Wednesday, February 24, 2016

NLT Inspire Bible - a review

The New Inspire Bible
Inside the front cover
Recently, I was given a complimentary copy of the NLT (New Living Translation) Inspire Bible from Tyndale House Publishers for review. This beautiful new Bible will be released in March 2016.

Immediately upon opening the box for the NLT Inspire Bible, I was in awe! The front cover of the Bible is in full color and has a beautiful nature scene featuring flowers, a bird, and a butterfly. It is a flexible cover. The colors are pleasing to the eye and made me want to immediately turn the front cover to see what was next. The Bible is very well made. Holding it in my hands, I find it is the perfect size. The book is 8.25" x 6.25" The Bible is just under 2 inches wide and weighs in at just a little over 2 pounds. The outer edges of the pages are colored in a beautiful teal to match the outside cover and have a detailed scrollwork pattern that gives the Bible that little extra special touch of beauty.

Examples of the artwork
Inside the front cover, this stunning Bible's artwork continues with a black and white illustration that is ready to be filled in with colored pencils, markers, or other mediums. The attention to detail is magnificent!

Throughout the Bible, there are over 400 pages of attractive art illustrations. Some of the illustrations are full page and some are only partial page, but in any case, each drawing is very unique and beautiful. The black and white drawings allow the Bible to be completely customized as the user sees fit. As a Bible journaler, I found the illustrations to be a great help. They provide not only a great backdrop for creativity, but also great guidelines for enhancing Biblical study.
Extra wide margins

The pages of the Bible are a nice quality, ivory colored paper. Each page of Scripture has two-inch-wide margins which are perfect for taking notes and recording personal reflections. The font used is easy to read.

The Inspire Bible is the only single-column, wide-margin Bible available in the popular New Living Translation. This translation allows entire thoughts to be translated into natural, everyday English. It provides wording that is easy to read and understand while at the same time accurately communicating the meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible.

Another example of the art
The NLT Inspire Bible is specifically designed to appeal to those who enjoy art journaling and adult coloring books. (The Bible comes in a deluxe hardcover edition too. It features a lovely, teal imitation leather over board composition.)  The edges of the pages are beautifully designed with full color. The Inspire Bible is a very special edition and would make a lovely gift. Every aspect of this Bible is filled with beauty and has been painstakingly assembled. If you'd like to own your own copy of the new Inspire Bible, you can order it here.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for giving me the opportunity to review this lovely Bible. It was indeed my pleasure to do so.

A page I colored today
Inside the back cover

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bearing Witness - a book review

Recently, I was given a complimentary copy of the book, Bearing Witness, Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship, edited by Charles E. Moore and Timothy Keiderling, to review by Plough Publishing.

I was excited to read this book because I love studying about Christian missionaries all over the world, but especially about those who've taken their faith to the extreme and have become martyrs for their faith. As I began the book, the first sentence of the introduction caught my eye... "Following Jesus can be dangerous." What a profound statement for those who follow after Christ, but also one bearing complete truth. Even Jesus, in the Bible, says "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25. And as I began to read the first few pages of the book, I was reminded why it's important for us to remember those who've suffered for Christ.

The book answers the question, "So, why do we in North American still need to tell martyr stories today" with the following answer: "First, in the context of the extensive religious freedoms that North American believers now enjoy, the witness of the martyrs provides a useful reminder that following Jesus can still exact a cost. Furthermore, we should continue to tell stories of courageous witness because persecution is not just an ancient story but a contemporary reality. Martyr stories prompt us to reexamine our own faith. Martyr stories unite the church. Remembering the martyrs is a way of extending the community of faith backward in time, reminding each congregation that it is not alone in the journey, but is joined in fellowship with faithful Christians throughout the history of the church."

Most of us know the stories of famous Christian martyrs like Stephen and Peter, disciples of Jesus, and even those of later martyrs like William Tyndale and John Wycliffe, but there are so many more! All over the world, there have been those who've stood firm in their beliefs and have taken their faith with them to their death. They've fought the good fight and they've received their crown of glory.

Bearing Witness, shares the stories of 36 martyrs from Biblical times until the present. Their stories span the globe and include countries like Turkey, Germany, Austria, The Virgin Islands, The United States, Korea, and Russia. These various martyrs suffered terrible deaths from being burned alive to being torn apart by animals, but one thing remains constant in all of their cases, their love for Jesus Christ.

