Sunday, December 18, 2016

Book Review: Martin Luther

"Have you done enough to please God?" This was the question that terrified Martin Luther as he desperately sought peace with God and peace of mind. Simonetta Carr's most recent work, Martin Luther, displays God's grace in the life of Luther as his mind was opened to understand the truth of Scripture, answering the question, "How can a person be right in God's eyes?" As Mrs. Carr relays, this knowledge drastically changed the course of Luther's life and, subsequently, Christendom.

Luther's life is anything but boring, and Mrs. Carr tells his story well. Although he desired to bring about positive change within the Roman Catholic Church, many leaders remained steeped in tradition and were unwilling to change in spite of Luther's constant appeals to Scripture. Yet, "While many others attacked the abuses and corruption of the church and the pope, Luther went to the root of the problem, which is man's sinful heart, a problem that only God can solve" (pg. 54). Though Luther's writings merely sought to remedy ignorance of the Scriptures, the Church perceived him as a threat. Soldiers, swords, and kidnapping make for a particularly intriguing account. Ultimately, Luther's work ignited a split in Christendom that remains today.

Luther's life is instructive for us, displaying the importance of diligently studying the Scriptures, as well as, the writings of earlier Christians and discussing these matters with other believers. From Luther, we learn the necessity of "ordinary" Christians standing firmly on the foundation of God's Word in the face of opposition, even if that opposition is from church authorities (pg. 25-26). Like the apostle Paul, Luther refused to compromise the truth of Scripture as he was brought before authorities. Though he risked imprisonment and death, he was no longer held captive by fear but had faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

When Martin Luther arrived in our mail, my ten-year-old exclaimed, "Oh! It's one of my favorite books! Can I read it?!?" Her enthusiasm was contagious, and the rest of the children were soon vying for a turn with the tenth and latest book in the "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" series demonstrating that it remains one of our family's favorite church history series for children.  As I've written before, Ms. Carr is a very gifted author whom I cherish. Her writing uniquely has a purpose and depth which exceeds that found in much of written material for children today. I am overjoyed that she continues to add to this delightful series!

As with previous volumes in the series, readers of Martin Luther will encounter a carefully researched account that is edifying.  A map,  timeline, and portion of Luther's Small Catechism are included. Additionally, there are abundant illustrations and vibrant photos, as one can see from the sample pages which Westminster Books has provided. What can't be conveyed in these samples is that these sixty-four thick pages are contained in a   sturdy hardcover with a stitched binding, making this book a collectible title that will endure many years of enjoyment, as we've come to expect from this high quality series.

Christian Biographies for Young Readers 10 Book SetMartin Luther is an engaging biography that is sure to encourage many as they rejoice in the Biblical truth that Luther discovered; " ' the righteousness of God' in this verse [Romans 1:17] is not a righteousness God demands, but a righteousness God gives in Jesus Christ" (pg. 24). I pray that the faith of all who read this book will be strengthened as they, like Luther, rest in the salvation that comes through Christ's perfect life and death in our place.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes...For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.' " (Romans 1:16-17, ESV).

Those who are interested can learn more about Simonetta Carr's "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" here. This website includes interesting videos of the writing/illustrating process, activity and/or notebook pages for several existing titles (Augustine of HippoJohn Calvin, Athanasius), as well as, a study guide for John Owen.

*Many thanks to Cross Focused ReviewsReformation Heritage Books, and Simonetta Carr for providing me with a complimentary copy of Martin Luther in exchange for my honest opinion!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: Wonderfully Made

Wonderfully Made: God's Story of Life from Conception of Birth is a lovely story of life for kids from ages 5-11, told from the perspective of a mom with science and Scripture.
Have you ever desired to have a Gospel-centered, Biblical resource that would help explain the growth process from conception to birth for young children? If so, Danika Cooley has authored a lovely resource that meets that need. Wonderfully Made is a special book in which Danika shares the miracle of God's work in the womb with Scriptures on each page. She starts with conception and details some of the development that takes place week by week of pregnancy, but she doesn't stop there. After she finishes telling the story of baby's birth, she shares the account of Nicodemus and the need to be reborn spiritually. Wonderfully Made is a valuable resource for explaining the miracle of birth and the necessity of spiritual rebirth to young children.

Check out the free Wonderfully Made printables available at Thinking Kids! Posters, Scripture memory cards, and a lapbook! Teach your kids what the Bible AND science say about life in the womb!
Danika has generously provided free, downloadable posters, Scripture memory cards, and a lapbook to enjoy alongside this book which can be found on her website along with additional information about this book for any who are interested.

Author Bio: 
Danika Cooley is a married mother of four, a grandmother, a blogger, a curriculum developer, and a writer. She homeschools her two youngest children in Oregon. Danika’s three year Scripture survey for preschool to high school, Bible Road Trip, is used across the globe.

Danika is a gifted author and also wrote When Lightning Struck! for older children, which I had the privilege of reviewing  last fall.

Many thanks to Danika Cooley and CF4K for sending me a complimentary copy of Wonderfully Made in exchange for my honest opinion!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Book Glance: Counseling One Another

Counseling One Another
While Counseling One Another is a solid book, it seemed very narrow in its scope and was not quite what I was expecting. Virtually the entire work focuses on helping others overcome sin and grow in godliness. No doubt, these are much needed, and the book has good to contribute in those areas. However, people seek counseling for many different reasons, not merely because they are struggling with sin. Much counseling is sought as people attempt to cope with the effects of living in a broken world, suffering, and being sinned against. People seek comfort, encouragement, and wisdom. Counseling One Another did not address these or other aspects of counseling.

That being said, Counseling One Another is a helpful resource for those wishing to assist others as they seek to overcome indwelling sin, and the book does have useful components. It is centered on the Good News of what Jesus has done and is faithful to Scripture. Perhaps one of my personal favorite aspects were the "further thought and small-group discussion questions" at the close of each chapter. It's a good book for a seasoned believer who wants to explore this particular subject in-depth.

Many thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Shepherd Press for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!