A Year with God

( 28 )

Overview

God's words changed history. Now let them change you.

Are there any words more powerful than God’s? Through his words, the world came into creation and all life into being. God spoke to his first people, Adam and Eve, and he spoke to Noah and Abraham, to Moses, to the kings of Judah and Israel, and to the prophets.

And he speaks to you today.

God’s words are real, and they are full of his love, wisdom, and ...

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Overview

God's words changed history. Now let them change you.

Are there any words more powerful than God’s? Through his words, the world came into creation and all life into being. God spoke to his first people, Adam and Eve, and he spoke to Noah and Abraham, to Moses, to the kings of Judah and Israel, and to the prophets.

And he speaks to you today.

God’s words are real, and they are full of his love, wisdom, and direction. A Year with God is a 365-day revelation of God’s divine character through his actual words, along with reflections and insights to increase your understanding. You’ll discover the context of God’s words spoken in the Old Testament—and what they mean for you and your life.

Arranged by topic, A Year with God highlights God’s words to his people. In reading what God actually said, you can know what really matters to him and to you. It’s a pure, simple, and lasting way to connect your heart with God’s and become more like him every day.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849946981
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,439,856
  • Product dimensions: 8.36 (w) x 11.34 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

R.P. Nettelhorst is the author of many books, academic articles and columns across the US and abroad. He is founder and Academic VP of Quartz Hill School of Theology, where he is Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages. He is married and has threedaughters.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................16
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First Chapter

A YEAR WITH GOD

Daily Reflections and Readings on God's Own Words
By R. P. Nettelhorst

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 GRQ, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4698-1


Chapter One

Hope and Fear

Fear is a survival reflex that happens without thought, and sometimes in spite of it. Fear arises from what you experience here and now. Hope, on the other hand, grows from reflection about tomorrow. It leaps from the expectation of what you will experience in the future. Hope springs from fears survived, from troubled waters bridged. It is the fruit of the nightmares past. Fear can keep us alive. But hope makes living worthwhile.

* * *

God's eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He's ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together.

Psalm 33:18-19 MSG

Day 1

He Did It!

The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

The man said, "The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Genesis 3:8-13 NIV

* * *

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Ever since Adam and Eve's disobedience, human beings have begun their relationships with God through fear, thanks to their guilty consciences. Adam and Eve didn't really comprehend why God instructed them not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, so they followed their own reasoning. One of the notions that came to Eve was that the fruit was supposed to make her wise. Sure enough.

Where before eating the fruit Adam and Eve stood naked before God without fear, they now hid from him in terror. When God confronted them, remarkably they did not lie. Not so remarkably, they shifted the blame. The man blamed the woman, and the woman blamed the serpent.

When God issued his punishments, he started with the serpent and worked back to the man.

Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because they began to doubt that God loved them. They began to think-to fear-that God was trying to hold something back from them, something good. And so they doubted God's goodness, and they doubted his love. They soon acted according to their fear-first in eating, then in hiding, and finally in passing the blame. Fear has dominated the hearts of human beings ever since.

We fear God, and we fear that God does not love us. But God has always been dominated by love. When we love God, we want to obey him even when we don't understand. God wants us to overcome our fears. He wants us to move beyond them to love him and to love one another.

Day 2

Pretty Rainbows

God said to Noah and his sons:

I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood.

The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise that I have made to every living creature.

Genesis 9:8-16 CEV

* * *

The need for punishment was long past. On the surface, the story of the post-Flood rainbow resembles stories like "How Did the Bear Lose Its Tail?" But the story of Noah and the ark was not devised simply to explain where rainbows come from. In fact, rainbows predated the Flood, just as circumcision predated Abraham. God simply imbued the rainbow, and later circumcision, with a new significance. They became signs or symbols of a promise. Flood tales appear in other cultures around the world, for instance among the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians. Although those stories were very similar to the story in the Bible, they all lack the promise signified by the rainbow.

