Sunday, November 25, 2018

Specialty Bible Review: Ancient-Modern Bible: NKJV

This Ancient-Modern Bible (NKJV) is filled with insights from people about the Bible text alongside the Scripture passages, in biographies, and in essays who are described in the Introduction as "readers and interpreters, students of the Word, worshipers of God". Readers will be able to read these insights from both people who are still alive and from others who have passed away. Each book of the Bible has an introduction to help understand who wrote the book, the original audience, date, purpose, and themes. There are also notes at the bottom of the pages that go into more detail about what other texts read. There is also a section in the back called "Art of the Church" which shows Biblical art from different centuries, as well as colored maps.

I found when reading the Bible books of Lamentations, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus that usually there was an insight next to the sections in Scripture I read (usually one to three insights per page). At first I thought every single portion of Scripture was going to be covered but then I noticed a small gap where some parts of the Scriptures were not commented on in the margins. I think there was a comment for most of the Scriptures I read.  Some of the people whose thoughts are shared I think can be considered scholars while others may be considered authors and/or thinkers.

Before I read this Bible I was kind of leery about reading quotes from others because to me they recently started to seem like opinions and might not always be right. My congregation leader teaches us we should be open to reading what other thinkers think so I felt better about it later. I read the article from N.T. Wright "What The Whole World Is Waiting For" and was glad to read about the new heaven and new earth that Isaiah prophesied. It seemed really Greek-focused in the places of this Bible I read but it may have been more Hebrew-focused in other places that I didn't come across.

I liked that there were two ribbon markers in the Bible, and that they were two different colors, because it helped me keep my place of where I read in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

I think this would be a great Bible for Christian teachers of the Word since they may be able to dig deeper into the insights that are given from the interpreters or use the insights as they are given in some ways in their sermons sometimes. It think it will also be a great Bible for people that like to know what other well-known Bible thinkers who have deeply studied the Word thought about different Scriptures.

My Review = 4 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Specialty Bible Review: Inspire: For Girls

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

This is a great Bible for girls to use if they want to color alongside the Scriptures. It uses the NLT translation. There is a coloring page related to each book of the Bible as they start, also beginning pages include insights to using this specialty Bible for journalizing and in other creative ways. There is a page that encourages readers to use a tip-in, which is a sheet of paper (any size), it can be added to the Bible with notes or drawings. There is also a prayer given that can be prayed before reading the Bible and questions you can ask when reading Scriptures. Something different (for me anyway) was the Topical Index is at the beginning instead of after the Scriptures. The goal of Bible translations is shared, which is to bring forth the content and meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts as accurately as possible to contemporary readers (page A19). There are words and pictures to color on these beginning pages, also. A 45-Day Shine Brightly for Jesus Reading Plan will benefit readers, which is a short list of numbers directing readers to the pages those plans are on. There is one ending section which is an Index of Designed Scripture Verses which give letters and pictures to color at the beginning sections of the Old and New Testaments.

I really enjoyed this coloring and journalizing Bible because it allowed me to be able to color in it and write notes about the Scriptures I read on some of the side margins. I wrote a note in the side margin on page 1135 while reading the book of Amos that "the LORD will restore the fallen kingdom/tent of David and will be restored to its former glory" (relating to Amos 9:11). I also wrote a note on page 1267 that "it was interesting to learn that Mark (the book of Mark) ended with 16:8 in ancient manuscripts and that later manuscripts have 1 or both endings" (the endings were listed on page 1268).

I found that colored pencils work the best with coloring in this Bible for me. I colored all pictures in the book of Amos with colored pencils. Gel pens are my second choice for coloring in this Bible since they didn't bleed through although I could see a lot of what I colored on the back side of the pages I colored. Markers bled through while coloring, which is what I thought they would do. I colored some pictures in the book of Mark with gel pens and one picture with markers. I found that the intro pages to the Old and New Testaments and each of the Bible books had the most images to color since a whole page was dedicated to coloring on those pages.

I think this is a really great Bible both for children and adults. Even though the cover looks like a girls' cover and it is marketed for girls, I think some boys might enjoy coloring some of the pictures and words, too, since some of the types of pictures used are the types I've seen in coloring books for both girls and boys. 

