I Am -The Names of God for Little Ones by Diane Stortz–Book Review

This board book literally sparkles! It will attract toddlers with the bright, colorful illustrations by Diane Le Feyer, and is sturdy enough to withstand lots of handling. Starting with Genesis, and ending with Revelation, each page features a very short Bible story about one of the names of God. It also includes a Bible verse and a short prayer.

Some of the names (Savior, I Am) will be difficult for the target audience (age 0-4) to completely grasp. Others, (teacher, friend) will be easier. However, all the stories are basic and offer a starting point to discuss the attributes of God with young children. It’s a book to read again and again with your children as their grows.

VERDICT: 4 STARS.

For more books for children see these posts:

Because I Love You by Max Lucado–Book Review

I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard — Book Review

Every Which Way to Pray by Joyce Meyer–Book Review

Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson–Book Review

Be Thou My Vision: A Liturgy for Daily Worship by [Jonathan Gibson]

If you love the liturgy, as I do, you’ll appreciate this book which allows you to bring liturgical worship into your daily life. There are enough entries (31) to take you through a month of private devotional time or family worship. Each one includes a call to worship, praise adoration, Scripture readings, confession and assurance of pardon, a portion from one of the Creeds, prayers of intercession and closes with the Lordi’s prayer. In addition, there are several appendices at the end of the book which include the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan, The Heidelberg Catechism and Westminster Shorter Catechism and a selection of Collects. It is suggested that a section of the Bible and one of the Catechisms also be included each day.

The order of the elements is the same each day, but the content of each element varies, so that the reader is exposed to a selection of prayers and Bible readings. Much of the content comes from The Book of Common Prayer (1552). A brief introduction to the book explains the Scriptural basis for daily worship and the format used.

I am finding this to be a helpful tool for developing the spiritual disciplines of daily worship and study. You can read through the liturgy and the suggested portions of Scripture and a Catechism in less than an hour.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I would suggest that Lutherans may want to use Luther’s Small Catechism instead of the two included; there are some doctrinal differences, especially around the understanding of the Sacraments.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

https://www.crossway.org/books/be-thou-my-vision-cob/

For more about spiritual disciplines see:

Spiritual Discipline For a Spiritual Life by Donald S. Witney –FTF Book Review

Fanning the Flame #16 Personal Spiritual Discipline

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered by James C. Wilhoit

Maybe you think of spiritual formation as something privately undertaken by individuals. James C. Wilhoit promotes the idea that it is the primary responsibility of the church to transform members into Christlikeness. This is not a new idea, but one that has been neglected in recent years. Too often churches have been primarily concerned with their own “success” or survival, and too many Christians approach the congregation as consumers. Formative practices such as Bible memorization and reading; Sunday evening services with a focus on testimonies and mission, Christian summer camps, and pastoral visitation have been dropped and not replaced with any alternatives. The stated purpose of the author is to call congregations to become intentional about spiritual formation and to repent of their failure to prayerfully seek ways to open our lives and our churches to God’s grace and guidance.

Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community

The topics covered include:

*Formation through the ordinary events of life

*Imitating Christ

*Receiving

*Remembering

*Responding in love and service

*Relating to others

*Practices that foster formation

There are lots of quotes, a number of appendices at the end, and references to many other books that would be useful for further study.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. Truly spot-on and helpful. It will interest both pastors and lay members who wish to revitalize their lives and their congregations.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

For more about spiritual formation see:

Spiritual Formation by Henri Nouwen–Book Review

What is Spiritual Direction?

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

This Little Light of Mine by Kathleen Long Bostrom

Most of you are probably already familiar with the VeggieTales series, which seeks to teach Bible stories and a biblical worldview to young children. Created in the 1990’s, it became the most popular children’s Christian franchise of all time, distributing books, CD’s, video games and more.

This particular offering is a small board book which is just the right size for little hands. The message is simple and suitable for 4-6 year olds. Jesus is the light of the world, He guides us and shines through us. The artwork features bright, primary colors, making it attractive to young children. Bouncy rhymes encourage youngsters to name the lights they see around them — the fire, the stars, fireflies, the lighthouse, as illustrations of God’s light.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. Nothing extraordinary, but perfectly fine for introducing your child to some biblical concepts.

This Little Light of Mine (VeggieTales)

For more children’s books see:

The Gift That I Can Give For Little Ones by Kathie Lee Gifford–Book Review

Nothing by Natalee Creech –Book Review

Win or Lose I Love You! by Lysa Terkeurst

Life’s Companion by Christina Baldwin–Book Review

If you love writing in a journal, or want to develop the discipline of spiritual writing, this book is an excellent place to hone your skills or just get started. However, be advised that it is not exclusively Christian. In an effort to appeal to more people, the author uses terms like “the sacred”, “the universe” and “errors”. To adapt the suggestions to my worldview, I would simply substitute “God”, “Jesus”, “sin”.

That being said, this book is chock full of good questions and suggestions for journaling. Each chapter is, in effect, two chapters. The pages on the right comprise on essay on the topic being discussed, with examples from the life of the author. The pages on the left include quotes, examples from the journals of others, and questions to use for journaling. I used the book by reading all the right hand essay first, then reading the left side and journaling with some of the questions. Doing one chapter completely each day became part of my early morning devotional time.

Some of the topics covered are:

*How to write a spiritual journal

*Writing your spiritual history

*Dreams and intuition

*Rituals

*Love, forgiveness, trust and acceptance

*Paying attention

This is not an exhaustive list. If you’re interested in journaling, you will surely find some things that speak to you and your spiritual journey.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. I found it helpful and would recommend it.