The rainbow was the equivalent of what would happen later when patriarchs such as Jacob set up a stone or a pile of stones to serve as a kind of marker for an agreement, promise, or significant incident. The rainbow served as an everlasting reminder to the human race and to every other creature living on earth that God would never again allow all life to be destroyed by a great flood. It also served as a reminder to God. The rainbow was an everlasting promise that God would always keep and never break, despite the sad reality that human behavior had not changed at all. Since Noah, bad behavior has continued with wars and rumors of wars, murder, and violence of every kind.

Whenever we see a rainbow today, we are reminded that God is faithful and his promises are binding. The reasons for the Flood have not gone away, but we can know God will never again punish us like that.

Day 3

God Is Always There for You

Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place-and I did not know it!" And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

Genesis 28:10-17 NRSV

* * *

God came one dark night. Jacob was on the run and everyone was against him. He'd deceived his elderly father in order to rob his brother of his birthright. His brother had then threatened to kill him. So his mother had arranged his escape, just as she'd arranged for him to steal the birthright. As he lay down to sleep that night alone and forsaken, perhaps he wondered whether that had been such a good idea after all and whether heading off toward his mom's relatives was such a good idea.

Sleeping with a rock for a pillow, he had weird dreams. When God promised him that everything would work out well, he just got scared again. This was his first encounter with God, but it would not be his last. Love casts out fear, and eventually he would learn to love God instead of being afraid of him. But it would take his whole life. When he promised God his devotion, he was responding to God as human beings always do: first with fear, then with love. He knew that though he was leaving his home, he wouldn't be alone after all. He was becoming part of God's plan, just as we become part of God's plan when we have a personal relationship with him.

Day 4

I Will Go with You

Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!"

And he said, "Here I am."

So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes."

Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him. His sons and his sons' sons, his daughters and his sons' daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.

Genesis 46:1-7 NKJV

* * *

What you think you know might be wrong. Jacob had sent his children to Egypt to get food because they were facing famine. When they returned, he discovered they'd been accused of being spies and one of his sons, Joseph, had been imprisoned. To get him out, Jacob would have to allow the last remaining son of his beloved Rachel to go down to Egypt. He repeated the list of all his troubles, from the fact that his favorite son was dead to what had just happened. Jacob then complained to his children, "Everything is against me." From his perspective, and from the perspective of his sons standing around him, Jacob's complaint was self-evidently true.

And yet, the fascinating thing about his words is that we know he couldn't have been more wrong! After having sent his sons back a second time, Jacob's world was turned upside down. The son he had thought was dead was not only alive, but he had also become the ruler of Egypt, the richest and most powerful country on earth. Jacob had been convinced that his life was awful. Suddenly, he found out that his life was wonderful and had always been wonderful. Until that moment, he hadn't been able to see it. He had forgotten that God was with him and would always be with him. How could it ever be better than that? As he readied himself to go see his son Joseph, God reassured Jacob of his care. God would never leave Jacob or his family. Like Jacob, we belong to God and will be with him forever.

Day 5

What Do You Have to Worry About?

Moses spoke to the people: "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and watch GOD do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you're never going to see them again.

God will fight the battle for you.

And you? You keep your mouths shut!"

God said to Moses: "Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

"Meanwhile I'll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase-I'll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God."

The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn't come near each other all night.

Exodus 14:13-20 MSG

* * *

Why are you worried? When God asked Moses, "Why do you cry to me?" God did not wonder why Moses asked for help. Instead, God asked, in essence, "Why are you yelling at me?" God questioned where the panic was coming from. Moses had just spent years standing before Pharaoh, the ruler of the most powerful nation on earth, and he'd seen God destroy the country with a series of ten plagues. And now Moses was going to let a little thing like a deep sea in the way make him think that they were doomed? God's wondering, "What? Did I go somewhere? You think I brought you this far just to let you fail? To get your hopes up and then dash them? Do you think that's what I'm all about?" But of course that's exactly what Moses and the Israelites were thinking. We humans commonly fear that God is going to let us down.

God's response to Moses and the Israelites was reassurance. God is neither capricious nor cruel. He wants us to know that we can stop worrying and just enjoy today.

