Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Review: Diving Into God's Words

Diving into God's Words cover

Stand: Diving into God's Words
A discovery of Psalm 119
by Alex McFarland

Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
First Released: 2009

Author Website

Source: Review copy from publisher

Back Cover Description:
There's no better way to know God than to understand His Words. Right in the middle of the Bible stands one of the richest chapters, Psalm 119. It's 176 verses about the stuff that makes up real life: having relationships, setting priorities, making decisions, and living in the truest form of reality.

In this 22-day journey, you'll unlock the power of Psalm 119 for your life and future. Stories, real-life illustrations, and even trivia from biblical history will help you discover timeless truths that have shaped the universe--and will shape you. So dive right in.

Diving Into God's Words is a teen devotional for both males and females. It explores what Psalm 119 has to say or demonstrate about God (His character), the importance of knowing Scripture, prayer, truth/moral purity, happiness, blessings, priorities, troubles, attitudes, and goals.

The book has 11 chapters and then a short 22-day reading guide for meditating on Psalm 119. The author assumes the reader has read Psalm 119. He simply makes comments on the parts pertaining to the chapter's subject and concludes with specific Psalms 119 verses at the end of the chapter.

The author often provides a quick story to illustrate the points he makes and includes sidebar quotes and trivia pertaining to the subject.

This devotional doesn't dig very deeply into any one subject, but it is nicely Scripture-focused and God-focused and covers many important topics. Overall, it teaches good stuff, and I'd recommend it to teens.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter Four (pages 43-44)
[What Psalm 119 says about prayer]
Ask for obedience
Obedience to God's Law won't earn you salvation. However, obedience to His [Teachings] is both something God desires for us and something we will desire as we grow closer to Him. I don't know about you, but there are some things I pray for that I'm not sure God wants me to have--because my prayers are too often selfish. But when you pray to be obedient to what God has shown you, you can be sure that you are praying a prayer that is absolutely in the center of God's will for your life. Pray for obedience. Pray for the strength to be obedient in difficult situations. Pray that your Christian brothers and sisters will be obedient to God....Pray, even, that they will obediently and lovingly chastise you when you are disobedient!

Ask for unfailing love
It may seem strange or illogical to ask for God's unfailing love (see verse 41). After all, if it is unfailing, why would we need to pray for it? Won't it always be there whether we pray for it or not? That's sort of like praying, "God, please don't repeal gravity today. Please don't let me fly off into space!"

This verse gets at the heart of why we pray. We pray because God asks us to, because it brings Him glory, and because prayer matures us. God's love is unfailing, but we often fail to remember it. By having this prayer ever on our lips and in our minds, we have one of God's fundamental attributes--His love--constantly before us.

Read the introduction and chapter one.

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