It is my belief that the book, Bearing Witness, should be required reading for all Christian high school and college students. By keeping the stories alive and fresh, we can impact generations and help them realize these valiant people did not die in vain. It's important for us to remember the great cost behind our Christian beliefs. Many gave their lives so we could have the religious freedoms we experience today.

I would like to thank Plough Publishing for giving me an opportunity to review this outstanding book. I would recommend it highly to anyone wanting to learn more about the history of Christianity and about those who died for their faith. If you'd like to purchase your own copy of this amazing book, you can order it here.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Burning Proof - a book review

Recently, I received a complimentary copy of the book, Burning Proof, by Janice Cantore, from Tyndale House Publishers. Ms. Cantore, is a retired Long Beach police officer who is currently writing novels related to her twenty two years of experience in law enforcement.

I found this book interesting but it took me a while to become engrossed in the story. Most of the books I enjoy are ones where the authors develop their characters slowly and methodically throughout the book. Ms. Cantore seemed to introduce new characters quickly and then "back peddle" to provide the necessary details for the reader. I did not care for this approach but understand each author has a very unique and different style of writing.

The story begins with Detective Abby Hart about to close an investigation she's been working on for several months. Just after she makes the arrest and puts her suspect in custody, things take an unexpected twist. Abby finds herself in a world of trouble and questioning her career as a police officer. As the story continues, the author, Janice Cantore, weaves her words to bring both the past and present together into Abby's future.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Ms. Cantore's use of Scripture references throughout the book. She made a special point of not only portraying the every day lives of her characters, but also included their deep dependence on their faith in God.

This book would interest fans of criminal justice and strong Christian character. It is apparent Ms. Cantore draws on her personal experiences in both of these fields as she writes.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for my copy of the book, Burning Proof. Perhaps you'd like to read it for yourself.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Love Kindness, a book review

Recently, I was given a complimentary copy of the book, Love Kindness, by Barry H. Corey, to review. My copy from Tyndale House Publishers was in paperback format. 

I was excited to read this book! The book was written by Barry H. Corey, a native of Massachusetts, became the eighth president of Biola University in July 2007. 

First of, the title, Love Kindness, captured my attention. One of my life's goals has always been to exhibit kindness in my life. This book takes a closer look at the true meaning of kindness and how we, as Christians, are expected to exhibit it in our lives so that God is represented well. 

In the introduction to the book, the first Scripture presented, gives us a mandate to clothe ourselves in kindness. Colossians 3:12 says this, "As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with kindness." But what does it really mean to clothe ourselves in kindness? That was the question I asked myself before digging into this book and finding out what Barry Corey had to say. My understanding of this verse was just that I should always be kind to others but there was much more to sharing kindness than I ever imagined.

"Kindness has become a forgotten virtue." Mr. Corey made this profound statement as the book begins. "To be Christian, kindness must shape us and define us," Corey says. "We have lost an understanding of the power of kindness, mistakenly dismissing it as fluff or flat. Kindness needs to be rediscovered." Those comments by Barry Corey ring true. In today's world, we find kindness to be almost irrelevant. As people move throughout their days in self-centered awareness, kindness seems not to matter. 
Barry Corey, author of Love Kindness

The author wants us to understand that kindness is a choice and it takes fierceness to display kindness in today's world. His analogy of Christians exhibiting kindness as having a firm center with soft edges really gave me a clear visual of his concept to love kindness. As Christians, it's important to stand firm in our beliefs but still be able to reach out to others with the gift of kindness. Mr. Corey explains that "Kindness is a biblical way of living." Though it is a fruit of the Spirit, it's also the way we should conduct our lives on a daily basis. 

I enjoyed this book immensely and found it filled with great insights and Biblical truths. This book would be a great one to recommend to students of all ages but especially those in high school and college. 

After reading the book, I feel enlightened. I feel I have seen kindness in a whole new light and I think you will, too! The title of the book, Love Kindness, comes from Micah 6:8 in the Bible which says, "To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." Barry Corey states, as does the Bible, that we are to love kindness. We are not just to do it, but to actually love it!

If you're interested in reading this book, you can purchase it here.