“Why are you chopping up that book?”
Okay, is it just me, or does this blog post open like Charlotte’s Web? I keep expecting Fern to look up at me with those big eyes, flip a braid over one shoulder, and demand that I not destroy a perfectly good book!
My answer probably made little sense. “I want to spiral bind it.”
Okay, so my mind was fixated on the task, okay? I set it aside and looked up. Blinked. The look on her face. I snickered.
“It’s a devotional. I want to write in it, and I can’t do that with this binding, so I’m cutting the spine off, trimming it, and punching it to be a spiral-bound book. That way, writing will be easier. I might even add a few pages of paper in there for notes. We’ll see.”
Apparently, that was an even crazier statement.
“Since when do you do more than skim over a devotional?”
That one was easy to answer. “Since someone wrote one I want to do.”
Ages ago, I requested a review copy of Hope for New Beginnings. It might be a risk, but the synopsis gave hope that it would have some meat and little extraneous fluff. I got it and it delivered.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested and received a free review copy of this book. Opinions, as usual, are mine… free… and probably obnoxious.
My 3 Favorite Things about Hope for New Beginnings.
Devotionals are rarely my first choice in reading. At the risk of sounding even more self-righteous than I actually am, I’d rather just read the Bible most of the time. #becauseBible.
However, sometimes having someone directing your study in general directions is really nice—if you don’t spend the whole time spitting out bones. And that’s actually one of the biggest problems I have with many devotionals—the number of opinions overriding basic Scripture. Give me the Word, not your opinions of what I should think about the Word.
So what are my three favorite things?
That the authors used Scripture as much or more than anecdotal illustrations.
So many devotionals are really just short stories with a Bible verse tacked on. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what they’re being billed as. However, when you expect to learn what the Bible says about something, you kind of expect to read the Bible itself. So thank you, Crowder and Eyrich, for putting the most important thing first in Hope for New Beginnings. They even created a list of all the references used in the book and added it to the back. Seriously, I don’t often see that anymore!
Recently, a lot of Christian nonfiction has disappointed me with rambly, illogical layouts and a serious lack of organization. Not so for Hope for New Beginnings. This book’s daily/weekly devotionals flow from one to the next, and they even let you know who is writing which. By the time I got about halfway through the book, I could guess based on writing style, which shows that their individual voices came through. But here’s the thing. It reads smoothly—as if only one person wrote it, too. How did they do that?
This may feel repetitive with the last two, but I have to say it. This wasn’t a fluffy book. Neither is it a didactic nor pedantic tome, either. Instead, in a relatable, approachable style, the authors take the Scriptures they hope you will infuse into your life and show how they affect your life as well as how to apply them to your daily walk with Jesus.
It’s a rare occasion that I recommend a devotional.
Well, this is that occasion. Although I didn’t examine every word in the book for Scriptural accuracy, I did give it a solid reading and found nothing that sent off red flags. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, but it does mean that I’m not adding a bunch of caveats. It also means I’m happy that I requested and received my free review copy, and even more thrilled that I can give a favorable review. That doesn’t often happen with Christian nonfiction these days.
Of course, if there’s something I missed in the book, I’d love to know about it.
About the Book
Book: Hope for New Beginnings.
Author: Shirley Crowder, Howard A. Eyrich
Genre: Non-fiction / Religion / Devotional
Release Date: November 2018
Hope for New Beginnings.: Devotions for the Adventure – Stepping into any new beginning not knowing what is ahead, is exciting and unsettling at the same time. Our Hope, as Christ-followers, rests in knowing that we do not move forward in our own strength, but in the strength of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We pray these devotions will help prepare your heart to learn from the Lord as He affirms His steadfast love that gives the strength and hope needed to walk boldly into whatever new beginning the Lord has in store for you.
These devotions will guide your thoughts toward the biblical truths presented in the background and focal Scripture passages. Each devotional has exercises (you will choose at least one to do each day) that lead you to interact with the biblical truths presented and gain a deeper understanding of the truths in each devotion. Biblical Counselors, when you are ready to dismiss a counselee, this makes a great assignment for the next thirty-one days, then have the counselee come back for a final check-up.