Jesus’ words, grief, the environment, journaling and God’s rascal

Those five things don’t seem like they have much in common do they? Well, normally they wouldn’t, but today there is one thing that connects them all; they’re all books that I’ve recently read and would like to share with you. Of the 5 short reviews below 2 aren’t that positive, 2 are positive and 1 is ‘I recommend you buy it’. But, books are subjective, so you may love the 2 I’m not a big fan of, think the other two are ok and really dislike the one I enjoyed most. I doubt it, but it could happen. Books are subjective, but I hope that my short reviews will help give you a feel for the material and help you weigh up whether or not these books deserve the preciously little space that still remains on your bookshelf. Happy reading!

God’s Rascal: The Jacob Narrative in Genesis 25–35 by Dale Ralph Davis

If you’ve been around church for a while you will know that the Bible is full of weak humans who are used mightily by God to do His work. Jacob is one of those people. In this short book (136 pages) Dale Ralph David takes you through Genesis 25-35 chapter by chapter and draw out key lessons from Jacob’s life. In typical Davis fashion you have illustrations that draw the reader in and applications that get you thinking. One of the difficulties I often find with character studies is that the main character can be portrayed as perfect, David doesn’t do that. In this book Davis walks you through Jacob’s life, highlighting his high and low points, his flaws and his devotions, his character and the chaos, but most importantly David helps you see Jacob’s God and His goodness throughout this book. If you’re wanting to do a devotional study on the life of Jacob this would be a good tool to have at your fingertips.

The Environment by Dave Gobbett

Christians differ in opinions on a whole host of issues, one of which is the environment. But there is much to be said on how Christians should approach the topic of the environment from a Christian worldview. In this little book Dave Gobbett takes his readers to the Bible to show how Christians should have a unique understanding of the environment because we believe that God created the world and therefore we should respect the world and be good stewards of the resources that God has given us. This book doesn’t tell you how to think, in fact it encourages level headed discussion and understanding of different positions, it doesn’t tell you how to act or respond to the current environmental situation. Instead Gobbett takes you to Scripture and helps you see why it’s important for Christians to be involved in this discussion and the glorious future that does await our world in the New Creation.

What Cannot Be Lost by Melissa Zaldivar

In this book Melissa tells the story of the pain she experienced after her best friend died. She writes to help the readers see the comport that Jesus can bring in the darkest of times. In the book Melissa talks about her own story, that of Louisa May Alcott and she brings in the Bible throughout as well. The book was a quick read that I’m sure was difficult for Melissa to write about such a raw topic of the death of her friend and the grief she experienced and undoubtedly continues to experience.

Whilst the book was an ok read, I was a little bit disappointed (and I wish this wasn’t eh case). I was hoping to find a book that would bring more in-depth insights into grief and more help for the grieving. Personally, as I read this book I didn’t find that. This is where it becomes tricky because books are subjective, what I find helpful and great might not appeal you to and visa-versa. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Imperfect Reflections: The Art of Christian Journaling by Kirsten Birkett

I’ve mentioned before on here that journaling isn’t really my thing. I’ve tried it on numerous occasions over the years and I’ve had assignments that have required journals and other creative ways of interacting with Scripture. So I picked this book up with a sense of tension, on the one hand I know it’s probably not one for me but on the other hand I was hoping to be encouraged to give journalling another shot. This book is a bit like a conversation with Kirsten over a coffee: she speaks of her own practices, things that have helped her, ways that she’s journaled and encouraged you to do the same. It was a good book with some helpful tips and insights, but I think Kirsten could have helped the reader go a bit deeper into the why (why does journalling help you mature? etc.).

Truly, truly, I say to you by Adam Ramsey

I do love a good book that gets you into your Bible, this book does just that. This devotional really is great, designed to be an Easter devotional, you’ll walk through some of Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John over the course of 42 days. Each day has a verse, or a few verses, to meditate on, a short reflection from Adam and then at the end of each devotional there is a quote from Charles Spurgeon. Whilst this is a good Easter devotional, I don’t think it needs to be restricted to that time of year. If you want to reflect on some of Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel, get this book and be filled in awe of how amazing Jesus is. I highly recommend you buy a copy of this!

*** I received a copy of these books from the publishers in exchange for honest reviews. This does not change the way I rate the books. My views are my own. ***

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