My friend Susan Chamberlain Shipe sent me this book, and I’m glad she did! I’ve read many Christmas devotionals, and what makes this one unique is Susan’s fun writing style. In her retelling of Mary’s visit with Elizabeth in Luke 1:39-40, Susan says that we all have a “favorite aunt,” and Elizabeth must have been that person to Mary. I enjoyed this book because it feels like my “favorite aunt” wrote it–the one with interesting stories who always makes me laugh and think in a new way.
I also like that these devotions are brief for this very busy time of year. Even though we’re halfway through the Advent season, this book is still a good read for the rest of December. I read it through in one setting. Each day offers interesting tidbits of knowledge about the Christmas story. Susan sprinkles in pictures and personal stories, which add dimension. She features one single reflection question at the end of each day. Short and sweet.
I enjoyed the lighthearted feel of 31 Days of Christmas. You will enjoy it too. Thank you to Susan for a free review copy of this book!
If you want to follow Jesus more closely, this is an ideal devotional for you. My friend Suzanne Eller writes with warmth, depth, and fresh insight into the book of Luke. The book has 260 devotional readings featuring a verse or two about Jesus’ life and ministry. In a few short paragraphs, Suzie shares wisdom and insight, gently encouraging and reshaping my outlook. Here’s an excerpt I enjoyed from Day 11, Waiting, on Luke 5:3.
Waiting is not an idle part of our walk with Jesus. For some of us, it’s a time of rest. For others, he’s asking that we pause long enough to clearly hear his instructions…Waiting is never wasted, and it just might be where God’s greatest work takes place in us.
Each day features several references to “push out deeper” if you want to learn more. One detail I enjoy on each page is the “Come With Me” box. It’s just one or two sentences, written as if Jesus is speaking to me. The Come With Me message is a personal invitation to engage, and I sense Jesus calling me through this book.
If you’ve read Suzie’s book Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads, this devotional is a perfect companion. Both books would make a great gift set for someone special.
Suzie gave me this devotional as a guest at her Come With Me retreat. Thank you Suzie!
Reading this book by Annie F. Downs reminded me of visiting with my younger sister, the millennial (I’m a Gen X gal). Her style is casual, funny, and hip, and I found it refreshing, especially on this topic. She is real and unpretentious and freely shares stories from her own life.
Here’s an excerpt I enjoyed:
This morning when I did not like the look of the jeans I put on, I told myself so. Old Annie would have continued a barrage of ugly remarks about my looks, but instead, I looked in the mirror and said, “Hey, put on a different pair. No biggie.” And I shook it off and changed…If you are going to be the person who does the brave things God is calling you to do, speaking life and developing beautiful things in others with your words, it begins with doing that for yourself.
This book would make a good gift for a high school graduate, a college graduate, a new mom, or a woman changing careers. It’s geared for millennial readers, but I also enjoyed it myself as a light, entertaining read with nuggets of truth.
I received a free review copy of this book from the Booklook Bloggers Program.
Both Suzanne Eller and Annie F. Downs are featured in this book, along with my blogging & writing friends Bev Rihtarchik who writes at Walking Well With God, and Christie Purifoy, who I interviewed on my blog earlier this year. So many talented women share their real-life stories with humility and grace in this wonderful book.
If you regularly read the (in)courage blog, you’ll recognize the style. Thoughtful, sensitive, and quietly contemplative. I’m so excited that I will be featured there on Dec. 23, and I hope you’ll put it on your calendar to read my post!
This book would make a great gift for a blogger and aspiring author, a mom in the trenches, an empty nester, or a woman who simply needs a break from the fast-paced life. An imperfect woman seeking God’s grace and rest would treasure this gift. It comes with an index of all the writers, links to their blogs, and a handy scriptural reference too.
Netgalley generously provided me a free online copy, and I also purchased a print copy for myself! One of my favorite reads from 2017.
A Moment to Breathe: A perfect devotional for a woman who needs rest and encouragement.
Of all the books in the Bible, I probably spend the most time reading Psalms and Proverbs. That’s why I chose to review this book, and it’s a beauty.
The readings are undated, so you can begin this book any time of year. The first 205 readings feature the Psalms, and the remainder focus on Proverbs. Dozens of women contributed to the devotional writing. I like the fact that each writer takes a turn for several devotions in a row, which provides a feeling of consistency.
Most of the women writers are Bible teachers, and the readings have an instructive quality that I truly appreciate. The teaching focus is primary, but the devotions also feature plenty of stories from the women’s lives and application questions to add relevance to daily life.
I also like the fact that every reading includes several blank lines to record a prayer based on what you learned from the reading. If you use this resource every day in 2018, I guarantee that your faith will be stronger and your walk with God will be closer.
This book would make a wonderful gift for the woman who loves to dig deep in God’s Word. The only caveat is the print is on the small side, so it may not work well for someone who needs larger print.
I received a free review copy from B&H Books.
This is the only book in today’s collection that isn’t specifically meant for women. If you know a man who enjoys devotionals, this would make an excellent gift.
Author James Merritt is a pastor and teacher who shares so much knowledge in this unique book. Since I’m so familiar with the Psalms, I really enjoyed the way he shares so many facts and historical details to enrich my understanding. I’ll give you some examples of his wisdom on Psalm 23:
- A sheep can suffocate if it falls down. The shepherd must help it up or it will suffer and die, just as we cannot survive without God’s rescue.
- To restore a fallen sheep, the shepherd must massage the sheep’s legs, turn the sheep over to take pressure off the stomach, and speak in reassuring tones to calm the sheep. God’s care for us is personal and tender.
- The shepherd’s rod could kill predators and his staff would corral wayward sheep. God’s Word protects and guides us.
- If a certain fly lands in a sheep’s nose, the larva will drive the sheep mad and cause it to starve. By anointing the sheep’s head with oil, the shepherd healed the sheep, just as God heals us.
I could give many more examples of the useful, practical applications in this book. It’s been a joy to read, and anyone who wants to learn more about the Psalms would love it.
Thanks goes out to Netgalley for a free review copy of this book.
Disclosure: If you purchase any of the books above through the links provided, I receive a small commission. Thank you for your support of my writing ministry!
Question for you: Which book or books look most interesting to you? I love hearing your thoughts in the comments section!
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