Showing posts with label devotionals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label devotionals. Show all posts

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



January 21, 2017

Shalom in Psalms

I love the Psalms. Not only were they the prayerbook of God's people in the early church and synagogue, they contain the prayers Jesus and His apostles prayed in private and in corporate worship too.

Reading these prayer-poems in various translations gives us a broader perspective of their beauty and meaning, but the Tree of Life version (TLV) helps us to hear a uniquely Jewish voice, which Jesus Himself had. Since the TLV especially interested me for its roots in the Messianic Jewish movement, I requested a review copy, which Baker Books kindly sent.

I wasn’t disappointed. Besides better hearing the original voice of the Psalms, commentary by Jeffrey Seif, Glenn Blank, and Paul Wilbur follows each prayer-poem, adding information and insights we might otherwise miss.

As Paul Wilbur tells us in “A Worship Leader’s introduction to the Psalms”:

“This book of meditations on the Psalms has been compiled not only for your edification but with the sincere desire for you to receive revelation that will inspire and provoke you to love and good deeds.

“I pray that the Holy One of Israel who breathed these words into the psalmists so many years ago will revive them in your heart with insight and revelation so that you may finish strong!”


In “A Literary Editor’s Introduction to the Psalms,” Glenn Blank writes:

“The psalms teach us many different ways to pray. Many prayers are deeply personal, reflecting circumstances… to which we can still relate today. Others are corporate, calling us to honor our God as a community.”

The book of Psalms contains worshipful lyrics, poems of thanks and praise, prayers of petition, and wisdom, which “urges us to trust in God’s ways, confess sin and do good, seek answers to difficult questions such as why evil people prosper while good people suffer in this life, and reaffirm God’s faithfulness to those who wait patiently on Him.”

To give you an example of the devotional readings or commentary below each psalm, these words from Jeffrey Seif accompanied Psalm 4:

“People who pursue futility and practice deceit suffer tragic ends, do they not? But ‘prayer changes things,’ as the saying goes, so every human being, though guilty, is but a single prayer away from a changed life – from experiencing God’s graciousness. This psalm assures us that God is particularly predisposed to reach down and help those who reach up and pursue Him.”

Reviewed by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017

Shalom in Psalms, paperback


November 10, 2016

Beyond Suffering Bible, NLT


People everywhere are hurting. If you are too, the Beyond Suffering Bible has you in mind.

Published by Tyndale House Publishers, who kindly sent me a complimentary copy to review, the Beyond Suffering Bible emphasizes the hope found in God as presented in the highly readable New Living Translation (NLT.)

In an opening letter from Joni Eareckson Tada of the Internatonal Disability Center, Joni thanks members of the Christian Institute on Disability (CID) team “who have worked diligently” to bring “a Bible that speaks directly to the hardship of handicapping conditions.” In addition “It showcases the righteousness and mercy of God on behalf of those who struggle under the weight of illness, poverty, and injustice.”

Suffering in silence has often been a common condition for many people with chronic pain or worry, but suffering with dignity, purpose, and prayer deepens a person’s spiritual life and relationship with the Lord.

More than any analgesic, relief comes in applying God’s Word as an ointment, and this edition shows you how. With “A Word from Joni,” devotionals, and articles for caretakers and people with disabilities, disadvantages, or pain, this Bible emphasizes the comfort God brings and also provides resources on the theology of suffering and sanctity of life.

Besides helping readers to connect God’s Word to their daily lives, the edition provides Book Introductions, Profiles, and helpful reading plans.

As those of us with good fortune and minimal pain read the articles and devotionals, we just might find our awareness increasing and compassion needing the relief of prayer and a commitment to help others in Jesus’ Name.

Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-writer, reviewer

Beyond Suffering Bible, NLT, paperback



January 16, 2016

The Word Center: centered on words and The Word



After a few years of trying to maintain several blogs with regular posts on Blogger, I saw a need to simplify! So a new umbrella blog has been set up for The Word Center on WordPress.

Lord willing, the blog will include Bible prayers, Bible poetry, devotionals, articles on writing, biblical principles of Christian healing, and reviews of new editions or translations of the Bible.

If you're a worker of words or a minister of The Word, I pray you will Follow the blog and find what you need. If not, please leave a question, helpful comment, or suggestion for future posts.

Thanks and blessings.

Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2016

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