ESV Prayer Bible by Crossway Review

pb1 Description:

Let your prayer life be inspired by 400+ prayers of the early church fathers, Puritans, Protestant Reformers, and more, linked to key passages of Scripture in the ESV Prayer Bible. Created to help you reflect on God’s Word through prayer, this volume demonstrates the connection between the words God has spoken to us in the Bible and the words we speak back to him in prayer.

  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • 400+ historical prayers interspersed throughout the Bible text
  • Prayer-related book introductions providing insight into how to use each specific book in prayer
  • Introductory essay by professor Donald S. Whitney, author of Praying the Bible, explaining how and why to pray the Bible
  • User guide
  • Author index featuring bios of historical contributors and relevant page numbers
  • Comprehensive index featuring every time prayer is mentioned in the entire Bible
  • Concordance
  • Reading plans
  • Type Size:Bible: 9.25-point; Prayers: 7.5-point
  • Sewn Binding
  • Book intros
  • Words of Christ Black

My Thoughts

My initial impression of this Bible was that I love the size…it’s a bit narrower in width than standard Bibles, which makes it easier and more comfortable to hold.

This Bible has a very classic look…the cover is navy blue with gold lettering and a circle emblem featuring praying hands. It includes one ribbon bookmark, which is a downside for me as I like numerous bookmarks.The end papers are a very pretty gold color and the presentation page is simple but works with the overall looks of the Bible.

What is unique about this Bible is that it has prayers from many church reformers, puritans, authors, and more dispersed throughout the text where the person used scripture to pray. Prayer is something that I have wanted and needed to improve upon and I love the idea of “praying the scriptures”. This Bible shows the reader how to do that and through doing so, their relationship with the Lord will grow.

The margins of the book range from about 1/2″ to 1 1/2″, so journaling in this Bible could sometimes be challenging but it is possible.

The Bible has some nice extra features which include:

  • A prayer index that directs the reader to each prayer that’s included in the book
  • An author index that explains each author of the prayers, when they lived and who they were in life
  • A concordance
  • A reading plan for reading the Bible in a year

Overall, I really like this Bible and I think it will really enhance my prayer life. I highly recommend it!

My Rating

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I received this to review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

NIV Artisan Collection Bible in Turquoise Floral Review

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Description:

Exquisite from the inside out, the NIV Artisan Collection Bible stuns with its printed cover design showcasing hand-painted flair. When the Bible is opened, beautiful art appears on the page edges as you read through Scripture. When you close the Bible, the image vanishes into shimmery foil gilding. In addition to the attractive typesetting, each page of this Bible has lightly ruled, wide margins, inviting you to journal, reflect, take notes, and create art. As you start reading, let your eyes relax as you take in more of God’s Word with the exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface, carefully designed with custom fonts to be easy and enjoyable to read.

Features:

Stunning, hand-painted cover design printed on soft, durable cloth
Hidden page edge design is fully revealed when pages are fanned open
Sparkling foil edge gilding when closed
Lined, wide margins for journals, notes, and art
Complete text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV)
Words of Jesus in red
Two ribbon markers
Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface
9.9-point print size

Edna Marie Esparra
Founder, Everlasting Words Designs
Edna founded Everlasting Words Designs, a Bible painting ministry, in 2017. A former industrial engineer, she quickly changed paths and discovered her true passion when a friend asked her to custom paint a Bible cover. Creating personal and inspirational artwork that glorified God turned into a new journey for her life and career. An avid lover of flowers, landscape views, writing, and music, you can find Edna sitting in her home studio painting fields of wild flowers and hand lettering while she listens to her newest playlist. She resides in Puerto Rico with her husband and two adorable dogs.

My Thoughts:

This is the most beautiful Bible I’ve seen. The cover design is gorgeous and looks as though it’s been personally painted (the design is based on a hand painted image). Seafoam green and pink is my favorite color combination so I truly love the looks of this Bible. I also love the musical notes that are floating along the top and bottom edges. The front cover is titled with “The Holy Bible” and the back says, “I will sing to the Lord. Psalm 104:33”. The cover is cloth over board, which I like overall but the one drawback is that it tends to attract hair (I am a beagle owner and often find myself rubbing the hair off my cloth over board Bibles).

The end papers are royal purple with musical notes flying through and a “This Bible belongs to: ” plaque. The page edges of this Bible are very unique and have a special surprise. They are edged in gold and when fanned opened, reveal musical notes. This is a great feature that really adds to the special qualities of this Bible. It contains 2 ribbon bookmarks (royal purple and white), which I love. I always appreciate when more than one bookmark is provided as I often find myself in more than one place in the Bible.

