Showing posts with label B&H Publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label B&H Publishing. Show all posts

June 14, 2019

One Big Story: Epic

With its animated artwork, clear language, and quotes from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), One Big Story: Epic will draw children and pre-teens into a deeper understanding of God’s Word.

Published by B&H Publishing for BHKids and distributed by Lifeway, who kindly sent me a copy to review, this well-done edition features thick pages, colorful illustrations, and a hardback cover that ensure the kind of sturdiness meant to last throughout childhood and beyond.

The disadvantage to all this care is the weight of the book might be a bit much for, say, a 7-year-old. However, the sewn-in pages allow the large volume to stay open if kids sit at their desks or, more likely, flop on a bed or floor to read.

Since “epic” is a popular word, even the title has children in mind. As the Introduction says: “We often use it to say something or someone is awesome or spectacular. Whether it’s epic fails, epic movies, or epic cookies, people use this word all the time.”  

However, that opening page goes on to explain the true meaning by saying, Epic is traditionally defined as a special kind of story that shares the deeds of a great hero or tells the history of a special people,” making the Bible “the greatest epic ever written.”

To encourage young readers to make the same discovery, six colorful pages of “Contents” present lively titles and relevant drawings for each of 40 sections in the book.

In addition to the Bible stories themselves, pertinent questions have been scattered in sidebars to help children apply what they’ve learned. For instance, the story of Jonah includes these words: “God wants us to show mercy to others, even our enemies. How can we show this mercy to others today?” 

And, inserted into the story of Daniel, we find the question: “Where or when is it most difficult for you to obey God?” 

In the New Testament account of the betrayal of Jesus, we read: “God uses all things for His glory and our good, even acts as terrible as Judas planning to betray Jesus. How does knowing this help us trust God during difficult times in our lives?”

This may be an excellent choice for acquainting children with God’s Word, but, with questions like those, adults just might find the book speaks to them too!

Mary Sayler, poet-writer, reviewer

June 11, 2018

365 Trivia Twist Devotions

As soon as I saw a review copy of 365 Trivia Twist Devotions: Fun Facts and Spiritual Truths for Every Day of the Year on the BH/Lifeway Bloggers website, I immediately ordered the book as a fun way to splash into summer with “Fun Facts and Spiritual Truths.”

Published by B&H Publishing, this large paperback offers children of all ages (and young-at-heart-adults!) interesting trivia from history along with relevant mini-devotionals based on God’s Word.

For example, in “Stamp of Approval,” this portion of text for May 6 talks about the beginning of mail in England and adds:

“In 1874, the U.S. Post Office printed its first stamps, a 5-cent stamp picturing Benjamin Franklin and a 10-cent stamp picturing George Washington."

The text then goes on to say:

“Did you know that you have been stamped! It’s true. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is our guarantee, our stamp, that we belong to God, and that we will receive all his benefits. (Ephesians 1:13-14). Because we bear the stamp of the Holy Spirit, we know that salvation is ours and that we will live forever with Jesus in heaven.”

“The best news, though, is that the Holy Spirit’s stamp is not only the prepayment of all that is promised to those who believe in Jesus. Right now, Christians have the power and the comfort of the Holy Spirit living in them. We can depend on the Spirit to guide us and enable us to live as God wants us to while we wait for Jesus’ return.”

That page concludes with 2 Corinthians 1:22 as translated by The Message (MSG):

“By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge - a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.”

Going to today’s date, June 11 “Extra-Terrestrial” gives a lively look at E.T. - a super-popular movie from 1982 then says:

“The real visitor to Earth from the outside came about two thousand years ago. We know tons about Him, even His name - Jesus. And He didn’t come from another planet or galaxy; He came from Heaven, from His Father.

“Jesus not only visited Earth, He actually became an ‘earthling,’ a human being. Fully God, He became fully man and was born as a baby in a manger. After living a perfect life, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Then He rose from death and returned to His heavenly home.”

Lord willing, we’ll be there someday too. Meanwhile, God knows we’re not perfect! But His Son is. As we believe in Jesus Christ and confess our wrongdoings, He sets things right with God and empowers us for a life forever lived in Him.

Mary Harwell Sayler
, ©2018

365 Trivia Twist Devotions, paperback

February 2, 2018

100 Days with Jesus: a book review

When Lifeway Bloggers kindly sent me a review copy of 100 Days with Jesus written by Diann Cotton and published by B&H, I saw what a fine gift this book makes for Easter, new Christians, or anyone who wants to get better acquainted with Jesus the Person and Jesus the Messiah.

Those of us who had the blessing of being introduced to Christ years ago might be more apt to use this well-made little hardback as a reminder of the character and power of our Lord.

With an inspiring photograph on the left page and a Bible reference, definition, and “name” of Jesus on the right, brief devotionals on the “Chosen One,” the “Prince of Peace,” the “Reconciler,” the “Source of Eternal Salvation,” and more can provide a springboard for meditation and contemplation of Who Christ IS in our lives.

