The Portals of Prayer Devotional Bible, which Concordia Publishing House kindly sent me to review, makes a wonderful Christmas gift (if ordered right now!) However, in its attractive gift case, this hardback edition makes a thoughtful gift any time for anyone, especially since it uses a 10.5 font size that most of us can easily read.
In addition to the accurate and clear English Standard Version, this Bible includes over 700 devotions relevant to the text. For example, the heading “Delight In God” quotes Job 27:10, “Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call upon God at all times?” In the devotional that follows, “Job asked if the godless would take delight in the Almighty and call upon Him. The obvious answer is no. Why would they? But do we delight in God?” If so, then….
“How do we reveal our delight in God? One way that Job indicated is to ‘call upon God at all times,’ especially in thanksgiving and praise. But how can we do this when we go through suffering as Job did? Our delight in God does not depend on our outward circumstances, but on who God is, on what He has done and continues to do for us.”
For another example, the prophetic word of Hosea 6:2 tells us, “On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him.” Then the devotional entitled “For A Little While” reminds us:
“Though we suffer now, we have an eternal perspective. For a little while, the Lord says, we will suffer the woes of the sinful flesh. But the third day is coming – the third day of resurrection.
“Easter morn meant that no suffering, disease, or death could touch Jesus again. It was also God’s promise to us of our resurrection day to come….”
With Christmas presently only a few days away, we’re reminded of Luke 2:20 when, “…the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
The devotional “The Night of Hope” follows that scripture of the Nativity then goes on to say:
“As you read the Christmas story anew, focus on Jesus. Focus on God’s love for you in the babe of Bethlehem, born of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. There He is in an animal shelter, having come to be your Savior. Don’t focus on your losses, failing health, tragic disappointments, or wretched sins. Focus instead on that glorious One who came to remove the stain of your sins and fill your heart with hope. This hope is for you and all humanity.”
As occurs in each devotional in this edition, those faith-building words end with a pertinent prayer:
“We praise You, Lord Jesus, begotten of the Father’s love from all eternity, and born to be who You truly are – the Prince of Peace. Amen.”
Portals of Prayer Devotional Bible, ESV, hardback, gift case