Tuesday, January 28, 2014

One God, One Plan, One Life

Max Lucado's "One God, One Plan, One Life" is a one year devotional that is devoted to helping guide the daily life of young adults. What I liked about this book is that each devotion is short, to the point, and easy to understand. Getting a teenager to sit down and read a lengthy devotion on a daily basis would take a small miracle, and Lucado seems to get that. These daily readings could be read in a few minutes, easily. While the messages are relatively short, Lucado makes the effort to tie in the message to the daily life of a young adult in a way that they can easily tie in to their life.

Each devotion consists of a verse from the Bible, then a short message about the principle/message/meaning of that verse, followed by a tie in to how this relates to daily life. I think that Lucado did a great job of reaching his target audience here, which I would consider to be teenagers and young adults. I would recommend this devotional as a daily reading for middle school through college aged young adults - I believe that this age group could all get something out of this, and it would be easy to fit into a busy daily routine. Literally, it takes about three minutes to read the day's devotion.

The one thing I did not like about this devotional is that the devotions are dated, so it begins with a devotion for January 1. I always feel like if I miss a day of reading, I'm missing something when the devotions are dated, and it's one of my biggest pet peeves. I would have preferred that they were just labeled, "day one, day two, etc.", but other than that I think this is a great book, and would highly recommend it to those with young adults in their home. It could even be read together, with mom or dad over breakfast, or before school.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookSneeze.com's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Devotions for Women

Do you know a busy woman who could use a daily reminder of God's peace? Then "The One Year Devotions for Women - Becoming a Woman at Peace" is just the ticket! Ann Spangler's devotional just for women uses the central theme of peace in the daily readings designed to help live a life of peacefulness. I'll be the first one to admit that my own life is filled with stress, anxiety, worry, and at times, fear. The gentle reminders of God's greatness, and faithbuilding devotions give me that gentle nudge that I need on a regular basis to live more at peace.

The devotions themselves offer wisdom straight from the Bible, using verses, events, and happenings within the Bible to comfort and inject peace into my daily life. I liked that these devotions weren't too lengthy. As something that I read daily, it really helps when the readings are straight to the point. These were easy to fit into my schedule regardless of what was going on that particular day.

This book is an entire year's worth of devotions, with each one only about one page in length. The devotion consists of a verse from the Bible, and then a short reading that ties into the verse that was quoted. Each devotion closes with a short prayer. This short devotional really felt like my quiet time to commune with God, and I really enjoyed that about it. The fact that it is a one year devotional, and that it has short readings means that you could realistically use it year after year as a daily reminder of living in God's wonderful peace.

I would definitely recommend this devotional. I thought it was a great addition to my daily schedule, and allowed me to feel comfort and peace even in the midst of a hectic schedule, and busy life. 5/5!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

The Jesus Bible

"The Jesus Bible" is a great way to get young adults interested in God's word. This Bible is a traditional NIV translation, which is easy to understand and read. What I really liked and thought was inviting about this Bible was the colorful in-text tools that appear frequently throughout the text. Sometimes it is hard to get focused on line after line of black and white text, and I think that adding some color really helps this Bible feel more inviting.

There are many study tools as well that help with the understanding of Biblical events as well as the time and place that these events take place. Bible verses are highlighted in small boxes of color throughout this Bible, which helps with understanding key verses in the Bible, and also encourages memorization. Chapter summaries at the beginning of each chapter help the reader get a feeling for the "who, what, when, where" of the upcoming reading. There are also many full page study tools that help explain concepts and principles laid out in the text. These pages are colorful, and use a verse from the reading and elaborates on it, and offers a prayer also related to the reading.

Also appearing in this Bible is the "Jesus Revealed" tool, which is a small box that appears within the text, revealing facts and important explanations of Jesus and events that occur that link Jesus and prophecy. This is an especially useful tool in understanding how the Old Testament and New Testament connect to each other, and I thought it was a really cool way to help readers understand this connection. This Bible is also a red-letter text, with Jesus' words appearing in red text.

I would give this Bible a 5/5. I loved all of the fun study tools and features that really helped me to gain a better understanding of Jesus in the Bible. I would highly recommend this book for middle school age young adults and up. 

Front Cover

Chapter Overview

"Live Like Jesus"

Upper right box is a featured verse
FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book from BookSneeze.com's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Friday, January 10, 2014

NIV Essentials Study Bible

The NIV Essentials Study Bible is a Bible that offers some of the most comprehensive study tools all in one place. The NIV Essentials Study Bible takes some of the best features from a variety of Bibles, such as the NIV Student Bible, NIV Archaeological Study Bible, The Great Rescue Bible, and the NIV Quest Study Bible. One of my favorite features of this Bible is the "People in Focus" tool. This tool appears in a half-page box throughout the Bible, focusing on a particular Biblical figure. What I really liked about this feature is that it focused on some not so widely known Biblical figures, such as Abiathar, Ahab, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel.

Another feature of this Bible that I thought was really helpful was the "Q & A" section. This is another small box that appears throughout the pages of this Bible, and offers answers to common questions that relate to the reading. Questions such as, why the Bible repeats material covered in other places, how God judged the Kings, how we can handle guilt, and whether it is wrong to be angry with God. These are placed perfectly within the pages of this Bible so that they tie in to the teachings perfectly, and it is easy to find the Biblical response to these questions. 

There are many, many other features in this Bible, such as maps, in depth chapter overviews at the beginning of each chapter, insights that offer helpful advice on handling particular situations (for example, the "Insight" in Job 6 discusses what not to say to a hurting person), extensive footnotes throughout the Bible, and "Reflect and Respond" sections that offer in depth analysis of events that occur.

Overall, I would give this Bible a 5/5. The amount of amazingly helpful tools that are packed into its pages makes it my new favorite Bible for studying God's word. I love all of the awesome ways that this Bible makes me find a whole new understanding of Biblical events and people. If you are a person who really wants to get more out of the Bible, this is definitely for you. Tons of explanations and analysis really help get a completely different experience from reading the Bible. Awesome.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookSneeze.com's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.