The translation is the NIV, which is a very popular version of the Bible and very accessible. The margins are very large and provide plenty of room for notes or artistic Bible journaling. The margins are also lightly lined. The words of Jesus are in red (which I always prefer). The text is printed in 9.9 print size, which is very easy to read. It is in a single column style. There are several pages for notes in the back of the Bible and the standard “Table of weights and measures”.

Overall, this Bible is a home run. If you are looking for a journaling Bible and like the NIV translation, this is perfect. It is so beautiful that I find I’m drawn to it just because of the pretty cover. It would also make a wonderful gift. The only drawback is that there are no special features…no maps, no concordance, no index, etc. But still well worth it, in my opinion!

My Rating:

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I received this Bible from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Defiant Joy by Stasi Eldredge Review

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Description

Bestselling author Stasi Eldredge shows readers how to choose a joy that stands against the tides of life’s real and often overwhelming pain. 

We are called to live. And, miraculously, to live with joy. 

We all spend a lot of energy reaching for happiness, but we are never quite able to hang on to it. Real life happens, and our circumstances take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. So the Bible’s call to “be joyful always” sounds almost crazy—and out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be.

Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. This joy is not simply happiness on steroids; it’s the unyielding belief that sorrow and loss do not have the final say. It’s the stubborn determination to be present to whatever may come and to interpret both goodness and grief by the light of heaven.

In Defiant Joy, Stasi Eldredge invites us with courage, candor, and tender vulnerability to a place beyond sadness or happiness. She shows us how to maintain a posture of holy defiance that neither denies nor diminishes our pain but dares to live with expectant, unwavering hope.

My Thoughts

I don’t know if I’ve shared this on my blog, but on October 10, 2018, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Right after my diagnosis, I saw this book available for review and really felt as though I needed to read it. My life has been completely turned upside down since the day of my diagnosis…it’s been full of appointments, ER visits, biopsies, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, chemotherapy, wig shopping, hair loss, nausea, pain, tears, frustration, uncertainty, and JOY?

This book shares how we can live with joy in spite of our circumstances. Stasi shares the things that are thieves of joy, things that steal it away. She also shares how we can cultivate our joy. There are some things in this book that I felt were written specifically for me. I have seen God’s sovereignty in placing this book in my hands “for such a time as this”. If I had read it in a season of plenty, a season where everything was going swimmingly, I probably wouldn’t have found as much in it to apply to my life. But reading it while facing a very scary, life threatening disease caused me to savor each word.

I have found through this trial that having defiant joy is possible and this book has helped with that. Knowing that God is with me through everything and I’ll be okay no matter what has changed the way I look at my circumstances.

I highly recommend this book to everyone…if you are not in a storm you have either come out of one or you’re heading into one so it is good to have on hand. It was a quick, easy read but full of great information.

My Rating

3.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel Review

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Description

For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time–it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them.

I’d Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone’s life, I’d Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.

My Thoughts

I was really looking forward to reading this book…I’m an avid reader and book lover so of course a book about books should be a very fun experience. Unfortunately, this one fell flat.

Published by Baker Books, a Christian publisher, I was surprised to see some very “un-Christian” books and types of books referenced. This normally would not bother me but my expectations on content is different when the book is published by a Christian publisher. (I’ve had similar issues in the past with “Christian” fiction books including cursing and sexual content in them). I believe this was one of the main things that rubbed me the wrong way with this book.

I only truly enjoyed one chapter…”Bookworm Problems”…this was a very tongue in cheek, funny list of problems that book lovers can face. I highly enjoyed this chapter and found myself relating to many of the points.

I also found that I didn’t relate to most of the author’s preferred books…this is most likely a personal problem on my end, but I found it less enjoyable, having not read probably 95% of the books that were referenced.

It didn’t feel like any of the information was new or interesting and I found the book a bit dull overall. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the book for me.

My Rating

2 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition, ESV by Crossway Review

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Description

The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible’s single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs–inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God’s Word.

6.5″ x 9″ 9-point, Lexicon Black letter text 2-color printing 64 full-page, custom book opener illustrations 50 full-page verse illustrations 250+ hand-lettered margin verses 100+ other illustrations throughout Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi, whose work has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target Thick, cream-colored paper Wide margins Single-column, paragraph format Smyth-sewn binding

My Thoughts

This Bible is gorgeous! It is a Bible suitable for sitting prominently on a coffee table as in the days of old (my grandparents had a HUGE Bible that had to have been 20 pounds on their coffee table for as long as I could remember).

The cover is a very pretty hunter green with gold floral designs all over the cover, spine, and back cover.  Both the dust jacket and the covers of the book itself are decorated with the gold floral designs. The pages are edged in gold as well. The end papers have a subtle design in a nice olive green color…it’s a minor detail, but the details are what really make this Bible special.