Day 6

Blessed Promise

"Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off. You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars.

"So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days."

Exodus 23:20-26 NKJV

* * *

You're not on your own. God had been with the Israelites when they toiled in Egypt. And he had stayed with them through the wilderness. The word rendered angel in English is a transliteration of the Greek word meaning "messenger," which is also what the Hebrew word in Exodus meant. A messenger can be a human being working for a king or for God, or a messenger can be a supernatural agent working for God. In this passage, messenger represented something supernatural. The pillar of fire at night and the cloud during the day signified God's physical presence before his people. God assured the people they were not facing their problems alone. Wherever they went, his presence would be there.

God warned the people to obey the angel and to do whatever he said. Additionally, he warned them against the gods and religious practices of the Canaanites, the people already living in the promised land. Faithfulness to God would result in prosperity for the Israelites-full harvests, many children, and a full life span. The only thing the Israelites had to be afraid of was God, and then only if they disobeyed and failed to abide by the terms of the contract.

God did not promise the Israelites a life without problems. They spent forty years in the desert, and they fought a long war against strong enemies before they settled down in the land of promise. But every day and with every struggle, God was there. They weren't alone. Neither are we.

Day 7

Occupying the Land

Israel moved in and lived in Amorite country. Moses sent men to scout out Jazer. They captured its villages and drove away the Amorites who lived there.

Then they turned north on the road to Bashan. Og king of Bashan marched out with his entire army to meet Moses in battle at Edrei.

God said to Moses, "Don't be afraid of him. I'm making a present of him to you, him and all his people and his land. Treat him the same as Sihon king of the Amorites who ruled in Heshbon."

So they attacked him, his sons, and all the people-there was not a single survivor. Israel took the land.

The People of Israel marched on and camped on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho.

Balak son of Zippor learned of all that Israel had done to the Amorites. The people of Moab were in a total panic because of Israel. There were so many of them! They were terrorized.

Moab spoke to the leaders of Midian: "Look, this mob is going to clean us out-a bunch of crows picking a carcass clean."

Numbers 21:31-22:4 MSG

* * *

God likes to give the unexpected bonus over and above his obligated promise. God also gives and takes away. What had belonged to one people, God took and gave away to the Israelites.

On the east side of the Jordan River, before the Israelites entered the land of Palestine, God gave them some bonus territories. Traveling north from the desert of Sinai, the Israelites faced the Amorites and their king Sihon. Their request that they be permitted to travel through the Amorite territory was rebuffed, and Sihon led his army to attack the Israelites. God let Israel conquer them. Next in their journey, the Israelites faced Og, the king of Bashan, and his army. God gave Og and his army as "a present" to Israel. The city of Jazar was probably located near Amman, the modern-day capital of the nation of Jordan. Bashan was a plateau in southern Syria to the east of the Sea of Galilee. Edrei would be just a bit south of Bashan, and east of the Jordan River, in the modern-day nation of Jordan.

Israel's stunning victories ended the Israelites' fears and filled the people with confidence as they faced the conquest of Canaan. But the victories had the opposite effect on the Moabites, who lived to the east of the Dead Sea. Ultimately, their king, Balak, would die at the hands of the Israelites.

As God showed the Israelites, he enjoys granting what his children need.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A YEAR WITH GOD by R. P. Nettelhorst Copyright © 2010 by GRQ, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Year with God - Seems a long time

    By and large, I found the comments for each day interesting and often quite stimulating, though I would differ with his observation on the rainbow's original appearance. The take on Ham's sin was interesting, as well. You will need to purchase or borrow the book to see what he says!

    I obviously didnt spend a year reading this, but chose instead to read a sampling of devotions from different days.As with most devotionals Ive encountered, this one lacked the meat that growing Christians long for in their study. This by no means should be used for a serious growing Christian solely as their only source of spiritual time for the day. The content just isn't there, but if you're looking for occasional encouragement and light reading, this will do

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 21, 2011

    A great start to the day!