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Less Than Perfect by Ann Spangler

This book goes into detail in story format how some broken people in the Bible who had gone through hard times or even were not good examples at one time were used greatly by God. Each chapter focuses on one person and sometimes more than one person who was used by God even though they had gone through brokenness in their lives. There is a section at the end of each chapter about the Bible characters called "The Times", which explains what Bible verses their stories are in, and "The Takeaway" which lists the date range and where their story can be found in the Bible. It gives a recap of what times were like and goes deeper into the individual stories. Also, group / individual study questions are given to help what was previously read sink in better.

I liked that the stories in this book were told in ways that tried to put me into the minds of what the characters' lives were like better and what they could've done or said. I know that a lot of the story format stories may have been fictionalized because they were told in that format before the Bible verses recap, and group / individual study questions were given.  This book also helped me to realize that some of the stories in this book may have been described to me in the past and didn't actually happen the way or not very much like the way that they did.

I liked that not only was David's story told but the story of his sons was told also. It was also interesting to learn about Herod the Great's sons. I do not remember learning about any of these people at any other time so I'm glad that this book taught about them.

I also liked how both male and female examples were given, showing that God used the brokenness of both genders.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Coloring Book Review: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Illustrated by Julianne St. Clair

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read. This review is also for adults who enjoy coloring in coloring books.

This coloring book is for lovers of the fall season!  It will help people to enjoy autumn more when they color in it during the fall season and it will also help people to look forward to autumn when they are in another season. Bible verses are given in some places throughout the book which sometimes focus on the fall season theme and other verses are given that do not have a seasonal theme. There are also sayings from different people that focus on the fall theme and sayings without quotes or Scripture references; the letters of those sayings can often be colored or have a picture with them that can be colored.

There was some detailed drawings in this coloring book where a little color could be used and some drawings where a lot of color could be used like with a picture of a barn and a garden. That picture kind of curled up after I drew on it but I think it's because so much ink was used on the page.

This coloring book worked well with my gel pens, which is what I use sometimes to color in coloring books. The gel pens didn't bleed onto the pictures on the other side of the paper that I noticed. I also used two different types of markers that had both broad and fine tips. I used the fine tips with most of those markers but occasionally used the broad tips with some. What I found is that with one set of markers there was barely any ink that bled through onto the back side of the paper and with the other set all the colors I used bled through to the point where it doesn't look like that picture on the back of page is usable to be colored, and the ink can also be seen some on the next picture. That backside picture is one I wouldn't color anyway though. I also used colored pencils with one of the drawings I also colored with markers on. Those didn't bleed through as I think mostly colored pencils don't on most coloring paper. So, I would say that the paper is medium heavy for my coloring needs.

I love the variety of pictures in the book to color! There are drawings I spent hours on and others with mostly words that I spent probably less than an hour on. I also liked there was some pictures that I could decide to leave some of the drawing white or choose a color close to white to color those parts of the pictures with.

Fall is my favorite season so it was great to have this coloring book to help me look forward to it. I am not sure if this is meant to be an adult or a children's coloring book but I think both adults and children will enjoy it! It will most likely be something people will to do to help them to feel calmer like it did for me when I colored in it!

My Review= 4 out 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: The Hundred Story Home by Kathy Izard

This is a story about Kathy Izard's life that was inspired by the book  "Same Kind of Different As Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, about their story of meeting when Denver was homeless. Kathy starts the book off by talking about her life growing up, how she met her husband, and her children. She then goes into the story of how she was called from serving the homeless in a way where she didn't communicate with them that much to being responsible for helping to make it possible that some of the people that were homeless in her city be given places to live. She took on a huge responsibility and saw many ways God showed up to make what Denver encouraged her to do to help the homeless more a reality.

Kathy's story really encouraged me since I also was inspired by reading "Same Kind of Different As Me". It encouraged me more that we should give no and low income people the same chance to learn and participate as everybody else in congregations because that's what ministry should include with the other ways it helps no and low income people outside of congregation buildings. It's different to what Kathy was called to since I don't have to try to convince congregation leaders and other people to help with housing people that are homeless but to offer them free and/or discounted books or other resources, and a chance to go on congregation trips, and participate in meals during Biblical feasts. I guess Kathy's story inspired me to want a different kind of housing for people that are homeless, which is the ability to have congregation homes for some people that don't have any when they are sometimes missing the learning and community that are often needed to be included better in a congregation family.

