December 20, 2006

Devotionals for 2007

Hiking With Jesus

James Feldbush, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, 2006, US$13.99, 384 pages, hardcover. Reviewed by Chloe Curtis, a fifth grader from Vilas, North Carolina.

Hiking With Jesus is a terrific book for the primary or kindergarten ages. The author does an excellent job coordinating nature with Bible analogies, such as learning from the falcon how God wants us to live happily. In this book you will go horseback riding, watch an osprey dive for fish, or even go on a night hike to spot a leopard.
I was excited to discover that there was one verse from every book of the Bible included in the daily devotions.
All throughout this book you will learn about many animals, plants, and places as you explore the wonders of God’s creation. The author’s writing style triggers the imagination and almost makes you feel as if you are there.
Hiking With Jesus has colorful illustrations on the front cover. One of my younger sisters told me to say that she loved the book! I think the reader will agree.

Where in the World?

Helen Lee Robinson, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, 2006, US$13.99, 384 pages, hardcover. Reviewed by Aaron Jordan, a sixth grader from Beltsville, Maryland.

This devotional book for juniors is great! The stories are exciting and interesting! They are what kids would like. It has a lot of cool life lessons that will help us kids to be what God wants us to be.
The stories make you think, and make you want to do the right things. Reading one each day would put you in the right frame of mind to go out and have a good attitude so you won’t get into trouble. I especially like the adventure stories. They help show us how God wants us to live and relate to people of the world. The fact that each story has related Bible texts helps you go to the Bible to read more about that topic and follow up on the story.
If we have friends who are not Christians, and they tried to make us do things that aren’t pleasing to God, this could be a way to introduce them to God and the Bible. They’ll be reading about what God expects of us without realizing it, and this could change their lives. I especially like it when they give the moral of the stories at the end.
Overall, I think it’s a great book! I couldn’t find anything that I didn’t really like. I think kids everywhere would and should enjoy this unique devotional.


Falvo Fowler, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, 2006, US$10.99, 160 pages, softcover. Reviewed by Evan Knott, a high school sophomore, writing from Laurel, Maryland.

When I started reading Solutions I didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t take long, though, for me to realize that this was a great read to strengthen my faith. The book Solutions is a devotional book targeted at teenagers. It contains 60 or so different devotions that are no more than a couple of pages in length and can be read in just a few minutes. The book has a central theme: offering solutions for many of the issues facing teens today about life and faith.
Falvo Fowler caught hold of my interest in the very first chapter. He set up the theme for the whole book by asking questions that many teens ask themselves every day—questions about the meaning of life. The author did a very good job expressing these feelings that many teens are facing, and offering them the best solution: Jesus Christ.
Throughout the book the author does a good job using stories and illustrations to get his message across. The stories were interesting and related well to what he was trying to say.
I strongly recommend this book to teenagers who are looking for solutions in their life. It is well-written and relevant to teens living in the year 2007.

Things They Never Taught Me

Tompaul Wheeler, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, 2006, US$10.99, 160 pages, softcover. Reviewed by David Sanner, a senior biochemistry major at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee.

I enjoy starting my mornings off with a devotional thought that I can chew on the rest of the day. Reading Things They Never Taught Me by Tompaul Wheeler each morning did not let me down.

The book, although short, focuses on real questions and issues that young adult Christians have in their everyday lives. Instead of a question-and-answer type format, the content is presented in an engaging manner that encourages readers to think for themselves. The points are driven home with short personal or historical stories coupled with Bible verses and facts. I appreciated that the author didn’t try to force a story to fit a particular point. This allows the book to flow from story or short historical fact right into a discussion of the topic at hand with an elegance that I am not used to in devotional books.
The author addresses a broad range of topics including attitude, sexuality, and grace. Rather than focus on one particular topic in depth, it instead dissects parts that are usually overlooked or underaddressed.
If you are looking for a book that will leave you thinking rather than spell everything out, this is a book you will want to read.

Jesus: A Heart Full of Grace

William G. Johnsson, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, 2006, US$13.99, 384 pages, hardcover. Reviewed by Mark Kellner, a freelance writer in Rockville, Maryland.

Of all the elements of Christian belief and practice, grace—God’s grace—may well be the most misunderstood. At one end of the spectrum are the antinomians and their ilk, for whom grace is just a hair short of license. At the other are the legalists, who assert that fulfilling the law’s demands is the essential in earning God’s favor, indeed, His grace.
Neither extreme is correct: no amount of law-keeping will save a person tarred by the transmuted sin of Adam, and grace is a gift from God, not a “get out of jail free” card to be used in an eternal “Monopoly” game. Grace, rather, is what God generously shows us, and what we’re supposed to reflect to a sin-filled, dying world.
Bill Johnsson knows this in the way you or I might know our way around the neighborhood. His familiarity—intimacy, even—with God’s grace is evident on each page of this devotional book, one to which readers are likely to return often even after 2007 is a faint memory.
In each entry, Johnsson, the veteran editor of Adventist Review and a deep thinker on the things of God, points us toward both the simple grace in everyday life—a young girl selling lemonade to fight cancer, a far-away relative who sends a Christmas card extra-early to arrive with time to spare—and toward the grace of God found in these things. The young cancer victim displayed an ability to turn life’s “lemons” around; the early relative demonstrates that there are some things one must be on time for, such as the Lord’s soon return.
Whatever the New Year holds, it is likely to have challenges of varying stripes. Remembering that Jesus had “a heart full of grace,” and reading Johnsson’s details of that heart will equip readers to approach circumstances with expectancy and hope.