    A Year with God is a great devotional to start the day, or end it for that matter. I found that the verses and then the recollection/story with the devotions are a great way to start a devotional period and add to additional time spent with the bible. The book is great to give you a little of the word even if you are super busy during the day.
    I sometimes find that I need a jumping off point for my devotionals, so I am using the book as a supplement to have "somewhere to start." I am reading through the verse, the story and then going back to my bible to see if I can learn more about the verses and learn how to apply them to my own life.
    I was at a quilt retreat this weekend (more to come on that later) and the director passed on a quote that really stuck with me.

    "Make it your first priority in the day to understand something in the bible clearly. Your second priority is to obey and apply, what you have understood, during the day."
    I haven't been very good at devotionals in the morning, but I may try starting my day with a day from the book and then apply that, as well as pick up my bible in the evening. I think starting and ending my day with the word will help me to stay focused, because it is SO easy to slip into a routine that lacks the word for me.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    It's pretty good for a devotional

    I'm not a huge devotional book fan, so I honestly don't know why I agreed to review this. And I'll admit that I didn't read the entire book yet, because, well... it's a year with God. Three-hundred-sixty-five days with God.

    I liked that the author choses various translations (CEV, Holman, Message, NAS, NIV, NKJ, NLT and NRSV) each day. It was nice that he selected the one that fit the tone of the devotion. At the same time, the inconsistency makes it hard to go to my Bible and highlight exact passages, since I use an NIV Bible all the time. (Yes, the passages are the same, but the wording is different.)

    The year is divided into topics (Hope and Fear, Love and Hate, Perseverance and Quitting, Faith and Doubt, Loyalty and Betrayal, Companionship and Isolation, Mercy and Judgment, Forgiveness and Anger, Joy and Sadness, Peace and Conflict). This makes for a nice change of pace each day, or lets you pick a topic based on your mood.

    Another nice thing is that A Year with God doesn't stick to a calendar plan. Most devotionals start with January 1, which means that if you purchase the book in July, you're starting halfway through the book. This devotional starts with Day 1 so you can pick up the book at any time and start reading. And if you miss a few days, you don't have to skip devotions to catch back up.

    All that said, this book only focuses on the Old Testament. And while the New Testament doesn't overrule the theology of the Old Testament, there are just things that you can't talk about without thinking about Jesus. One glaring example is sin. Had this devotional thrown some New Testament in, we'd be able to see that God hates sin, BUT we have the good news that Jesus died for our sins. I definitely would love to see the author quote Scripture from the Old and New Testament.

    Overall, I'd give this book three stars. I just realized, however, that I've never read a devotional that I truly loved. So, three stars from me for a devotional is pretty good.


    In accordance with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission,I am required to mention that Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc. has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review. Sending me a free copy in no way is compensation for, or a guarantee of, a positive review.

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Bible Heros Devotional

    Title: A Year With God
    Author: R.P. Nettelhorst

    Likes: This devotional makes Bible Heros come to life, but it also portrays their humanness and how God uses everything for his glory. The book is broken up into various sections -
    -Hope and Fear
    -Love and Hate
    -Perseverance and Quitting
    -Faith and Doubt
    -Loyalty and Betrayal
    -Companionship and Isolation
    -Mercy and Judgment
    -Forgiveness and Anger
    -Joy and Sadness
    -Peace and Conflict

    to give the reader a point to focus on that may have more significance in his or her own life. It also digs out little bits of information on this story that perhaps were not the main focus, but would offer some encouragement.

    Dislikes: In my opinion this devotional book is more geared for a newer Christian or someone who is interested in finding out more about the Christian faith, but does not have a Bible background. Seasoned devotional readers will be left looking for the "meat" in this missive. Daily summaries, often point out obvious lessons and seem like Bible lite.

    Overall Thought: I enjoyed reading through some of these stories again, but it fell flat as a daily devotional for me. Nice reference book to have around, however, in the event I am searching for something in one of the topical veins or as resource to use with my children.

