Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Heidelberg Catechism

*I received a review copy of this book from Banner of Truth in exchange for my review.

When I received the opportunity to review this book I was elated. As someone who really wants to catechize my children I found this to be a great option. I've already started though my wife informs me that I should wait until my seven-month old son is a bit older. :)

The book itself is small which makes teaching from easy. The print is great making for an easy-on-the-eyes read. Also, the pages are designed to be used often; thick and well-weighted.

The leather-softcover has a great feel and induces a thought of what those in the 1500's may have felt holding their copy of this catechism.

I highly recommend this little book for those wanting a long-lasting copy for both study and teaching The Heidelberg Catechism.

The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible (NKJV); Phil & Al Robertson Executive Editors

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Inspired by the show Duck Dynasty, Phil and Al Robertson have placed some of the life lessons they have learned in this Bible.

Inserted at key points are comments titled Set Your Sights. Each one of these comments focuses on one of the following areas: faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom.

For example, between the books of Jonah and Micah is one on family titled Anger. In this section Phil Robertson gives testimony of how anger controlled his actions.

However, he learned that being angry and be controlled by anger are two different things.

God is angry with evil yet does not sin. Thus, there is a way to be angry and not sin. As the reader continues in the comment it is revealed that love is the key to overcoming improper anger. This is just one example of the lessons that are taught in this Bible.

Overall the Bible is decent with the comments mentioned above. It is not a study Bible, has no columnar references, and has no concordance. The typeface is good for reading, the weight is not too heavy, and the Set Your Sights comments are not distracting. A good resources for teaching and perhaps a devotional or two, but those wanted a good study Bible should seek elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Romantic Rationalist

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for my honest review.

I am a huge C.S. Lewis fan. I first read his books as a teenager and loved his profound, but simple approach to understanding some very difficult Christian teachings.

The Romantic Rationalist is a series of, what I will call essays, on beliefs held by C. S. Lewis on a few Biblical matters. These essays aim to give the reader a glimpse into what Lewis believed, how he thought, and how to gain from Lewis' approach to Scripture.

For example, Lewis liked to read Scripture as a literary work and less as theology. While he understood it as a work of theology he saw the literary masterpiece that it is. Couple this with his hesitation to enter the realm of the theologian. He was, after all, a literature professor and a fine one at that.

I also appreciate where the essayist makes note(s) of where he/she differs in beliefs from Lewis. This gives credence to the understanding that Lewis viewed himself as a storyteller and imagination builder. Lewis was not out to debate theological differences so much as he wanted the common man to understand the wonders that are God. As such his theology was not completely worked out in some areas; something he admitted.

Yet, this does not mean that we cannot learn from his viewpoints; the goal of this book. As each section unfolds, the reader sees more and more just how rational, but idealist, Lewis was. In this respect the book is marvelous and is a great resource for those who a deeper appreciation for Lewis' views on God, the Bible, and how things ought to be.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary; General Editor: Ronald F. Youngblood

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Having used an older edition of Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (NIBD) I was curious to see how the updated edition fared.

The first thing I noticed was the wonderful photos and maps that were used. They are great quality and color which makes certain Bible scenes come alive.

The second thing was the detailed work of the definition. Each definition was given some weight based on its importance.

For example, the information on a manager is two paragraphs long. The explanation for the Gospel of Mark is just over two pages long. I like this as it allows for a greater understanding of what really needs to be understood.

The third thing is the weight of the book itself. It is quite heavy but when you see the nature of the work therein it is easy to see why. While not something that ideal for devotional time it is excellent for deep Bible study.

The fourth thing is that it has been cross-referenced to major translations. Thus it is not a KJV only or NIV only dictionary. It does really well to note subtle changes in wording throughout various Bible translations.

Overall this update is very nice improvement over its former edition and well worth consideration for those looking for a nice Bible dictionary.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Christian Lover by Michael A.G. Haykin with Victoria J. Haykin

*I received this book from Reformation Trust in exchange for my honest review.

This book is a collection of letters written by various Christians starting with Martin Luther and ending in the mid 1940's. It is an open look into how marriage influence some great couples and how they viewed their marriage from God.

Each letter, with its unique style, causes an appreciation of marriage that has a lasting impact. Reading Martin Luther, for example, shows how much the reformer valued and loved his a man. He was a great giant of the faith, yet was humbled by the love of his wife.

This is but a small taste of the letters contained in this book. Others were written in such beautiful language that the poetic genius is to be well appreciated.

I recommend that this book be read by couples to encourage, strengthen, and impassion their marriage. It will challenge men to be better husbands and women to be better wives.

