus was in the flesh, and the lack of response in most of mankind, the less need I see for the celebration of advent. The focus shifts to His death and resurrection, and the coming events when He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

I recommend this book to all readers interested in going deeper during the season celebrating Christ’s birth. My intent is not to discourage you from using this book, but in providing further food for thought in its use.

My Rating:  3 stars

I received my copy of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus from Moody Press in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I also wish to note that my theology is in line with the author’s, if Cedarville and Clarks Summit still agree on the authority of the Bible.

For more reviews, check out the author’s post as well as Goodreads’ reviews of the book. This review is also posted on the Moody Press website and on Christianbook.com.

ASHERITAH CIUCIU is an author, speaker, and blogger. She grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and studied English and Women’s Ministry at Cedarville University in Ohio.

Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares personal stories and practical tips on http://www.OneThingAlone.com. She’s also a regular contributor to FortheFamily.org and Ungrind.com.

Asheritah is married to Flaviu and together they raise their spunky children in northeast Ohio.

Find out more about Asheritah Ciuciu by following her website, One Thing Alone: finding joy in Jesus or simply read her About page. Or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for encouragement in your daily walk. Follow on Goodreads to keep up with this author’s newest books.

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Gospel-Centered Mom by Brooke McGlothlin {Book Review}


About Gospel-Centered Mom

It’s Time to Stop Trying to Be the Perfect Mom

You long to be the mom your kids need, but often you’re convinced you come up short. The label “not enough” seems to be stamped across everything you do—and yet parenting is the one thing you want most to get right.

What if the solution is simply to embrace the truth that you are not enough—but God is?

In Gospel-Centered Mom Brooke McGlothlin reveals how our entire approach to motherhood shifts when we stop chasing our vision of a perfect family and start full-out pursuing God. With refreshing candor, Brooke examines the daunting task of raising children in the light of God’s Word and challenges you to:

· embrace your moment-by-moment need for Jesus
· release the stress of believing everything is your responsibility
· learn to fight for rather than against your child
· believe that the story God is writing with your life is worth the sacrifice
· practice the daily disciplines that lead to Gospel-centered parenting

As you learn to anchor your life in the Gospel, you’ll find increased freedom, purpose, and joy in motherhood. And you’ll discover that Jesus is more than capable of meeting every need, for your children and for you.

My Reaction:  This book surprised me. As the title suggests, it is written for mothers. Not for the position, but for the person. Since my active mothering days are behind me, I didn’t expect to learn so much from the book. Instead I found myself learning Biblical truths and how I can change to become more Gospel centered as a person. This book isn’t just for moms.

Here are some examples from the book:
‘If what I feel and what the Bible says is true are two different things,I’m wrong.’  She goes on to tell how Bible truth can change ME.

Writing about emotions: ‘My emotions are often based on what I see around me, and I’m often tempted to make decisions, form opinions, and ruin perfectly good nights based on emotions alone. They have tricked me and betrayed me over and over when I give them the place of priority.’

‘When I removed all the emotions and stress, focusing instead on who I knew God to be, the decision was quite simple.’ How I wish I’d known this decades ago!

‘Over time His Word becomes the truest truth we know, and IT is what comes out when we’re pressed.’

This book is well worth the read, maybe two or three reads. I highly recommend it for all women. What kids really need isn’t the perfect mom with the perfect wardrobe or a particular skill-set, but rather one who is centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible. This book is great for group study and discussion.

I received my copy of Gospel Centered Mom from BloggingForBooks in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.

My Rating:  I gave this book a 4-star rating in my Goodreads review. This review is also found on Christianbook.com and Blogging for Books.

About the Author:  

Brooke McGlothlin received her B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech (1999) and her Masters in Counseling from Liberty University (2003). She served for over 14 years as Director of Clinical Services in local Pregnancy Care ministry before making the best choice of her life—staying home with her boys. Brooke uses her ministry experience to reach women through writing and speaking, and leads them in a vibrant relationship with Christ, despite the surprises and challenges of life.

She’s the author of the best-selling eBooks, Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most, and creator of the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge.

In 2010, Brooke co-founded Raising Boys Media. It’s flagship blog, The MOB Society, is written FOR moms of boys, BY moms of boys, and its two new sites, Boy Dads (In the Trenches of Fatherhood), and Raising Hearty Boys (Keeping them Fit and Fed) are quickly making it THE online space for all things boy.

Brooke currently resides in the mountains of Southwest Virginia with her husband—the man she’s had a crush on since the 3rd grade—their two sons, and two Labs, Toby and Siri. She enjoys playing hard with her boys, searching for beauty through photography, and serving on the Board of Directors for Blue Ridge Women’s Center, a local Pregnancy Care Ministry.

In the fall, she morphs into a slightly different person. Most Saturdays you can find her jumping around the room and screaming at the television as she watches her beloved Virginia Tech Hokies play football.

Learn more about Brooke McGlothln and her ministry to mothers on her website and on the MOB Society website. Find out more about her books by following her on Goodreads. Follow her Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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Daily Bible Reading {7/312}


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