    5 Star Rating: 3 Stars

    <em>Note: I received this book for review in the Booksneeze program. The opinions offer, are my own.</em>

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    Great Way to Get Into the Word Daily!

    One of many people's resolutions this year is to grow spiritually. A great way to accomplish this is with a devotional. Today I am reviewing "A Year With God" by R. P. Nettlehorst. This devotional focuses on God's own words from the Bible. The author reasons that by reading His words will help us to get closer to Him just as listening to a friend helps us get closer to them. Sounds like good reasoning to me.

    The book includes 365 daily readings divided into ten subjects that address both the positive and negative, such as "Hope and Fear" and "Faith and Doubt." The author included a large table of contents based on the subjects to help find individual readings easier. Each reading is one page in length and includes a section of scripture, the Bible version the scripture came from, and an explanation of the scripture. I love that these take no longer than a few minutes to read each day. With this type of reading, it is a great way to begin, end your day, or anytime that you can get a few minutes of reading in. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a way to grow more spiritually mature.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book without charge from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Get to know the Old Testament

    A Year With God by R.P.Nettelhorst is a daily reading devotional book providing an overview of God at work in the Old Testament.

    Compiled into sections highlighting facets of God's character (such as love, forgiveness, mercy, faith.), each reading begins with a passage from the Old Testament followed by a brief, devotional commentary. Sometimes the commentary expounds the Scripture cited for that day's reading; other times the author points to other relevant passages that add clarity.

    This book is a great tool for those who'd like to grow in their understanding of the Old Testament. I wouldn't, however, recommend it for new converts and babes in Christ because it's hard reading.
    My criticism of the book would be in the following areas: * The use of different Bible translations is distracting. * There are a number of serious editing mistakes including mixing up Bible characters. * There's no bio. (Many readers want to know what makes the author an expert on their subject before they'll believe a book's content.)

    Overall, though, this book is a great daily read to help you know God more deeply via the Old Testament.

    As a Booksneeze blogger I received this book courtesy of Thomas Nelson publishers.

    Janey L. DeMeo M.A.

    Copyright©December2010

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    A Year with God - A perfect reminder to include God in our daily lives

    A Year with God is a daily devotional filled with scriptures from the bible. As a devotional, it has 365 different scriptures for each day of the year and a discussion about the scripture at the bottom of each on every page. I have collected various devotionals over the years but I particularly like this one because the scriptures are of different topics and the titles make each one of them more interesting. I also like the idea of consolidating the table of contents in a way where everything can be found based on what you are feeling like all the scriptures for Love and Hate are consolidated together same with all the scriptures about Perseverance and Quitting. It makes it easier for the readers who are looking for guidance but only wanted to read scriptures basing on their emotional status. What I think would make this an even better book is if the author included a small portion on each page for the readers to write what they thought about the scripture for the day, how it affected and helped them or how they will incorporate what they read in their daily lives. A Year with God is a good read, a perfect reminder to include God in our everyday lives.

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  • Posted December 24, 2010

    A Year With God Devotional Review

    Make His thoughts your thoughts. That is the idea behind a devotional book. I have read many devotionals in the past years, and I particularly like this one. I like the different topics that are covered, I like that each day begins with a passage straight from Scripture, I like that I can apply these devotions to my every day life.

    In this book, we can discover many things about God. You will read devotions about God's wisdom, discipline and love. You will grow closer in your relationship with God, simply by spending a few moments in His word and in this devotional each day. If you have a hard time just sitting down and picking up your Bible, try this devotional as a way to get you into the Word.

