NIrV Kids' Devotional Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

A Year-Long Devotional Bible for Kids {Book Review – NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible}

NIrV Kids' Devotional Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

About the book (from the publisher):

NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

Complete with a year’s worth of devotions, the Kids’ Devotional Bible, NIrV will help children develop a habit they’ll want to keep. Engaging weekday devotions, fun weekend activities, interesting illustrations, and a dictionary make this a Bible they’ll want to read and apply to their lives. It includes the complete New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)—the stepping stone to the NIV—making it easier for young readers to read and understand.

Features include:

• Short weekday devotions that help young readers apply Bible lessons for a full year.
• 52 weekend devotions that teach kids about God’s creation through fun activities like visiting the zoo and gazing at the stars.
• “Got It” feature that encourages kids to find answers to Bible trivia themselves.
• Book introductions that give helpful information about each book of the Bible.
• A dictionary to look up words they want to know more about.
• The complete NIrV text, which uses shorter sentences and easier words. Kids can read this Bible on their own!

My thoughts:

Our kids are old enough now that we are loving going through study bibles with them, and they also pick up bibles on their own and read through passages we’ve recently studied together, etc. And, so far, we are big fans of nearly every Zondervan kids Bible we’ve picked up.

That trend continues with Zondervan’s newer Kids’ Devotional Bible. This bible has the full Bible text in NIrV translation (read more about this translation here — we love this translation for young readers!). It also has 5 devotions per weekday that move through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, as well as ‘weekend’ devotion each week.

The weekday devotions include:

  • a bible reading (usually between 2-10 verses),
  • a focus verse,
  • a short less-than-half-page devotion that tries to tie the biblical story or truth into more current, everyday living,
  • “ask yourself” questions to help young readers reflect on what they read,
  • a box to ‘check’ when the devotion has been read, if wanted,
  • and a note at the bottom notifying which page the next devotion appears, plus additional Scripture references for additional reading/study.

This structure is set up nicely for brief reflection and family discussion after each reading. The devotions remain fairly general to be accessible to most readers. Some can be a bit more on the superficial side, but others delve into deeper topics that will warrant family discussion. I find the language used and topics covered to be geared more towards kids ages 7 to 13 or so. (The language will be ‘too young’ to be as interesting for most teens, but teens can definitely join in with younger siblings on discussions and guidance.)

Also, I suggest parents/teachers reading the devotions with kids to help talk through the devotions. Because devotions are interpretive by nature, some of the devotions, on rare occasion, may not align with certain biblical understandings or your family/church’s theology. (This can happen with any devotional book, so discussions can help your kids learn to analyze and still some glean truth from something that may differ from their own understandings.)

Readers can decide to go through the Bible straight through, or use the “subject guide” in the back to pick Scripture readings and devotions on topical needs, like joy, forgiveness, giving, worship, truthfulness, etc. (Some literal readers may not like reading a “Thursday” devotion on a Monday, for example, if wanting to look for specific topics, but these devotions could still certainly be read that way.)

The weekend devotions differ with:

  • two Scripture readings offered (one for Saturday, one for Sunday),
  • additional reflection questions (in the “Some things to think about” sidebar),
  • a “Some things to do” sidebar with simple, broad ‘action steps’ to live out what has been read and studied. Some of these tips include things to pray, ways to help. Some are too general (like “help those in trouble”) for some readers to benefit strongly from them without guidance, but most action steps will at least spark readers’ ideas for living out our faith in the world.

Additional features:

  • Each book begins with a brief, one-paragraph introduction/summary to what takes place or what is discussed in the book.
  • Each book ends with a “Got it!” section that reflects on the book (and devotions within that book) as a whole, and one or two “Connect the dots” questions that ‘quiz’ or review the material (including Scripture references to find the answers).
  • A “How to Use Your Devotional Bible” article at the beginning of the Bible written to young readers (rather than to parents).
  • A dictionary in the back with definitions of harder biblical terms, people, places, etc.
  • A “subject guide” in the back to find topical devotional and Scripture readings.

Overall, this is quality Bible and that would be especially useful for family devotion time with middle grade readers.

Our very favorite study bible for young readers (thus far) remains to be the NIrV Adventure Study Bible, which I reviewed here a couple of years ago, but this newer devotional bible will likely be well-used in our house, as well, and is a worthwhile addition to family libraries.

What is your family’s favorite study Bible or devotional Bible?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookLook bloggers program. All opinions expressed are my own and this is my honest review.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

God The Creator series on Genesis 1

Created Like Him to Create

God is the ultimate Creator. That’s amazing itself, but what’s also amazing is that He created us in His likeness to create, too.

What can that look like?

Join me at Do Not Depart today to look at God the Creator and how every action we take is a creation, and can be a creation of love. Be sure to also check out the rest of our God The Creator posts all month long where we’re looking at Genesis 1 thorough Genesis 2:3 together.