I liked Kathy's humility that she wasn't able to do what she was called to alone and listed many people in the back of the book who helped her, and most of all that she gave the credit to God for the many ways he stepped in to allow people who seemed to feel unseen a chance to be seen through the people that cared for them in the ministry, the people that supported the ministry in helping them, and probably other people who treated them differently when they had homes to live in.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Praying the Promises of God by Linda Evans Shepherd

Praying God's Promises is a book that lists a lot of God's promises that are in the Bible. For each of the promises listed out by Scripture there is an agreement / declaration written out so the reader can speak of that promise to God through prayer. The promises are divided into chapter topics and then categories within some of the chapters making it easy for readers to come back to find those promises listed when they need to. Some of God's names are listed in a Name above All Names section at the end of the stories in each chapter before God's promises are listed which are related to the topics which tie into to the chapter topics also.

I don't recall coming across a book like this before; it actually encourages me to bring the promises up to God while in prayer for certain things. What I found interesting is that not the same Bible translation is always used for the Scriptures that are shared; one Scripture uses the NIV version while another uses another translation such as NLV, ESV, GW, etc. Some translations are used more than once though. I also found it interesting that at some places of the book Linda explained stories that someone else shared with her about something great that God did and she would wonder if they mentioned a certain Scripture when praying about certain people that the great things happened to and I think I recall the answer always being yes.

A highlight for me was when I came across Psalm 72 in the story before one of the sections of promises in chapter 3 were highlighted about the needy, the poor, and those who need help to be rescued (Psalm 72:12). And also Hebrews 13:16 in the promises section in the same chapter about doing good for others and sharing with those in need. That was important to me because I hope to see more people defending the poor, the needy, and those that need help in the future.

I have used one of Linda's books a lot called When You Need a Miracle so it felt like another blessing to read this book tooI have prayed one of the sets of prayers in When You Need a Miracle nearly every day for almost a decade now when I have dealt with spiritual warfare about something I had no control over and didn't understand. So since that book has helped me through that part of my life I believe this one will help with another part of it with me sometimes needing to mention Scripture promises when I talk to God in prayer.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

the Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford

the Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi takes people along on a trip Kathie Lee Gifford took to Israel with a group of people that were invited on the trip. A Messianic rabbi named Jason comes alongside her in this book to go deeper into some Jewish words and meanings to help readers understand more from a Jewish perspective. Not every chapter has input from Jason but the input he does give is a lot to me. The chapters throughout the book go over different places in Israel Kathie and her group traveled to and had spiritual experiences at. Each chapter lists a Scripture verse at the beginning related to what the chapter is about. She even touches on the Jewish Festivals. She also shares some about her late husband in a very touching way.

It was great to read about this side of Kathie because I knew she is a TV cohost but didn't know about her love of Israel until I read this book or that she has some Jewishness inside of her.

Usually I get tired of hearing about people's trips to Israel because a lot of people go on congregation trips with some of the congregations I have attended. The first year or two of listening about them was fine for me but I got to feeling left out and probably many others did too. Hearing about Kathie's trip with a group a people seemed fine for me though maybe because it sounded like the people that went on the trip went as a gift that was given to them, which according the stories from participants in the back of the book it was a beautiful gift to some and maybe even all of them. I hope many more people will consider giving people the gift of a trip to Israel, especially people that have gone many times.

It seems like a lot of the Hebrew words and definitions that were shared in this book I had not learned before. I also think Jason's input will be helpful for people seeking to know some deeper meanings of the Bible from a Hebrew perspective.

One of the big things I learned that seemed really deep to me is that Jesus (Yeshua) wasn't really a carpenter but a stone mason based on a teaching Kathie received from their tour guide Ray Vander Laan.

I liked that the Jewish Festivals were touched on in the chapter about Jerusalem since I think that people get a different experience when commemorating them there probably.

I think this book was so deep to me that I could pick it up again and have different information pop out at me. I think probably everybody will get a different experience from the insights from Kathie and her group's travel experience to Israel.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.