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  • Posted December 20, 2010

    Over Promises, Under Delivers

    If you're looking for a daily devotional to accompany you through the Old Testament, perhaps you're considering A Year With God by R.P. Nettlehorst. This book contains 365 passages from the Old Testament designed to provide God's perspective on ten topics: Hope and Fear Love and Hate Perseverance and Quitting Faith and Doubt Loyalty and Betrayal Companionship and Isolation Mercy and Judgment Forgiveness and Anger Joy and Sadness Peace and Conflict Each day, Nettlehorst selects a passage from a different translation of Scripture based on the topic he is addressing and presents his insights on the passage. When read as a traditional devotional, his commentary is on par with others on the market and informative regarding historical facts pertaining to the passage. Unfortunately, the book has two major flaws. First, the author fails to provide readers interested in its topical approach with an over-arching summary of what God says on the specific topics presented. Second, the author fails to engage his readers in a heartfelt way. By writing from his head rather than from his heart, Nettlehorst falls short of the books self-stated goal of helping readers to "connect your heart with God's and become more like him every day". As a result, many readers will be left feeling that the book over promises and under delivers. I think that readers looking for a devotional that focuses strictly on select passages from the Old Testament or who prefer straightforward commentary with one good takeaway might like and benefit from this book. But, if you prefer a more engaging, emotive writing style, or if you are expecting a topical study focused on the topics presented, I recommend a different selection.

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    A year with God is a 365 day revelation of God's divine character through his actual word, along with reflections and insights to increase your understanding. For every day of the year, a passage is given in which the Lord is speaking, either through a prophet in the Old Testament, or through Jesus himself. There are no words more powerful than God's? Upon reading the book it clearly shows us that the answer to this question is NO! The book uses God's words from the Old Testament to illustrate the themes of: love and hate, hope and fear, joy and sadness, perseverance and quitting, and many more. I found the length of the devotionals exactly right for a few minutes in the morning for me to take time to read a passage to my 89 yr old grand-mother. She has come to enjoy waking in the morning knowing that I will read to her this book. (to bad its not in Spanish) I recommend this book for anyone. It makes a great devotional and a great gift to anyone wanting to deepen their walk with God.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Magistral Devotional

    This is not just another daily devotional book. This is a magistral book that bring us intense meditation through the insights of the author on a variety of themes that we usually do not stop to think about.
    The fact that this devotional is not ordered by calendar days makes it easier for you to start at any point in the year and just follow your own sequence, as your heart guides you.
    One particular topic touch me deeply: "Jumping Frogs of Egypt". The author discuss how tyrants are not quick to keep their promises. So, if we start thinking about that, we see that nowadays we have exactly the same problem the jews had three thousand years ago. Our leaders also are too quick to forget about their promises they made before election... And the book proceeds, bringing us topics to think about in all areas. Wonderful reading and a nice acquisition to any permanent library of a serious christian person.

    This book was written by R.P.Nettelhorst in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program.

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  • Posted December 10, 2010

    A Year With God by RP Nettelhorst

    A Year With God is a devotional book that has daily devotions based on passages from the Old Testament. Arranged by topic, each devotion gives a passage to read as well as some insight about what that passage means and how we can apply it to our lives today. The author's intent was to create a devotional that not only helps you understand the Old Testament in context, but also to help you apply it to your life.

    This daily devotional has been quite interesting to me so far, helping me to understand more of the Old Testament and why God did what He did. The author uses many different versions of scripture, keeping the readings interesting as well as challenging. The author's insight is also very helpful. It is not full of his opinions, but is good at breaking down the text in a way that everyone can understand, and then adding one or two sentences on how to apply it to our daily life. His interpretations leave room for independent study on the topic or passage that he wrote about that day.

    If you are looking for a daily devotional book to challenge you and to bring insight to God's words of the Old Testament, I would recommend this book to you.

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    Reflecting On God's Word

    "A Year with God" book is a pure delight and heavenly treasure. Building a relationship with God is very important to your Spiritual Walk and God blesses us with tool to assist us in learning about His Word. The arranged topic allows us to select and read the topics that meet our needs at that moment. The Bible tells us to search the Scriptures for ourselves; well this handy devotional is a helpful instrument that will be useful daily throughout the year. The layout of the book is wonderful as well as the cover.

    I suggest that everyone should get this handy devotional, especially to those that are beginner Bible readers. This book should be added to your collection for future use. I am giving three away as gifts. I enjoy devotional readings; sometimes you need a specific scripture to help you through your day. Thank you for a lovely book and powerful Scriptures that charges us to search within ourselves to do better and live right according to God's Word.

