Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review: NIV Streams in the Desert Bible by L. B. Cowman Edited by Jim Reimann

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

NIV Streams in the Desert Bible by L. B. Cowman Edited by Jim Reimann

Are you in a desert experience? Let your thirsty soul be restored and refreshed through the daily devotions in the NIV Streams in the Desert Bible.
At some point in our lives, we encounter the trials and deep mysteries of the Christian faith. And when we do become like a thirsty traveler, what we most desire is for hope, comfort, and encouragement to burst forth like a sparkling, clear river.

The NIV Bible
translation paired with daily
devotions designed to quench your thirst
for a deeper connection
with the Lord.
The hopeful daily readings in this Bible promise to revive and refresh you—one of today’s generation of faithful sojourners—by providing daily devotions in modern, easy-to-understand language that beautifully captures the timeless essence of the original. These devotionals are presented alongside Scripture using the popular New International Version of the Bible.
While the devotions in this Bible were originally written by L. B. Cowman—a pioneer missionary in Japan and China from 1901 to 1917—this devotional Bible has been edited by James Reimann. It maintains the beauty of the original Cowman writings while making the devotionals more accessible for the readers of today.
• Complete text of the clear, accessible NIV Bible
• 365 daily readings of strength and encouragement from L. B. Cowman
• Foreword by Jim Reimann

My Review:

NIV Streams in the Desert Bible by L. B. Cowman Edited by Jim Reimann is everything that you have come to expect when reading the NIV Bible translation, in addition to the spirit led depth of a daily devotion that will take your life journey to an even greater understanding of our Lord and His gracious love for us. 

This Daily Devotional Bible is organized and edited by Jim Reimann. The author has carefully edited each devotion from L. B. Cowman's original Streams in the Desert and identified a specific reference point of scripture implication that serves to enrich the comprehension of the devotion.  The format encourages a daily reflection utilizing the identified verses and expounds upon the culture, setting, and time period during which the verse was written.  This survey of history  illuminates a greater understanding of the message being conveyed within the verses.  There is also a wonderful Subject Index located in the back of the book for quick reference to a vast array of common themes including:  affliction, anxiety, blessings discouragement, and prayer... just to name a few.

The Bible: NIV Streams in the Desert Bible is quite unique in that the original author penned these ponderous words over 100 years ago, and yet because they are tied to the unchanging Word of God, they are as fresh and applicable (or perhaps even more so) today, as they were over a century ago!  I greatly appreciated the consistent thoughtful writings that make up this Devotional Bible.  Each of the 365 devotions are unique and provide the reader with a confidence in Christ;  they create a level of assurance in the scriptures that is not only refreshing and healing, but inspiring.

Another interesting point about this particular Bible is that a portion of the purchase price will go directly to Biblica, an organization that is dedicated to "transforming lives through God's Word".  Biblica was formerly known as the International Bible Society and they currently hold the initial copyright to the NIV Bible translation.  This organization is currently distributing the NIV Bible to 55 countries around the world.  That's pretty impressive!

I would highly recommend this NIV Devotional Bible to anyone who is wanting a user friendly study Bible filled with deeply personal insight into the NEVER changing Word of God.  This Bible will allow the reader to identify the promises of God and apply them to their life with fresh hope and sound doctrine.

I would like to thank Zondervan through the Book-Look-Bloggers program for this review copy of NIV Streams in the Desert Bible by L. B. Cowman & edited by Jim Reimann.  I was not required to write a favorable evaluation.  The opinions within this report are entirely my own.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Learning To Trust Him More

Genesis 9:13 (NIV)
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Learning to trust Him more.

I'm very much enjoying the "NIV Streams in the Desert" Bible.  It is a  devotional Bible filled with 365 deep devotions from L.B. Cowman that have been set alongside the NIV scripture translation.  The single most obvious detail that I find incredibly astounding about these devotions is that they were written by this man over 100 years ago, and yet, they are as relevant and timely today as they must have been back then.  The reflections are complex and thought provoking and, at the same time, hold simple truths.    

I don't know what this day has in store for you, nor do I know what it holds for myself, but this short excerpt from one of the devotions, will surely bathe your soul in rest....I know it did mine.

"Remember, clouds are always moving ahead of Gods cleansing wind. 

