"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

Friday, December 12, 2014

"DISCOVER GOD'S HEART..."

NIV DEVOTIONAL BIBLE

"... Explore the King's Love for His People ..."
"... on a cover-to cover journey through the Bible"

I definitely hoped to review this NIV Devotional Bible before the holidays are upon us so that if you are looking for a new reading plan or a perfect gift for someone, "whether they are a seasoned traveler or just starting out on their first steps" in God's story through the Bible, you would consider this one. 

There are 6 Reading Plans made available right within this Bible; of course, the devotional part is the reason that I chose this for my new reading plan to discover God's heart by opening my eyes to His good heart as I hear Him by reading His Word and experience Him more intimately as I "walk thru the Bible." In fact, this Zondervan/HarperCollins NIV Bible is in partnership with "Walk Thru the Bible". This cover-to-cover journey is beautifully done!

Although I would much rather be holding the actual print version of this Bible in my hands, I have the ebook version. Just looking at the cover of this book, drew me in to wanting this one. Its "medieval castle door" look with a bronze trim and a carved keyhole gazing in to a path leading straight into the Light and the heart of God. I was so intrigued by the cover of this Bible, I knew that the 365 devotions, indexed beautifully, would engage me better in what I was reading. I downloaded the sample, well ahead of the release or when BookLook Bloggers made it available to choose to review. 

I never thought I would ever be reviewing a Bible, but this is one that I could not pass up! This is my first Bible review. So I took the book description at its word that this NIV would "help me through the tough spots such as Numbers and Leviticus while giving them me deeper understanding of the Scriptures and connecting them me with the heart of its Author." That as a "Readers (I) will experience rich insights into the original contexts of Scripture, and God's heart will be unveiled in new ways." This became my motivation to put this to the test and read specifically those books, one of the major prophets and a sample of the New Testament to give my honest opinion in my review of whether this is true and does help me. I considered doing one of the 30 day reading plans but then I decided that I wanted to save those for later. {Trust me, I will be using and sharing much more from this Bible here on my site.} I also considered trying the 90 day tour but that would only postpone me getting this review out. I am not one to readily challenge a publisher's description, but considering myself a "seasoned" NIV Bible reader after 50+ years, this was one that I was ready and glad for the opportunity to do. 

This "NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible..." continues with, what I call a "medieval golden door frame" inside the cover for each devotion and opening introduction of each of the 66 books of the Bible, easily distinguishing those pages from the rest. I found this new read through format to be divided into manageable portions for the most part. I love the indexes and found the introduction instructions (especially for an ebook) to be extremely helpful to be able to refer to or have available to ease the access to reading. 

Each devotion includes 3 parts: a summary section of the Scripture passage ("God's Story"), an application section that reveals God's good heart ("The King's Heart"), and an "Insight" section that ties each passage into the rest of God's great story. As I paged through the Days in each book and the "titles", I began to journal the 365 days index and titles to take visual note of how this is woven together and I clearly could see the "divine fingerprints" of God relating each story together from beginning to end. I enjoyed the experience of detailing the imprint knowing that as I take time each day in God's Word that I actually will encounter Him and His heart in a much deeper and fuller way. I have no doubt that I will be "exploring the King's love" by "discovering God's heart" in these devotions and pages of God's Love Letter to us that I will treasure anew.

I anxiously await the 2015 new year to begin this reading plan with a new passion in this lifelong pursuit of God and His Word and you will also. If you don't believe me, download a sample and see for yourself or better yet get a copy for you and/or someone that may need God's Kingly and Fatherly love in their heart by getting to know His heart. Clearly, you can tell that I highly recommend this NIV version so that you, too can "discover God's heart" afresh.

This review is really done at this point however, I'd like to entice you to come along and take this journey cover-to-cover, at least for a minute longer here and then with God and this NIV Bible. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. 

Here is a glimpse of one, through this keyhole into God's heart ... and the introduction to each book is just as concise and understandable, giving you the author and dates covered (whenever possible), the audience, and Theme (which connects each book to the concept of "discovering God's heart" and ties together surveying the entire plot line of God's story with His Heart for us). {I really wish that I could do my white "box" here like the keyhole this Bible has ... and as authentic as an opening to see God's Light reflected in Jesus} My choice was made for this season: Jesus' birth


"Matthew 1 – 4
God’s Human Family Tree

God’s story

Finally God unveils the masterful story-plan he has been crafting for centuries.
The Redeemer he has been pointing to and promising is none other than his own Son. Audacity of audacities, God has stepped into a single cell in the womb of a woman — to become the God-Man. Deity has a human family tree.

God’s Spirit visits a young woman, Mary, who is soon pregnant with God’s Son.
God sends an angel to Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, to explain the incredible thing he
has done. Soon God’s Son is born. He is Immanuel, “God with us.” Following the angel’s instructions, Joseph names the baby Jesus — “Yahweh saves.”

Following the star God has positioned in the sky, scholarly magi from the east
come to Bethlehem. Through their visit, Herod, the evil Roman-appointed king of
Judea, hears about Jesus and orders an infant massacre. God leads his Son’s family to safety.

Years pass and Jesus’ relative John begins to prepare the people for Jesus,
challenging them to change their lives and baptizing them in the Jordan River.
Jesus comes to be baptized too, and God declares how deeply He loves His Son.

The Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness to fast. After 40 days Satan comes
to tempt Him — perhaps he can cause the Son to sin. Jesus clings to the truths He knows about His Father. Beaten, Satan leaves.

John is imprisoned and Jesus calls his first disciples — it is a changing of the
spiritual guard.

The King’s heart

It’s a story line so astounding that God had to reveal it in pieces over centuries:
God the Creator became one of His creations.

Most of the religious leaders never were able to wrap their heads around it.

But it was God’s plan all along. God could have arrived on earth at any point.
Instead he chose to cultivate a family tree over centuries, to graft himself into the story of His people and then to graft us in too.

Perhaps God knew that if He just arrived on earth without preparing us, no one
would have believed Him. It is just too audacious. But since His goal was to convince His people of His love, God came slowly — loving long. God chose that the way He would save us would be personal, working through people. It declares God’s sole heart-intention: “I want to be close to you.”

Insight

The book of Matthew arranges Jesus’ genealogy into three groups of 14 men — or six groups of seven men. Seven was a highly significant number to God’s people.

Jesus being born as the seventh group of seven made it clear — God was doing
something wonderful.

For your next reading, go to page 1147. "


Disclosure of material connection: I received this book free from the publisher Thomas P. Nelson/Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers.com book review blogger's 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

APOLOGY

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging rather than edit each one. So if you clicked from somewhere and ended up here and the post was unavailable, I am sorry. It would be too much work for me to go back through each one and fix. I guess I'm still learning. I apologize also to anyone who subscribes that perhaps received many old ones in your email. There's somewhat of an explanation on 7/19/17.
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Peggy