Tuesday, March 4, 2014

inScribed Collection by Donna Gaines (Leaving Ordinary), Wendy Blight (Living "So That"), Heather Zempel (Amazed and Confused), Jenifer Jernigan (Dive Deeper)

Since this is a collection of Bible studies I am going to do it a bit different. First I'm going to share with you the description that Thomas Nelson gives for these extraordinary studies and then I will share my thoughts. 

"Leaving Ordinary" by Donna Gaines
The deepest longing of the human heart is to know and be known by God. God longs for an intimate relationship with us as well. But how do we develop that kind of relationship with a holy God? It is one thing to long for such a relationship, but quite another to experience intimacy with Him. In Leaving Ordinary, Donna Gaines shares from her personal experience how prayer can become the channel that links the believer’s heart to the heart of God.
God gave the pattern of the tabernacle to the Israelites. It was a temporary and portable dwelling for His glory. Through it God taught them how to approach and worship Him before He led them to their reward—the promised land. Using the tabernacle and its articles as a guide, Donna teaches readers how to interact with God in that secret place of true intimacy that leads to worship. Your ordinary daily practice of prayer can become an extraordinary encounter with the living Lord. Leaving Ordinary is essential reading for anyone who desires to enter into and experience the reality of God’s presence.
"Living "So That"" by Wendy Blight
In today’s world, it’s tough to make everyday decisions, let alone decisions that honor God. Our culture is increasingly driven by selfish desires. However, as Christians, our lives should not be self-centered and static; they should be others-centered and active, making a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Living "So That" is a fresh approach to understanding God's Word, focusing on many of the powerful "so that" verses in Scripture, including Jesus Came So That. . .; God Spoke So That. . .; Pray So That. . .; Trials Come So That. . . . Through her approachable style, personal examples, and biblical teaching, Wendy equips readers to take what they study in the Word of God and practically live it out in order to impact the world around them. The result is a renewed appreciation for the power and applicability of Scripture. Through practical examples and biblical truths, Wendy helps readers gain a new perspective on daily living, equipping them to apply these biblical truths to present-day decision-making.
"Amazed and Confused" by Heather Zempel
Most people have prayed for something or someone in earnest, seeking God’s will, only to be left confused by God’s response. Sometimes we ask, “Why would a good God allow bad things to happen to good people?” InAmazed and Confused, Heather Zempel tackles this question head-on by exploring the book of Habakkuk.
When the prophet Habakkuk prayed that God would bring change to the backsliding nation of Israel, this issue came to the forefront. Habakkuk begged God for revival and that He would turn the hearts of faithless people back to Him.
God’s answer to Habakkuk was, “Take a look at the nations and watch what happens! You will be shocked and amazed” (1:5, The Voice). The vision God gave Habakkuk was one of warfare and exile. How do you respond when God answers your prayers in a way that seems out of line with his character and promises?
Amazed and Confused proceeds systematically through the book of Habakkuk, exploring the prophet’s prayer, God’s response, and the prophet’s journey from confusion to worship. This interactive Bible study is the perfect choice for those who are hurting and confused about God’s responses to their prayers.
"Dive Deeper" by Jenifer Jernigan
Equip yourself to fall deeply in love with God's Word through this unique, interactive Bible study. Delving into the book of Ephesians, Dive Deeper is a tool for women—those who might be satisfied and content with their Bible study and for those who find themselves fearful or numb—to dive deeper into the living and active Word of God.
Dive Deeper comes from Jenifer Jernigan's heart. As a preacher’s daughter, she grew up with some pretty heavy expectations to live up to. Jenifer found herself becoming numb to the things of God because the Bible stories were all too familiar. She longed to break through the serene surface of her safe place and dive deeper into scripture. She wanted to fall in love with the stories she knew so well. Over time, Jenifer learned to do just that. Her unique methods are shared in this one-of-a-kind study. Dive Deeper takes readers by the hand and jumps with them into the exhilarating waters of Bible study.
My thoughts:  These studies are fantastic in every way. First, I simply love the books. The style and the pages are inviting and beautiful. I went through, "Dive Deeper", first and my immediate thoughts were that this was going to be my favorite by far. But then I opened up, "Living So That", and was blown away. This just had to be my favorite of the study. Not so fast. I began reading, "Leaving Ordinary", and again found it to be far above my expectations. I ended with, "Amazed and Confused", and this too was exceptional. 

The ladies share from their own lives stories that will encourage and inspire. They give great Biblical examples and use the Word in such an easy and understanding way. Get your pen and your highlighter ready. I can honestly say that this is one of the best studies I have had the pleasure of reading. I can't wait to actually sit down and go through slowly and on my own time to truly soak in each and every morsel of wisdom these ladies share. 

These are wonderful studies to do on your own or in a small group. They would make for excellent Sunday school lessons. Maybe just get together once a week with girlfriends and go over all you have learned for the week. 

I was familiar with Wendy Blight from Proverbs 31 Ministries. I too have read posts from Jenifer Jarnigan from Internet Cafe Devotions. Donna Gaines and Heather Zempel are new to me, but as with each of these ladies they have their own unique style of writing and teaching. With each study there are valuable lessons to learn. I would highly recommend these selections for Bible study. 

If there is one thing I would have to list as a dislike it would be that much of the scripture is from The Voice translation and for me, The Voice isn't one that I connect with, but you may very well fall in love with God's Word through this translation. Not all scripture is from The Voice translation, but when not emphasized it is. That would be my only complaint, but with each study I do, I always have my favorite Bible on hand, with a few others and compare the scripture so I can understand in full measure the meaning. 

This collection of inScribed Bible studies is a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 


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