I cannot know why suddenly the storm
Should rage so fiercely round me in its wrath; 
But this I know--God watches all my path,
And I can trust.

I may not draw aside the unseen veil
That hides the unknown future from my sight,
Nor know if for me waits the dark or light;
But I can trust.

I have no power to look across the tide,
To see while here the land beyond the river;
But this I know--I will be God's forever;
So I can trust."     L. B. Cowman

Thank you for the promise you have given to always be watching over us and to gently remind us that we are "Yours forever".  May You continue to show us Your love and favor today.  Help me to have more trust and less doubt.
In Jesus name,

Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and her Joy Jars by Erik Rees

The book, Never Ever Give Up:  The Inspiring Story of Jessie and Her Joy Jars by Erik Rees with Jenna Glatzer is a beautiful message of hope and courage lived out in a little girl's life as she faced cancer head on.  In this book, Jessie Rees challenges each one of us to make this world a better place by thinking of other's needs before our own and reaching out to spread joy through acts of kindness...especially to those children battling cancer.
This is a tender and beautiful book
that challenged me to look
beyond myself to the needs
 of others.
"It started with a simple question: How can we help them? It became an international movement called NEGU: Never Ever Give Up. When Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 11, she chose to focus not on herself but on bringing joy and hope to other children suffering from cancer.

During the ten months she battled cancer, she and her family worked in the “Joy Factory” (originally their garage) making JoyJars®—packages filled with toys, games, and love for other kids with cancer. Jessie first handed them out personally at the hospital where she was being treated, but the effort blossomed quickly and there were soon thousands of JoyJars® being distributed across the United States and to over fifteen countries. Today, more than 100,000 kids have received JoyJars®, and they continue shipping each week to kids in over 200 children’s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.

Jessie lost her battle with cancer in January 2012, but her message lives on in the Jessie Rees Foundation, which has become a beacon of hope for families fighting pediatric cancer.

Join the movement at " (Excerpt from the book cover.)

My Review by Karen Wiser

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  This is a perfect time to read an informative book about this dreadful disease and increase our understanding of how we can help.  Never Ever Give Up is just the book!

Never Ever Give Up by Erik Rees with Jenna Glatzer is a wonderful book and I highly recommend reading it.  This tenderly written true story narrated by the father of Jessie Rees, elicits so much emotion due the weightiness of the subject matter, pediatric cancer, that I must confess, I was exhausted after reading it.  I'm sure that being a parent, I frequently put myself in the father and mother's position as they walked through each new trial of this horrible diagnosis pronounced on their previously healthy and vivacious daughter.  The raw emotion and the transparency in which the book is written provide the reader with a microscopic look at the behind the scene details of such an earth shattering diagnosis and how it impacts the entire family. 

This book touched me in several ways.  First, I will now be better equipped to help a family who is going through the dreadful diagnosis of pediatric cancer.  At the end of the book, the author lists "25 Ways To Help a Family With a Child Fighting Cancer."  This is a tangible list with practical things to do for the family, including ideas like making a meal or filling up the car gas tank to cleaning their house or babysitting the siblings. 

Secondly, I have a much deeper understanding of the exhaustion, confusion, fear and turmoil that a family will go through when they receive a pediatric cancer diagnosis. The book provides a candid look into this family's experience which will allow me to be a great deal more empathetic should I ever be confronted with this horrific situation. 

Finally, after reading Never Ever Give Up , I am reminded of the simplicity of a child's heart and faith through Jessie's determination to make her situation more about helping others than focusing on herself.  I am flabbergasted by her selfless acts of kindness as she made the Joy Jars and chose to center her life on bringing relief to others despite the pain and suffering she was in the middle of.  I am completely in awe at the way Jessie and her family have chosen to make something good out of this terrible situation.  It has given me hope and spurred me on to literally "Never Ever Give Up" on reaching a hurting and lonely world, one person at a time! 

This book is narrated with such grace and detail that the reader can't help but feel that they actually had the privilege of meeting Jessie!  It is eloquently written and has an authenticity that cannot be underscored.  What a great example Jessie Rees left for us in her short time here on earth.  "I you?"  (NEGU Nation)

I would like to thank Handlebar and Zondervan Publishing for this review copy of Never Ever Give Up.  The opinions in this review are my own.  It is a privilege and honor to be a part of this book launch.