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    Great as a Gift this Holiday!

    A Year With God by R.P. Nettelhorst

    Upon receiving this book in the mail, I was very excited to start reading it and going through all the devotionals. It was a spectacular book, and could work to be a wonderful gift to any friends or family this holiday season. It was impressionable, and it is very beautiful, both the outside and the context inside.

    I hope anyone who reads this book will enjoy it because it has a great calming factor and will help in almost any situation, I am sure.

    ....................
    I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
    ....................

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    A Year with God

    A Year with God is a daily devotional book. There are 365 entries, one for each day of the year. Hence the title. Each entry has a Scripture with words from God. Something that He told His people. Something that we can still apply to our lives today.

    Out of all of the books that I have reviewed over the last year, this is the only one I was not able to finish. It is also the only one that I have given a completely negative review. There were other books that I liked for the most part but had a few things I didn't like. I didn't like this book. For several reasons.

    First of all, I didn't agree doctrinally with some of the things I read. Statements like "God seemed more concerned with attitude and sincerity than He did with the details of the law..." Maybe on some level, this is true. God desires mercy, not sacrifice. I get that part. But it's one of those ideas that can get you into trouble. "Well, yeah, I'm living in an adulterous relationship, but God knows I mean well." "Well, no, I don't worship the way God specifies in the Bible, but it's close enough, right?" Saul was sincere, too. But that didn't mean that he was right or pleasing to God.

    Another statement was "...righteousness came from David's relationship with God rather than from his behavior..." Another one of those ideas that could be meant innocently, but can lead to some crazy stuff. Because if you keep following this line of logic, here's where you end up: "I can live however I want because my 'personal relationship' with God is good. I read my Bible and pray, so I can cheat on my wife and be an alcoholic and be an immoral businessman.'

    After several statements like these within just a few of the daily devotionals, I was ready to put the book down for good.

    But I understand that some readers out there might not share in my disagreement, so I will move on.

    Another thing that I didn't like was the application portion of the daily devotionals. The problem was that there wasn't much of one. The entry would include a Scripture and a few paragraphs of background information on the passage, then 2-3 sentences of personal application. And sometimes it was even a stretch to get the application out of it. It was mainly fact. It is very difficult to apply historical fact to your personal life. I can get that from a commentary or from the Bible itself. If this were a commentary, that would be fine, but not in a devotional book. In my mind, the purpose of a devotional book is to have a concept or truth that you can dwell on throughout the day and learn from and apply to your life. This book did not accomplish that.

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  • Posted November 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another Devotional...

    I was really excited to get this book from BookSneeze in the hope that I would find a devotional that would help me with my quiet times... as I opened the book, I was glad to find that the book is broken into different themes, such as Hope and Fear, Love and Hate, Perseverance and Quitting, etc, but the unfortunate part is that it is consecutive... so you would be reading for weeks on one topic... eek. Months of devotionals on Loyalty and Betray!

    The devotional is daily, not "dately"... so you can start at any point on the calendar. The devotional has a passage from the Bible where God spoke directly. I enjoy the passages. The author used many different Bible translations... but if you're dedicated to only one translations, this might be an issue. I liked how the author used larger passages for the daily devotionals instead of just a verse or two. I was not moved by the writer's writing style or the commentaries in the devotionals. I felt that they were very opinion based and read into the emotions of the Biblical character's thoughts and feelings that weren't always clearly portrayed in the Bible...

    I would not recommend this book a new believer.

    I plan to keep this one on my bookshelf for when I may need a reference on passages that refer to specific topics, but for right now, I have a feeling I will not be following this devotional for a WHOLE year...

