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Debbie from ChristFocus Book Club
4 Stars Out Of 5
October 7, 2009
Debbie from ChristFocus Book Club
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. "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.
Part of a three book devotional series, Stand: Diving Into God's Words focuses on helping teens to "fall in love with Scripture". Alex McFarland digs into Psalm 119 and pulls out eleven topics, one per chapter. He covers God, Scripture, Relationships, Prayer, Truth, Happiness, Blessings, Priorities, Troubles, Attitude, and Goals. A reading guide can be found in the back with room to jot down a personal reflection or "jewel" for each day. My fourteen year old is currently using this as a personal devotion study. He loves the look of it; it's small and skinny and has a glossy, colorful cover. The design makes you want to pick it up and at least flip through it. I know a book can't be judged by it's cover, but it doesn't hurt to be attractive either. The design appeal continues throughout the book, making it easy to read. Thankfully, the content is just as good as the design. At approximately ten pages a chapter, there's enough there to chew on but not so much as to be overwhelming. The writing is easy to understand but with the depth I am looking for in a teen devotional. As I was reading through myself, there was enough for me to contemplate and consider. I enjoyed the short biographical illustrations as well, as did my son. At only eleven chapters, it's a rather short devotional. I'm thinking maybe that's why it's a three part series? Breaking it up into three smaller books is less intimidating to the average teenager than a larger book that would last for a longer period of time. This could also be used as a jumping off point for those who teach teenagers in a church setting or for great discussions with yourhomeschooled junior/senior high schooler. I believe it would work well with boys and/or girls, probably grade six and up.~HomeschoolReviewsandMore.com
I really liked that Alex didnt change any of the big Christian words (transcendent, sovereign, revelation) to dumb it down for teenagers. I believe its important to teach our children what these words mean rather than shirk out and act like they are weird words, just because they are big and/or they dont understand them. That really puts a negative attitude on learning anything new or different from what they already know. The author uses them and defines them well enough to be understood.He talks about worship in its true form:"the fall-on-your-face, dont-look-up-or-you-might-be-blinded-with-glory kind of worship"Worship means to prostrate and in this modern age its not practiced enough, nor is it encouraged in many churches today. Our children should know what worship in its true form is its not about us and what makes us comfortable. Worship is often humbling and that means discomfort in lowering ourselves so that God can be raised up not just figuratively, but literally. I like how Alex draws this out for the reader, and isnt afraid to tell teenagers the Truth, for fear it will cramp his style or not be relevant.I really like how he communicates Gods Law as the Bible has written about it. He expresses how Gods law is for our well-being rather than saying it was old testament ritual and not applied to today. He clearly lays out the difference between the grace abounding message and walking according to the Law and keeping His statues. There is such a difference! True, we are to walk in Gods grace, but not to continue to sin because we know grace is offered.The way the book is set up is that each chapter covers a theme. Each of these are woven throughout Psalm 119. He derives the themes from an expository interpretation which he references in list form at the end of each chapter. I encourage parents with teenagers to get this.