For more about journaling see these posts:

Joan’s (Jumbled) Journal

H.E.A.R.

SPURGEON JOURNAL – A Review

The Art of Prayer Journals

Life Together in Christ by Ruth Haley Barton–Book Review

Life Together in Christ provides a model for studying and experiencing community in a small group setting. Using the story of the Emmaus road as her format, author Ruth Barton leads her readers through 9 topics designed to further spiritual transformation. They are:

  1. Choosing to walk together
  2. Welcoming the stranger
  3. Choosing to listen
  4. Gathering on the basis of shared desire
  5. Men and Women in community
  6. The Spiritual journey
  7. Finding our story in His story
  8. Discerning the presence of Christ
  9. Being a witness

Sprinkled throughout are questions for personal reflection (good for journaling!) and at the end of each chapter are more questions and a prayer for group sharing. There are two appendices at the end which delve further into spiritual growth, community and the practice of stability. The author often relies on quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s well-known work, Life Together, to illustrate her points, so if you’re interested in Christian community, this is another well-respected book to read on that topic.

Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community (Transforming Resources) by [Ruth Haley Barton]

If you’re in a small group, or starting a small group, this would be an interesting choice to use. I agreed with most of what the author had to say, with the exception of her objection to single sex groups. There are certainly times and instances (in my opinion) when same sex groups are appropriate.

VERDICT: 4 STARS

For other books that could be used in your small group see:

Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren–Book Review

When Words Matter Most by Cheryl Marshall & Caroline Newheiser–Book Review

Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren–Book Review

The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

This is a typical fairytale for children, dressed up with a bit of Christianity.

The king is in search of the perfect knight to marry his daughter. He must be not just courageous, strong, and loyal — he must also be kind and have a deep faith in God. Only this sort of man would be worthy of the Princess. After a variety of tests, the final three must perform one last feat — and the winner is not the bravest or the most accomplished, but the one who loves the Princess best and will always protect her.

The book begins with a quote from 1 Corinthians:

“Love is patient, love is ind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard are charming, and If you’re expectations for the story are not high, you may enjoy it and be able to begin a conversation about kindness with your children

VERDICT: 3 STARS

For more books for children visit these posts:

I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard — Book Review

Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You — Book Review

Gracie’s Garden by Lara Casey — Book Review

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin–Book Review

If you’d like to learn more about the attributes of God, this little book would be a great place to start. Author Jen Wilkin lists ten ways God is different from us. God is:

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing) by [Jen Wilkin]

*Infinite

*Incomprehensible

*Self-existent

*Self-sufficient

*Eternal

*Immutable

*Omnipresent

*Omniscient

*Omnipotent

*Sovereign

After discussing each characteristic along with relevant Bible verses, she brings it down to the personal level with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. As sinful human beings, we like to believe that we can “be like God” and so we try hard to acquire these attributes for ourselves — thankfully, it won’t work!

The discussion questions could be used in a small group study, or you can journal with them (I did). You’ll come away with a greater understanding about who God is and why He alone is worthy of our worship.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. Well-researched and easy to read. I recommend it!

For more about the attributes of God see:

The Attributes of God

The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers — Book Review

Is There a God? If So, What is God Like?– Or Katelyn’s Question #1

Thanksgiving Graces by Mark Kimball Moulton — Book Review

In this delightful little book, a young boy learns the value of sharing as his family members invite more and more visitors to their Thanksgiving feast. Will there be enough for everyone, he wonders? Grandma reassures him, reminding him that in the Bible Jesus was able to provide a crowd of people with fish and bread. She explains:

“The more you love and care, the more there seems to be for everyone to share.”

Beautiful, warm illustrations by Daniel Wenzel complement the lyrical text. This would be a great book to read out loud with youngsters to remind them of the true meaning of the holiday.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I loved it!

For more holiday books for children see these reviews:

Manger by Lee Bennett Hopkins — Book Review

Great and Small Easter by B&H Kids Editorial Staff — Book Review

The Silent Noisy Night by Jill Roman Lord — Book Review

Deeper by Dane C. Orland — Book Review

Subtitled, “Real Change for Real Sinners”, this book is about the process of sanctification. At first, I found it a bit simplistic — but that is actually the author’s point. We all need to go back to the basics in order to grow. Real, positive growth happens when we go deeper and deeper into the basics that we may have known for years.

The first step, if we’re growing in Christ, is to know what Christ is like. Then we need to despair — despair of being able to save ourselves on our own. We have to see and admit the sin that is always with us. When we collapse into the love of Christ, we are united with Him. We’re transformed, and our future is no longer bound up in the sinful Adam –we’re a new creation in Christ. All of this is the necessary foundation that leads to the dynamics by which believers change. We have been acquitted, or justified and are now reconciled with God.

The author then turns toward the question of how we practically, absorb the truth of our salvation into our daily lives. He focuses on two tools which he considers most important — the Bible and prayer. Our relationship with Christ must be nurtured and fed.

So, yes, this is a book about basics, and the most basic instruction is this — Look to Christ. We need to reminded, and to follow His teachings and example every day.

VERDICT: 5 STARS.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

For more book reviews see these posts:

Pure In Heart by J. Garrett Kell–Book Review

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger–Book Review

Every Which Way to Pray by Joyce Meyer–Book Review