Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

May 14, 2019

40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith


Published by Bethany House, who kindly sent me a copy to review, these 40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith spotlight “in-between” verses and bring faith-building insights from speaker-author Laurie Polich Short. As she explains in the Introduction, “The lesser-known Scriptures that we pass over help us discover new angles that can breathe life into our faith.”


In the first chapter, for example, the author considers how, “In the garden, we see God setting the stage to woo rather than control humanity.”  The chapter ends with “Reflection,” followed by three questions that cause us to think about how the text affects us personally. For instance, we're asked, “How does Genesis 3:3 speak to the way you perceive God’s boundaries?”


The chapter, “For Our Own Good,” points out that, “At first glance, the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5 might be viewed as restrictive and limiting. But Deuteronomy 10:13 gives us a perspective into God’s commandments that helps us see them in a different way. Moses tells the Israelites that observing the commandments is not primarily for God’s approval, but for their own good. The freedom we think we’ll find by escaping these boundaries is actually found by living within them.”

The aptly named chapter, “Too Much of You Is Not Enough of God,” begins with a quote from Judges 7:2 when “The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands’.”  By asking Gideon to decrease his armed forces, “The Lord works with Gideon to increase his faith….” 

The prospect of a small army caused concern, of course – as does having what we perceive as too little of anything – but as the author says, “The more fear or insecurity we have, the greater our opportunity to let God shine. Sometimes the very center of your fear will be the place God wants you to go.”

A variation of that theme appears in the chapter, “Trusting the Greater Plan,” which begins with Paul’s words in Philippians 1:12, “I want you to know, brother and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

As the author explains, “We can pray for our circumstances to change, but Paul encourages us to spend our energy and time on what God may want us to do while we are here. This perspective allowed Paul not only to witness to the prisoners and guards assigned to him, but to write letters to encourage the churches he could no longer visit. Had Paul not gone to prison, the New testament might look different – because he would have been visiting the churches instead of being limited to writing to them.”

This reminder of God’s far-reaching plan helps us to realize how much God cares – how much God loves us. Then, as the last chapter suggests, we’re better prepared to focus on “Making the Invisible God Visible.”  How? As 1 John 4:12 says in the opening verse, “No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

By placing our faith in The Word as given in 1 John 4:12, we can see how “The power to show the invisible God to the world is laid out in this verse. The way we love shows people whether the power of God within us is genuine. No amount of theology can prove the existence of God more than this simple act.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, poet-writer, reviewer


To order your copy of this highly recommended book, click here: 40 Verses toIgnite Your Faith.




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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August 22, 2014

The Case For Christ Study Bible


Lee Strobel, the general editor of The Case For Christ Study Bible: Investigating The Evidence For Belief, is an award-winning Christian writer and Zondervan a well-respected publisher of Bibles, but I might not have gotten this edition if it were not for a great sale! Having grown up in The Body of Christ, which is comprised of many denominational parts that I have had the privilege of trying on from time to time, I felt no need for evidence to support my life-long belief in Christ or my conviction of biblical truths or my love for the church.

Almost immediately, however, I realized how much I appreciated the attitude expressed on the welcome page, which said this Bible “doesn’t instruct you regarding what you should or should not believe. Instead, its goal is to help you solidify your confidence in the Bible and its message by providing well-researched information that allows you to investigate the evidence for yourself and come to your own conclusions.” Yes!

Since that’s what I initially sought years ago when I began buying and devouring Bibles like someone starving, I must admit those words piqued my interest. But how would a new reader of God’s Word discover such claims to be true? Case by case, of course! And so, this unique study Bible includes relevant case histories in sidebars throughout the book as highlighted by these headings:

The Case For A Creator highlights God's intricate plans and the wonders of creation.

The Case For The Bible responds to questions about Bible people and stories.

The Case For Christ considers prophecies from the Hebrew Bible and also statements Jesus made about Himself.

The Case For Faith addresses troubling concerns such as why there’s so much suffering in the world.

The Verdict gives summations from distinguished biblical scholars and renowned Christians who have given much prayer and thought to such matters. And, oh, did I mention that Lee Strobel was once an atheist, whose research not only convinced him of Christ but turned him into an outstanding spokesperson for Christ and Christianity?

Looking for examples to show you, I saw “The Case For A Creator” addressing the question: “How do the sun and moon facilitate life?” With the sun the ideal distance from the earth, we learn that, if the sun “were much smaller, its luminosity would not allow high efficiency photosynthesis in plants; if it were much closer, the water would boil away from the planet’s surface. Similarly, our moon is just far enough away and just the right size to stabilize Earth’s tilt. Without the moon’s stabilizing presence, Earth would experience wild temperature swings, with devastating consequences for life.”

In another sidebar, we find examples of “The Case For The Bible” with such facts as “Over 5,700 of these old manuscripts have been found, compared with fewer than 700 copies of Homer’s Iliad and only 9 copies of the historian Josephus’s Jewish Wars.” Interesting!

Elsewhere, “The Case For Christ” asked, “What Is A Theophany?” then said that in this “visible manifestation, or appearance, of God… the forms in which God appears vary greatly, from the burning bush seen by Moses in Exodus 3:2 to the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire in Exodus 13:21-22.” With examples given of additional physical manifestations, the text ultimately explained, “when Jesus lived on Earth, people saw and interacted with God through him.”

Toward the back of the book, before the concordance and a series of colorful maps, other features address “Creeds And Hymns Of The Early Church,” which the Apostle Paul quoted in Romans 1:3-4, 10:9-10, I Timothy 3:16, and other places in the New Testament. We find, too, a list of “Claims Jesus Made About Himself,” which features His avowals to fulfill the law, establish the Kingdom of God, and be the light of the world.

With this recommended edition of the original New International Version (NIV) 1984 to enlighten us, we, too, can bring light to others as we present a convincing case for our faith and show wondrous reasons for believing in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer, is the author of numerous books in all genres, including the poetry book Living in the Nature Poem, published by Hiraeth Press in 2012 with an e-book version released in 2014 and a book of Bible-based poems Outside Eden, published this year by Kelsay Books.

To find reviews of other editions on this blog, type the title of the Bible in the Search box. If you don't find a discussion of an edition you're interested in, contact Mary through her website.


The Case For Christ Study Bible, hardback