To give you an idea of the text and format, “Consolation” begins by quoting Luke 2:25-30 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) version then provides a definition of consolation followed by a one-paragraph response including these words:

“Simeon waited his whole life to see the One who would rescue and comfort his people. When he realized You were the One, he had complete peace. He knew that You were the only answer to this broken world…”

The page closes with a question and suggestion:

“To what are you looking for CONSOLATION and comfort? Thank Him, praise Him, and worship Him as your CONSOLATION today!!”

As another example, the page on Jesus as “Head of the Church,” says: “Jesus, You are the HEAD - the One who gives leadership and supplies the spiritual life to the body of believers…” then goes on to ask, “How does this give you peace today, knowing that Jesus is the HEAD OF THE CHURCH?”

May each “name” of Jesus lead us to pray for the church and our part in His Body and help us to receive Christ's consolation for ourselves and the world.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer, reviewer

100 Days with Jesus, hardback


January 2, 2016

Start the New Year with the King James Study Bible

Christians from almost every church denomination have loved the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) for centuries. Our hearts beat to its iambic rhythms. Our breath holds its pentameter when we read the words aloud, and when we memorize a favorite verse or passage of scripture, the KJV is the default setting we often seek for familiarity and a lift of poetic beauty.

The vocabulary in the KJV inevitably lifts us too! Translated in the time of Shakespeare, one can readily speculate on the identities of the members of the translation committee, but regardless of who helped, the English language itself was still in the making, which contributed to the KJV as surely as the KJV has influenced poetry and the English vocabulary ever since. Thus, hence, and therefore, every English-speaking poet, writer, and all-around Christian doth well to hath a KJV.

The vital next step, though, is reading it! And here’s where many have fallen away, thinking they’ll never get what it says. True, you will find most contemporary versions to be an easier read. Without the fullness of vocabulary, though, readers may miss the deeper meanings subtly packed into a Bible verse or story.

So, what’s the solution? If you want it all, the Holman KJV Study Bible has it.

The full-page color illustrations, photographs, and maps ground you in Bible times, places, and original intent, while a “King’s English” glossary defines words that might otherwise be unclear.

With the same outstanding features found in the award-winning Holman Christian Study Bible that I previously reviewed, this edition is one to turn to for in-depth study, Bible research, and the pure joy of reading God’s Word, silently or aloud.

As the only full-color KJV study Bible out there, you can expect to use this edition for many years, so a genuine leather cover makes a wise choice. But, since Holman Bible Publishers kindly sent me a free copy to review, I didn’t have that option. In case that’s your preference, too, I’ll include a link below to the leather, indexed option I normally consider the ideal. However, my review copy of the Holman’s LeatherTouch™ far exceeded my poor expectations for imitation leather. In other words, I like it!

The LeatherTouch™ feels sturdy yet silken to the fingertips. More importantly, unlike every other “fake leather” cover I’ve received, this one lays wide open on my desk or one my lap – the place this excellent edition is very likely to be.

©2016, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is a poet, writer, and lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the Church in all its parts.

Holman KJV Study Bible, leathertouch

Holman KJV Study Bible, genuine leather, indexed

November 4, 2013

The big picture in a Bible storybook

Most Bible storybooks for children include similar stories of people who exhibited great faith and courage – or a lamentable lack of either! Unlike the titles published years ago, however, today’s storybooks often show God’s people as admirable but flawed human beings, who sometimes reflect and sometimes conflict with the ongoing love, goodness, justice, mercy, and forgiveness of our unchanging God.

To emphasize this contrast even more, “A Letter to Parents” in The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook from B&H Publishing clearly states: “’Be good’ is not the message of the Bible. ‘Be saved’ is.” While human heroes come and go, God The Hero remains.

As any child knows, of course, a Hero rescues, protects, and takes care of what needs tending – just as God did from the moment sin ruined the perfection created in the beginning. So, from the beginning, God planned a timely redemption through the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection power of Jesus Christ.

To show this so children can follow the time sequence and see how God’s plan fits together from Genesis to Revelation, each page of these Bible stories includes the unique feature of the “Christ Connection.” For example, the story, “God Created the World and People,” makes this connection: “Colossians 1:15-22 reveals that Christ is ruler over all of God’s creation. All of creation was created through Him, by Him, and for Him. Everything was created to give glory to Christ, but people would choose not to give Him glory. The rest of the Bible reveals how Jesus would restore the relationship between God and man.”

That “Christ Connection” ends with a “Big Picture Question” for discussion and a “Big Picture Answer” too. In the story, “Obadiah the Prophet,” for example, the question, “What is pride?” receives the “Big Picture Answer: Pride is thinking you are better than others, and it steals glory from God.” Or, the story, “Jesus Christ Will Return,” asks the “Big Picture Question: Why will there be no need for a lamp in heaven?” then answers, “God’s glory will be its light and there will be no more night.”

This type of involvement helps the book live up to its name, but in addition, The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook offers an app to be downloaded for free. Then readers can scan the icon on each page and watch the illustration come to life online. With over 140 colorful, kid-appealing illustrations to choose from, children can interact with Bible story people as they interact with God, presenting us with our timeless stories too.

©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook from B&H Publishing