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  • Posted November 19, 2010

    A Year With God by Richard Foster

    This is not a typical book selection for me. am usually drawn to dramas, mysteries and business books but this particular book caught my eye. The idea of 365 different ideas - one for each day of the year is intriguing. Each day is a new day, a new time to start fresh - leave the past behind, while learning from it of course but a fresh chance to move forward. Who could resist? Not this reader. Who wants to have more meaning and a deeper spiritual connection in their life? This reader certainly does and am sure am not alone in having that thought. This inspiring book contain 365 unique selections of scripture, meditations, comments and exercises for readers to utilize on a daily basis with the aim of bringing God into their lives on a regular basis. The ideas are inspiring and encourage the reader to live a more meaningful life. Through daily spiritual exercises and meditations, A Year with God explores eighteen spiritual disciplines. Readers who practice these exercises and meditations will be on a path to a greater spiritual connection and a greater sense of self and awareness of who we are and who we want to be. While not a book for book clubs, in my opinion, for a church group or sermon starting point, this is definitely a good choice. Will definitely read this book again and would recommend it to those who want a deeper and more fulfilling sense of self and purpose. A Year With God is a year to embrace. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted November 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Year With God

    A Year with God By R.P. Nettelhorst
    As far as Christian/ spiritual daily devotional books, there is a spectrum, at one end of which, strictly biblical based, indepth works such as the Christian classics of the well known pastor Charles H. Spurgeon and the quick and easy to digest modern devotionals which consist of the author's own loosely defined spiritual anecdotes and heartwarming stories. R. P. Nettelhorst's devotional book: A Year with God, lies somewhat in between more spiritually advanced devotionals and the story/ anecdote based devotionals. Relying heavily on scripture and bible stories, the short fast paced devotional passages are easy to read nonetheless. Because they are based on biblical passages and actual biblical stories, the reader can be assured of getting his/ her daily dose of scripture. The devotionals encourage deeper insight into applying parallel biblical truths and stories into his or her own life situation. The devotionals are numbered in consecutive numerical order rather than by a particular date, allowing more flexibility. A range of topics are covered, of which readers will certainly be able to relate to. Scripture references are provided as well, making it easy to follow along with the original scripture reference. In the table of contents, passages are grouped by category, such as hope and fear, perseverance and quitting- similar to the "where to turn to" helps sections found in many bibles. As a blogger for booksneeze I am recieveing a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    OK for new Christians, but not much for those seeking deepening and growth

    I recently received A Year With God by R.P. Nettlehorst, a daily, non-date specific devotional. There were a few aspects which I enjoyed about this devotional and several I did not enjoy. Firstly, the devotional - as I've already said - isn't delineated as January through December; which I appreciate greatly. It means I don't feel restricted to only one reading per day and it also doesn't make me feel guilty if I get a few days behind. The entries are easy to read, written at a common level (not full of Christianese) and rather quick to digest.

    However, I found that the passage provided as reference to the short devotional itself was often hard to benefit from without context. I also found myself wanting to read multiple days because a) the entries were short and b) I found them to be somewhat lacking in actual, spiritual content. I found many of the devotionals falling flat - for me at least - and feeling a bit trite and upbeat with no real encouragement or challenge for me.

    This may be a good devotional for someone relatively unfamiliar with God and the Bible, but I don't think this is suited for a more mature Christian seeking spiritual growth and support.

    Full disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. I was not required to give a positive review.

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  • Posted November 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Stands apart from the crowd

    The market is full of daily devotional guides. This book stands apart from the crowd.

    Each of the 365 daily readings is based upon an Old Testament passage in which God speaks to his people.

    The top third of each page is filled with the day's Bible passage in a comtemporary translation. The author then reflects upon the passage.

    Some of the reflections feel more like blog posts, and they didn't consistently speak to me. However, on the whole, I found this book useful for personal devotions and exposed me to passages I haven't thought about deeply before.

    The book is structured in ten thematic sections:

    1. Hope and Fear
    2. Love and Hate
    3. Perseverance and Quitting
    4. Faith and Doubt
    5. Loyalty and Betrayal
    6. Companionship and Isolation
    7. Mercy and Judgment
    8. Forgiveness and Anger
    9. Joy and Sadness
    10. Peace and Conflict

    If you are looking for a new, fresh, thematic approach to your daily devotional time, I highly recommend this book.

    [Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an unbiased review.]

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