God The Creator series on Genesis 1

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey (Abingdon Press, 2016)

A Coloring Devotional (Book Review – 40 Days to Joyful Motherhood)

It seems much of what I’m reading and reviewing lately has to do with living the creative life and self-care to take care of what God’s given us to subsequently be able to pour out to others.

This book continues the trend.

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey (Abingdon Press, 2016)

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom by Sarah Humphrey (Abingdon Press, 2016)

From the publisher:

Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:

-Self-acceptance
-Self-care
-Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
-Generosity
-Presence
-Forgiveness

In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

My Thoughts:

I love the concept of a doodling/coloring book combined with a devotional for moms. This book meets my expectations in some ways. Each devotion begins with a Scripture, followed by a 2-5 paragraph anecdote or reflection, and then wrapped up with a short prayer. The devotions sit on one side of the page, and the doodle to color waits on the opposite side. A two-page reflection offers breaks between every five devotions plus doodles that continue a topic (like identity in motherhood, self-care, peace, etc.) throughout the week.

The devotions are short enough for a 5-10 minute study period, which is very approachable for busy moms. The doodles are varied and fun to color alone or with your children. Some doodles incorporate Scripture related to that day’s devotion, some a repeating design, and some leave room for your own doodling or hand-lettering.

The devotions encourage reflection, yet never go deep, which left me sometimes wanting more depth. Self-care is a repetitive topic, which is important and needs repeated renewal, but also limited the scope of the devotions. I found many of the devotions to be much better suited for brand-new moms or moms of very young kids, so much so that I feel this particular book might better serve its readers by being marketed as towards new moms. That said, I particularly enjoyed the devotions in the seventh week that also featured memorizing Psalm 23 over the course of the week.

For more about this book, its author, and to read more reviews, please visit the Litfuse page for this book.

sample page of doodle coloring devotional

What are your favorite ways to relax in the Word?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse. This is an honest review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart

Living a Creative Life {Book Review – Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart)

Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart

About the book (from the publisher):

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart (Kregel Publications, 2016)

What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.
In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you’ll learn:
—Why the world needs your art
—How this Life Creative begins at home
—When art can turn a profit
—Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

My thoughts:

This book begins with a solid case supporting how God is the first Creator, and He created each of us to create in unique ways, too. The authors continually reiterate that every mother is a creative in her own God-given way, be it writing, crafting, baking, leading, etc. Each chapter contains personal anecdotes as well as stories of other mom creatives, and the chapters progress from acknowledging our creative nature to balancing momhood and creative work and even to what happens if that gift eventually supports your family financially. The authors are very conversational in tone and ready to affirm and encourage every reader.

I enjoyed most of what I read, though I actually found myself not fully agreeing with some of the statements and sentiments the authors share. For example, many of the ideas and suggestions seem to suggest that the mother reading will have a disposable income (to be able to drop kids off at daycare, for example) or time when kids are in public school. This, of course, isn’t the case for all families, so this may feel alienating for some readers. (But the authors do share many examples and often say it’ll look different for different moms.)

Another example, on page 32, they say: “And I’m not saying I don’t want them. I simply want me, too.” And (I think) I see what they’re saying here. We are all our individual selves before we become moms. But, I think I view it a touch differently. The change also becomes part of me. I will never not be a mom now, no matter what the future holds. And “mom” (along with “wife”) are my most favorite titles. I can’t separate being a mom from any of the rest of me now. I am Mom. But I am also a creative. I am also a writer. I am also a wonderer. These things are all as much a part of me as before. So “me” is still here while I am “Mom” because they aren’t exclusive of each other. But, just as I can’t ignore the Mom part, I also can’t ignore the creative part. It’s all part of who I am. I don’t want to separate any of those parts (though that doesn’t mean I don’t need a break from one or another part at times!); I want to grow into these parts together more fully. This does mean life looks different than pre-kids and will continue to look different as we all grow. (And I totally agree with the messy part!)

This said, every time I found a statement I possibly disagreed with, I had these kinds of reflective questions and conversations in my head. And, to me, that’s a sign of time well spent. This book allowed me to reflect on me and what that means as I try to live my life as God created me.

This book weaves creative life with living for God, a creative Himself. The stories shared about other creative moms (many whom are well-known in the Christian blogging world) are certainly inspiring. The tone of this book is graceful and welcoming. I imagine it will encourage and inspire most of its readers, as the subtitle suggests.

What encourages you as a mom to embrace your creative traits?

For more about this book and its authors, please visit the Litfuse page on this book. And enter the giveaway via clicking here or the image below! (Giveaway open through October 27th.)

Speake1

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse. This is an honest review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Proverbs 2-6

Theology and Trust

This month at Do Not Depart, we’re studying why sound theology matters for everyday people in everyday lives.

Sometimes understanding doesn’t mean knowledge.
Sometimes faith doesn’t mean seeing.
And sometimes trust doesn’t mean knowing the answers first.

Join me at Do Not Depart for a look at how theology and trust work together as we look at Proverbs 2 (and a few other verses), and please come share how you trust even when you may not understand.

Proverbs 2-6