“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.
Hope for New Beginnings. is on tour with Celebrate Lit.
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.
About the Authors
Dr. Howard A. Eyrich’s career has spanned more than sixty years.
He has filled various roles including seminary professor and president, pastor and church planter. Dr. Eyrich retired as the Director of Counseling Ministries at Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama;
He has served on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Birmingham Theological Seminary, Trinity Seminary, the Biblical Counseling Coalition, and The Owen Center, as well as various Presbytery and Presbyterian Church in America denominational committees to name some of his major roles.
His publishing efforts include two books as a solo author, three books with a co-author, and numerous chapters in significant volumes in the biblical counseling field, as well as articles for The Journal of Biblical Counseling and several other magazines.
Dr. Eyrich and his wife Pamela have two grown children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Retirement for him is a time for ministry. He writes, teaches, preaches, and travels for the Kingdom. He also enjoys the hobbies of model railroading, hunting, and shooting.
Dr. Eyrich is available to speak in conferences, fill pulpits, and for intensive marriage interventions, especially with ministries couples.
Shirley Crowder was born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries.
She and co-author Harriet E. Michael grew up together on the mission field and have been life-long friends. Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested in and through a myriad of ministry opportunities including: biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, writing, and music.
She is a biblical counselor and is commissioned by and serves on the National Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection. Several of her articles have appeared in “Paper Pulpit” in the Faith section of The Gadsden Times, and in a David C. Cook publication. She also writes articles for Life Bible Study, Woman’s Missionary Union, InspiredPrompt.com and TheAddictionConnection.org. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to six published books, and she has a four-book devotional series she co-wrote that is scheduled for publication over the next couple of years.
Shirley has spiritual children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren serving the Lord in various ministry and secular positions throughout the world.
More from Shirley
New beginnings are a regular part of life. Sometimes they are well planned, and we eagerly anticipate the future. At other times, we are reticent to move forward into the new beginning. As we think about new beginnings it is appropriate for us to look at the beginning of God’s Word—the Bible.
In Genesis 1:1 ESV, we read, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Here God is the subject, as He is the subject of the entire Bible. From this verse we learn something very important about God—He existed before the universe was created. God has always been, is now, and will always be, present.
Next, we learn that from nothing God created the universe and everything within it. He is the holy, sovereign, majestic, powerful, all-knowing God.
Every time I read these first few verses of the Bible, I am amazed that with just four little words, Let there be light (verse 3), the Creator God spoke into existence light that drove away the darkness. What astounding power! From these verses, we learn that God is the Author of light. Other places in Scripture tell us that God is light itself (1 John 1:5), and James calls Him the Father of lights (James 1:17).
Think about it:
here we are today, many years since God spoke those four little words, Let there be light, and as John tells us, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). The Light—God—brings clarity, order, and understanding, while darkness is seen as evil, void, and chaotic.
I watched the coverage of a solar eclipse on several websites. It was so interesting to listen as a myriad of scientists and others explained the wonders of the universe, and while the science behind it all was quite interesting to me, the coverage fell flat. Why? Because it was totally devoid of any mention of Creator God. Only one man explained the solar eclipse through the lens of God’s Word. As he explained the science behind the solar eclipse, he also explained that THE God of the Universe who created everything that we see, holds the entire universe in His hands, and controls everything that happens, including a solar eclipse.
In the midst of a new beginning or anything else going on in your life, the truths in these passages are wonderful reminders that we can step confidently into any new beginning as we trust in the God who was here in the beginning, is here with us now, and who will be with us always. And what a comfort it is to remember that the light of God dispels the darkness and chaos of sin.
Texas Book-aholic, February 15
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 16
Older & Smarter?, February 17
Inklings and notions, February 18
For Him and My Family, February 19
deb’s Book Review, February 20
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 21
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 22 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, February 22
CarpeDiem, February 23
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 24
SPLASHES of Joy, February 25
Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 26 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, February 27
Just the Write Escape, February 28
To celebrate their tour, Shirley and Howard are giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.