For the men, I found myself thinking, "do I love my wife in this way?". To see great men of the past love their wives so deeply and intimately stirred within me the desire to have the same relationship with my wife. I want to be able to write such words that come from a life of love. Words that have backing; words that have guts.

For the women, it was a challenge to live so that letters could be written to them because their husbands appreciate and love them dearly. A man should not have a hard time expressing himself to his wife when he loves her with all his being. A wife that loves her husband in the same way will allow him to be open and draw forth the expression.

Once again, I recommend this book to all married couples. It will be worth your while to read together and then make your own letters of love.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The NKJV Study Bible

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

When I saw that I had the opportunity to review this Bible I jumped at the chance. I owned the previous edition of this Bible and wanted to see the updates that were made. There are some great changes and positives about this Bible.

First, the colors are magnificent. They are vibrant, detailed, and not grainy at all. I found myself starring at them a lot. However, they were not so distracting that I lost my place while reading.

Another positive is the location of the notes. They are at the bottom which allows the text to flow with minimal interruption. The same goes for the word study notes which are mostly at the bottom as well. Both the text and study notes were in a great font type. This allowed for reading without straining.

What did surprise me as another positive was the introduction to each book. I chose Romans and really benefited from the introduction and book outline. It setup for a great read of Romans.

The only drawback that I can see is the weight. Coming it at just over four pounds makes this a heavy study Bible. This should not pose a problem for study on a table or a desk. It will probably pose a problem for handheld reading.

Thus, I give this Bible a 4.5 star rating and suggest that if you are looking for a new study Bible and favor the New King James Version consider this Bible as a great option.

365 Pocket Prayer for Mothers

*I received this complimentary copy from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

Before I get too far I must first say that I am not a mother; I am a father. However, I was really curious about this little book. As someone who enjoys prayer books (Book of Common Prayer, Celtic Prayers, etc) I really wanted to see what this book had to offer.

The first thing I noticed was the heart of prayers. They were deep, emotional, honest, but potent. I was greatly surprised by some of things that were written. I would not have thought to pray like that.

For example, one prayer was how the child challenged the mother to be more joyful. This was inspired by giggles. Giggles! Who would have thought that giggles would cause a longing to be joyful?

Another example was the mother recalling her child walking very wobbly and how she longed to be "caught" by God when she struggled to walk in her life.Those are just two examples of some very powerful prayers that were inspired from ordinary childhood events.

I would highly recommend that mothers get this little book to read when they have the chance. It should encourage you as a mother, challenge you to enjoy those "moments", and to thank God that you are a mom.

P.S. I was saddened that there is not a 365 Prayers for Fathers...yet. If it is anything like this book it will be a great book for any father.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Maxwell Leadership Bible (NIV)

*I received this complimentary copy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this honest review.

Let me begin by stating that I am a John Maxwell supporter. I thoroughly his books and teachings. His biblical approach to leadership is greatly needed in today's culture where many leaders are trying to build up themselves while stepping on those below them.

Having stated that, I was really looking forward to reviewing this Bible. I really wanted to see Maxwell comment on biblical passage as they related to leadership.

I chose the book of Ephesians and as I began to read the leadership undertones were quickly apparent. It first began with the introduction to the book of Ephesians.

The introduction sets up the reader for what the book's main points are and then points our sections on where leadership principles can be seen.

As the reader goes through the book, various comments point out leadership tactics and principles but also shows how an ineffective leader handled the situation.  The notes can be a bit heavy which can cause an interruption of reading but I found that they did not distract too much.

One section that I enjoy are the Profiles in Leadership. These give some background on a leader or leaders and give example of how they were effective/ineffective and lessons to learn from him/her/them, both positive and negative.

With that, the Bible itself is not too heavy, the print is decent, and the binding is solid. I will comment that the pages are thin and light which may cause some difficulty turning and some bleed-through of print on the other side. I did not find much of this but when I did it was annoying.

I still give this Bible a four-star rating and would encourage anyone in a leadership position to consider this resource.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Beside Bethesda by Joni Eareckson Tada

*I received this complimentary copy from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

This is not the easiest book to read. It is not difficult because of technical language or obscure references. Rather it is difficult because of the raw emotion and honesty that is felt throughout the pages.

Each page is written with the heart of a woman who desperately wanted to be healed from her paralysis. Joni Eareckson Tada pours her heart out in each word and by so doing, gives the reader hope because she has been in dark places emotionally and has come out healed.

Each day/chapter is built around her thoughts and then a Scripture or two that corresponds with her thought. She the concludes the chapter with a provoking thought at the end. This combination makes for a powerful devotional that stems from raw honestly and candor. It is books like these that should lead the world to a hope that Jesus offers, a hope that Tada knows intimately; a hope we all can know.