Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament

Cover: The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament 

I have long been fascinated by the cross-references between Old Testament prophecy and the Gospels, as well as, other connections between the Old and New Testaments. Yet, I have hesitated to purchase books on this subject for fear that they might merely collect dust on my shelf. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Tyndale had published The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament.  Unlike many of the more scholarly titles, this one is designed for lay persons and is divided into bite size portions which can be read in five to ten minutes.

I found this book Gospel-centered and encouraging. It would be an asset to those who are looking for ways to "preach the Gospel to themselves" daily. The devotions stand alone allowing the reader to begin in any location. Furthermore, there is a helpful index which would allow one to find devotions relevant to a passage he/she is already reading.

However, while there is much in this book to commend, there are a number of occasions in which Ms. Guthrie moves into spiritual interpretations not intended by the original authors of Scripture. These interpretations are mere speculation and have no Biblical support. For example, the people in Luke 7:13-16 "remembered what Elisha had done for the Shunemite" (July 14) and the stew pot in 2 Kings 4:38 "became an illustration of the world, a 'stew' of humankind's ideas, religions, and attempts to satisfy their spiritual appetites (July 15). In the reading for February 26, Ms. Guthrie says:

"In her beauty, her purity, and her chosenness, Rebekah was a picture of the bride of Christ."

Furthermore, on October 15, Ms. Guthrie writes about the Ethiopian eunuch (of Acts 8) saying: "In a culture in which many descendants meant everything, this eunuch, who had no hope of a son who would carry on his name, understood that Jesus died without descendants so that he might give those who come to him by faith an everlasting heritage."

The problem is that none of these things are expressly stated or implied by other verses in Scripture. We simply have no way of confirming that any of these things are true. These are just a few examples of speculation in this book. I'm not sure if Ms. Guthrie gleaned these ideas from her sources or if she developed them independently as there are no footnotes or endnotes in the text. I truly wish I could recommend this resource as there are many good, Gospel-centered entries, however, it does not seem wise.

"Words in the Bible have a meaning fixed by the intention of God, expressed through the mind of the human authors. It cannot be made to mean what we choose without tampering with God's Word. But the atmosphere of our time puts so little premium on truth that the language of the Bible and of historical Christian documents has become a wax nose to shape according to the desires of the speaker" (pg 196, Think by John Piper).

Unfortunately, this is exactly what Ms. Guthrie does in many portions of this book. Therefore, I would not recommend this book.

* Many thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Large Family Logistics Giveaway



Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family

I have not yet seen this book, however, I have been greatly blessed by the material on Ms. Benneman's former website and look forward to looking over this book, at some point. You can check out the giveaway (until Sunday, November 28th @ midnight) or purchase a copy through Grace and Truth, if interested.

Have you already seen this book? If so, what did you think of it? If not, what resource has most blessed you as you seek to manage your home for the glory of God?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scripture Memory Music

Great for Kids and "Grown-ups"
 
  


Another awesome tidbit: 
"Each package contains two identical CDs - one to keep and one to give to a friend."

Christmas is coming...I humbly submit these for your consideration...a great gift to give the little ones in your life!

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review: A Way With Words


I recently read the book, A Way With Words by Christin Ditchfield. I think the greatest asset of this book is the Bible Studies that were included at the end of each chapter. The reflection questions were thought provoking and the suggestions for Scripture memory/meditation helpful. I like how this book lends itself well to group and/or personal study and how the reader is encouraged to keep a journal. Furthermore, I think it is great that Ms. Ditchfield encourages the reader to slow down her reading and take time to apply what she's learning by spending a week with the Bible Study questions and Scriptures. I also enjoyed the way that she opened each chapter with an engaging story from her life or from Scripture. These made the book a pleasant read and helped illustrate the points well. I really appreciate Ms. Ditchfield’s honesty, transparency, and humility.

