Book Review: 52-Week Bible Story Devotional


In our fast-paced, electronically stimulated world, we seldom see a Bible story book that will stimulate and capture the imagination of children as well as adults. We’ve seen one now from B&H Publishing Group. The Big Picture Interactive 52-Week Bible Story Devotional stands out as a gem in the publishing industry.

Not only is the book beautiful and filled with incredible illustrations and well-written and thought provoking stories but…with each new story a QR code is included and various icons too. B&H has included a free app for android and iPhones to facilitate scanning the codes and activating the icons. Even young children find such procedures simple today.

These codes lead the reader to a video of the story for that day. These videos are amazing! A narrator guides the viewer as the characters play it out. The costumes, artwork and camerawork are all excellent. They are compelling while accurately based on the Bible. Children will be enthralled and so will adults. I was.


Have I Changed?

Condo Kitty_1

Sunday Bible Study

Have I Changed?

January 25, 2015

“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person” 2 Cor. 5:17

Phillip was introduced to Christ at a small California church when he was about nineteen. He was thrilled to find something worthwhile at last. His life had been mundane, unsettled and filled with a roller coaster of emotions as he looked for some kind of answer; something that made sense. And now he’d found it…Jesus Christ, God’s Son. And now his Savior. What a relief.

But, as it does, life moves on, carrying each of us along the strong current of circumstances, failures, needs, crashing businesses and broken hearts. Phillip had not tended to his newborn faith. He’d not watered with the words of the Bible. He had not learned to pray to dispel the weeds of doubt and uncertainty. In short, Phillip returned to what was convenient in handling the problems of life, what he had learned, even though his methods were faulty and weak. In a few years, Phillip’s faith was a distant memory. Change was no longer a possibility for him, he was alone in this troubled world, setting aside the only hope he had.

Faith in Christ, however, does bring the possibility of change, change that is permanent and eternal. In Phillip’s case, his daily struggles weighed heavily on him as his faith in Christ became more distant. His Bible sat beside his chair, unopened and unread. He was facing life on his own while his only hope lay in the unopened Bible beside his chair. Phillip was not protected, he was vulnerable. The armor of God, provided for every Christian, lay in a heap, collecting dust beside his chair also.

Phillip represents any Christian who has given up the battle to make the best choices in life even though God has prepared everything needed for victory. We are not alone in this fight which means if we are not victorious it is our choice, our fear, our laziness. Victory, however, is just a prayer of repentance away. The Holy Spirit is armed and ready to defend and guide every Christian. God has not abandoned us–we have turned our backs on Him when we refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit and make all our own choices. Don’t forget, when we are weak (totally giving up our own strength), then we are strong (through dependence on Christ).

2 Corinthians 12:10

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Romans 5:1-5

So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Victory takes effort. Willie Davenport, who won the 110-meter high hurdles at the 1968 summer Olympics, came back from a severe injury to compete in the 1976 Olympics.

”It was the semifinals of the A.A.U. outdoor championships in 1975,” he recalled in an interview with Red Smith of The New York Times four years later. ”Taking off for a hurdle, I busted a tendon in my left knee. I had surgery the next day, and two days later I had a blood clot in my right lung. The surgeon wasn’t very optimistic. He told me I would walk with a limp and should forget about running. That was June. By January I was hurdling again, and that summer I won the Olympic bronze.” At 33, Davenport was the oldest competitor, ten years older than his fellow American, who was fourth.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

So stop evaluating Christians by what the world thinks about them or by what they seem to be like on the outside. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, merely as a human being like myself. How differently I feel now! When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!

Isaiah 43:18

But the Lord says,

“Do not cling to events of the past
or dwell on what happened long ago.

Conditioned athletes do not lay around on couches, sipping energy drinks while dreaming of success. The most gifted musicians do not spend their days leading up to a concert walking on the sandy seashore, twisting ringlets in their hair, wistfully hoping they will perform acceptably. Just the opposite is true.

“If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.” Ignacy Jan Paderewski, composer and pianist.

Our lives as Christians require daily practice, daily workouts at the Faith Gym to demonstrate change. Life is an accumulation of daily and hourly events, decisions, actions, thoughts and choices. God has given us everything we need to make the changes…but it does take practice and effort.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Hebrews 13:5

For he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Not By Might


“Not by might, nor by power” Zech 4:6

Phillip was born into what is known as fortunate circumstances. His father, aunts and uncles were all wealthy and influential people. They were self-starters, determined, disciplined and visionaries. Their father had invented several machines that proved invaluable to the automobile industry. As a result, he became wealthy beyond his dreams.

Grandpa George (as he was now known) taught his children and grandchildren the value of discipline, investing, believing in yourself and your abilities. He showed them how his wealth was due to his own ideas and hard work. “Life is an opportunity,” he would say, “It’s up to you to make it what you wish. Nothing is impossible if you have faith in yourself. The difference between a success and a failure is: A success fails more often!”

Into this world of self-starters and wealthy people, Phillip was born and raised. By his 25th birthday, he had various academic degrees, an investment portfolio that would allow him to retire any time and a flourishing graphic design business with twelve employees. But was he truly satisfied?

Something was gnawing at him, inside him, in his spirit. He had wealth and power but none of his accomplishments gave him peace or true satisfaction. There must be something beyond this he thought. And that’s when Phillip saw a magazine with the headline, “Life is Spiritual Warfare!” Reading that article was the beginning of his life change and introduction to Jesus Christ.

Zech. 4:6 ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty—you will succeed because of my Spirit, though you are few and weak.’

2 Cor 10:3-5 It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.

1 Thess 5:8-11 But let us who live in the light keep sober, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the happy hope of salvation. For God has not chosen to pour out his anger upon us but to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ; he died for us so that we can live with him forever, whether we are dead or alive at the time of his return. So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Phillip began to realize that life is war, but not against flesh and blood. Instead, it is a supernatural collision between the powers of Good versus those of evil. The truth washed over him with joy. He will line up with Christ and fight the war that wages against our souls.

2 Cor 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Tim 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Chron 20:15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Some men study The Art of War. We study the Bible.