“First Words of Jesus” by Stu Epperson, Jr.

This is a nice book to read as we lead up to the Christmas season. Author Stu Epperson offers this sequel to the earlier “Last Words of Jesus”. This book focuses on Christmas and the birth of a king. Of course, the first recorded words of Jesus were captured when Joseph and Mary had to return to Jerusalem after learning that their young savior/son had been left behind. Those words were spoken after the worried parents found their twelve year old son teaching the scholars in the temple.

The book focuses not just on the first words of Jesus, but also of Joseph, Mary, the Magi, the Shepherds as each one provided his/her perspective on the indescribable tale of the birth of a Messiah.

This book is not a theological masterpiece, or a deep study into the early Greek texts. It is, however, an entertaining, informative and inspiring look at the time of Christ’s birth, and leads us to consider the sheer gravity and profundity of the humble birth of the King without an earthly kingdom.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book for its overall appeal and approachability. It can serve as a very positive addition to the library of a serious Christian interested in this topic.

It is a quick and relatively easy read. I would recommend it to most any level of reader, leaning more to the somewhat spiritually mature. You’ll often find yourself nodding in agreement with the author as you pore through this reasonably quick read. Bottom line is that this is just a pretty good book to enjoy during this most festive time of year.

I received a complimentary copy of this book as an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher (Worthy) in exchange for a fair, honest and timely review. No other expectations exist regarding the author, publisher, or reviewer.

“Pray A to Z” by Amelia Rhodes

A very simple format in this book on prayer. Author Amelia Rhodes teaches us in prayer in a simple alphabetical arrangements of subjects. “Prayer A to Z” looks at subjective prayers with each entry giving a Bible passage, a short commentary, and a prayer.

The mode is simple, the material is accessible, and the message is for us to be open to new subjects. I found many of Rhodes comments to be uplifting and encouraging. I was especially touched by her content on the subject of GRATITUDE: In her prayer she evokes: “Father, it’s easy to give thanks when life is full of good things and I don’t have to hunt for the blessings. It can also be easy to forget to give thanks when life is good and things are going well.” How true.

Or, consider a portion of her prayer on the subject of KINDNESS: “Father, I desire to display the fruit of kindness, yet sometimes I don’t now how to do so Through your Holy Spirit, please grow this fruit in me until it overflows into the lives around me. Prompt me with practical ideas to reach our and offer Your loving-kindness to those around me every day.”

Finally, under the subject of PAIN: “Father, I lift up individuals who struggle with physical pain on a daily basis. Pain interrupts their lives and prevents enjoyment of many activities they love. Help all in pain now they are not alone Remind them to bring their pain to you….”

I found this to be an easy to read, easy to understand book with some sound spiritual guidance. I think it would appeal especially to the new Christian, and highly recommend this book to such a reader. I hope you enjoy.

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of this book from the publisher, Worthy Publishing, in exchange for an honest and timely review. There are no other expectations beyond this review, and no connections between this reviewer, the publisher, or the author. Thank you.