In spite of all of these good things, I think that the book could be improved. I liked the chapter on how words reveal what is in our hearts and would have liked to see that incorporated more throughout the book. I also thought that the Gospel message could have been more clear and that the book would have benefited from the use of more Biblical language (rather than talking about how my speech is going to shatter hopes, dash dreams or damage self-image--pg. 21). As Christians, we speak differently as a result of who we are in Christ. We are ambassadors and agents of reconciliation for God and His Kingdom. At times, our mission will require us to use Biblical words to "damage self-image". Take for example , "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23, ESV) or the fact that our "best deeds" are like a polluted garment or filthy rags (Isaiah 64:4-9). These things aren't said to protect our "self-image"; they're said so that we might know our deep need for a new identity in Christ.

Additionally, there were a number of quotes scattered throughout the text. I found these more of a distraction than an asset. Furthermore, there were times when they seemed to be at odds with Biblical truth like this one from Sojourner Truth: "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!" (pg. 10) Only Christ can restore this broken world.

Again, I think the most helpful portion of this book was the way Christin Ditchfield helps her readers think through the Scriptures pertaining to speech and asks relevant application questions. However, I have been more challenged by other books which were more Gospel-centered and focused more clearly on heart change.

Many thanks to Crossway for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Congratulations!

Cover: Battle for the Promised Land!


Congratulations, Cheryl!
You won the certificate for this DVD.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented.
I enjoyed reading about how God has been speaking to you all! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

DVD Review and Our First Giveaway

First a little background, then the giveaway...

http://www.tyndale.com/authorphotos/amazon/1290/pic_full_vischer_phil.jpgMeet (or remember) Phil Vischer, a talented fellow who is best known for creating productions for children. His first project was the Veggie Tales series characterized by the motto: "Sunday Morning Values, Saturday Morning Fun." Whatever your opinion of the original Veggie Tales, Mr. Vischer has begun a new series. While the former focused on values, the latter purports to be centered on the Gospel.



I must confess, I wasn't sure what to expect. However, Tyndale kindly sent me a copy of the fourth DVD in the What's In the Bible series: Battle for the Promised Land in exchange for my honest opinion. I was pleasantly surprised by the clear communication of the Gospel and the detailed information that was shared in a visual way. While I didn't find this DVD as entertaining or captivating as Veggie Tales, it compensated for it with its improved emphasis on the Gospel. However, what good is the DVD if it has good content with a boring presentation? On the contrary, although I (being an adult) was a little bored with the presentation, by the end of the DVD, my daughter was already asking, "Are there more in this series? Can we get them? Are there any books?"

Following the DVD, I asked my daughter some questions for Tyndale:

  • Did she learn from it?
    • "Yes, I learned about the Historical Books of the Bible." (Joshua-Esther)
  • Did you find it entertaining?
    • "Yes."
  • Would you like to watch the rest of the series?
    • "Yes!"
  • Who is your favorite character?
    • "I like them all the same."

Cover: Battle for the Promised Land!Like most products, this one could be improved. For example, I didn't appreciate a couple of jokes referencing underpants in the beginning of the DVD. However, all in all, I think the whole family can benefit from this DVD as the Gospel is clearly presented and the information has more depth than other materials that I have seen for this age. Younger children will probably benefit from watching the DVD in parts since it is 60-minutes in its entirety, but Tyndale conveniently thought of this and split the presentation into two parts. For more information, visit www.whatsinthebible.com or www.tyndale.com.


Now for the exciting news: I get to do our very first blog giveaway, compliments of Tyndale House Publishers! I have an award certificate for the above-titled DVD so you can form your own opinion. ;) You have several chances to win:

  1. Post a comment or email me stating one thing that God is teaching you recently about/from the Bible.
  2. Subscribe to my blog and/or let me know that you're a subscriber via a comment.
  3. Share about this giveaway on your blog and/or Facebook and post the link in the comments section.
Comments will be accepted until 9:00PM, EST, Thursday, November 4, 2010, and the winner will be announced on Friday, November 5, 2010. Make sure I have a way to contact you so that I can let you know if you're the winner as I'll need to secure a mailing address to mail you the certificate for your free DVD. ;)

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who participated!

* Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for sending me this DVD in exchange for my honest opinion!