Monthly Archives: March 2015

Review of “Why Easter” and “Why Christmas”

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As those of you who have visited The Nerdy Bookworm very often have probably guessed, I have a weakness for children’s books (and holidays), so when I had the opportunity to review children’s books about two of my favorite holidays, I was excited!

Why Easter? and Why Christmas? are both written by Barbara Reaoch, and illustrated by Carol McCarty. Broken down into very manageable daily readings, Why Easter? and Why Christmas? are ideal for the month before each holiday as there are twenty-eight daily readings in each book.

More than just a book of Bible stories, Why Easter? and Why Christmas? consist of a Bible passage, a Bible lesson, discussion questions, a song, and Bible memorization for each day, in small portions ideal for little people!

I believe parents will find Why Easter? and Why Christmas? to be helpful additions to their library, and that children will enjoy the interactive Bible lessons. Overall, I found Why Easter? and Why Christmas? to be well-written, and filled with beautiful, yet simple, illustrations. I would give the books a “B”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Review of “Only God Can Make a Kitten”

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By now, most of you have probably figured out that I love cats. I also have a weakness for children’s books with beautiful illustrations. So when I had the opportunity to review Only God Can Make a Kitten, I was excited!

Written in a lyrical, rhyming format, Only God Can Make a Kitten is a sweet story of a child as he discovers the incredible world that God has made. Beautifully illustrated, Laura Bryant’s illustrations in Only God Can Make a Kitten remind me of my friend Breezy’s artwork.

A lovely story that children will enjoy, parents will appreciate the solid theological foundation of Only God Can Make a Kitten. My only criticism is that I believe the title ought to have been Only God Can, rather than Only God Can Make a Kitten, as the underlying theme is “only God can”, and the kitten plays a minor role in the story.

Overall, I found Only God Can Make a Kitten to be a beautiful and enjoyable book that families will love. I would give the book a “B”.

You can visit the author’s website here. You can visit the illustrator’s website here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Review of “What is Grace?”

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Image courtesy of Christian Book Distributors

There are some words that we haphazardly use, or at least use quite often without giving a thought to their meaning. Grace is one of those words.

In What is Grace? Sean Michael Lucas examines “grace” through the lens of Scripture, bringing clarity both to what grace means, and what it means for us. 

A small, yet immensely helpful little book, What is Grace? walks readers through Scripture, giving both perspective, and further understanding, as we more clearly see the greatness of God, and the sinfulness of man.

I would highly recommend What is Grace? to anyone who would like to better understand the Scriptural meaning of Grace, and how Grace impacts our relationship with God. I would give What is Grace? an “A”.

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And the winner is…

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Image courtesy of Elizabeth Camden

Thank you to everyone who entered the With Every Breath Giveaway, and helped The Nerdy Bookworm celebrate two wonderful years!

And congratulations to the lucky winner:

Library4lyfe!

The winner has been sent an email. If the winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected.

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Meditation, Yoga, and Christians

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Meditation is a “hot topic” in today’s culture, and the church is no exception. As Christians, we are called to be in the world, but not of the world; to be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16, Romans 12:2). So how do we navigate complex issues like meditation?

As Christians, we recognize that Scripture is our standard. What does the Bible say about meditation? Throughout Scripture, we see references to meditation, with it being a subject heavily dealt with in the Psalms. But obviously we reject the Eastern spiritual practices so common today, so what is the Biblical view of meditation?

One of the most helpful ways of better understanding Biblical practices such as meditation is to look back, rather than around. We live in a world where it is fashionable to be extremely syncretistic, selecting what we like from various world religions. Thus, studying the writings of church fathers and leaders, from Augustine and Athanasius to Calvin and Baxter, is often useful in bringing clarity to a difficult topic.

That is where God’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation by David W. Saxton comes in.

An in-depth look at how the Puritans viewed meditation, God’s Battle Plan for the Mind is both easy to read and understand, written with the layman in mind. Drawing extensively from the works of many beloved Puritans such as Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Poole, and Thomas Watson, Saxton covers a great deal of information in his small book, with it never seeming dry or repetitive.

I did, however, feel that Saxton was unduly critical of Catholic forms of contemplative prayer (p.17-19). Contemplative prayers, such as Centering Prayer, Jesus Prayer, and Lectio Divina, trace their Christian roots as far back as the second and third century, and like prayer beads, are still used and valued by many Christians, even outside of Catholicism.

Also, I believe Saxton neglected an important point in his discussion of yoga (p.19-20): it is both possible and helpful to practice a “reformed” style of yoga. The stretches and breathing involved in yoga are not inherently evil, as the human body is the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:16), and the Christian can easily meditate on Scripture while doing the stretches and breathing. (I highly recommend PraiseMoves, which is available from Amazon, but there are other resources, as well.)

While not perfect, God’s Battle Plan for the Mind is ideal for those interested in either a Biblical view of meditation, or a better understanding of Puritan thought. I would give it a “B”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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