The presentation page and Title pages are also filled with elegant gold foiling that truly have to be seen to be appreciated. Each title page of each book has a gold design that somehow relates to the content in the book. Throughout the Bible, there are full pages of artwork with a key verse displayed, there are also small pieces of artwork and verses placed in the margins throughout the book, all in the elegant gold color.

Because this is the Art Journaling Edition, there is ample room for Bible journaling in the margins. There are many pages with no artwork and it doesn’t take up the entire page, so there is more than enough room to fill this Bible with your own notes and creations. The pages are a bit thin, I wish they were a little bit thicker as some forms of media may bleed through.

There is an index of the title pages in the back of the book, describing the artwork for each title page and how it relates to that book of the Bible. This is the only special feature in this Bible.

The Bible itself is a single column English Standard Version. This translation is thought to be one of the most literal translations of the Bible. It is easy to read and one of my favorite translations.

If you are looking to purchase a gorgeous Bible for reading or journaling, or even a gift, this would be perfect. It is fairly basic in its features but goes above and beyond in its presentation. I love this Bible and highly recommend it!

My Rating

4.5 stars

I received this Bible from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Overcomer by Dr. David Jeremiah Review

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Description

We live in a time of deep uncertainty. And yet, the Bible promises we were created to enjoy lives of freedom, even in times when the world around us seems filled with darkness. We were created to be overcomers, conquering the greatest obstacles in our lives.

In his new book, Overcomer, beloved teacher David Jeremiah offers his insights on one of the most quoted but least understood passages of the Bible: the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians to take up the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). With his signature depth, wisdom, and compassion, Dr. Jeremiah explores the powerful relevance of spiritual armor as a critical tool each day as we confront the specific challenges in our lives and of our time.

If you’ve had enough of living in defeat, it is time to find renewed strength and claim the promises of God’s Word to overcome life’s greatest threats.

My Thoughts

This is one of those books that came into my life at the perfect time. On October 10, my life changed forever…I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and am now trying to be still as the Lord fights the biggest battle I’ve ever faced. It’s very easy to have faith when things are going great but when your world is shattered and almost everything is taken from you, it gets much harder.

This book is amazing…each chapter teaches us how to overcome something difficult with something that comes from God (overcoming anxiety with peace, fear with faith, temptation with scripture, everything with prayer).

I devoured this book because it was so relevant to my life and gave me so much peace and filled me with joy. I consider this book to be what I call a “kiss from the King”, which is something that God gives me to show me His love. This is a book I will read over and over, both during my difficult journey now and also during future journeys.

I couldn’t recommend this book enough…it’s a book that every Christian can benefit from. It’s easy to read and full of scripture.

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Parenting First Aid by Marty Machowski Review

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Description

In this uplifting and faith-strengthening devotional book for parents, best-selling children’s author Marty Machowski encourages parents in the midst of parenting trials. Full of Scripture, testimonies of faithful parents, and insightful meditations, Parenting First Aid equips parents to run to God and trust his ability to do what they can’t.

Parenting isn’t getting any easier, especially with the introduction of insta-porn on electronic devices, the ease of access to drugs, and the ever-increasing blurring of sexuality. This parenting resource is for weary parents overwhelmed with parenting, their children’s choices, and the culture that wars against their souls.

For parents with small struggles or weighty parenting trials—such as children involved with drugs, sexual sin, and teenage rebellion—Parenting First Aid is full of personal, real testimonies of God’s faithfulness to parents experiencing hardship.

The easy-to-use format provides parents with encouraging and faith-strengthening words to trust God in his work in the midst of family difficulty. While God does not promise happiness and ease in parenting, all parents can find comfort in God and peace beyond understanding through the Scriptures and meditations found in Parenting First Aid.

My Thoughts

Parenting is definitely the hardest responsibility I’ve ever been given…to realize that God has entrusted two precious lives into my hands to raise and “train in the way they should go” is very scary sometimes, but also amazing. My children are now 12 and 15 and the decisions that I make as a parent are much more difficult now than they were years ago…it used to be so cut and dry but now we are entering a stage of many gray areas. I knew I needed this book when I read the title. There are so many moments when I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread as a mom, screaming for a lifeline and feeling like every decision I make is wrong.

This book is broken down into 20 chapters that are meant to be read each for 1 week. This provides a time of reflection and meditation on what is read. The book provides “reinforcements” for those of us parents who are deep in the trenches of this difficult battle. It provides hope and help with a lot of scripture and testimonies from other parents.

I am beyond thankful that this book came into my life. It is an excellent resource and gave me hope. I highly recommend this book to all parents…those who are in a difficult situation and those who aren’t (yet).

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.