Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Review: For Such A Time As This (2014)

For Such A Time As This. Angie Smith. Illustrated by Breezy Brookshire. 2014. B&H. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I loved, loved, LOVED Angie Smith's For Such A Time As This. I really did. What did I love about it? I loved the balance of text and illustration. The stories felt full, or, I suppose a better word might be rich. Some story books are so concise that all stories are made to fit on a two-page spread. The stories feel complete, whole. Each one just the right length. And the illustrations, well, I think I loved them!!! Breezy Brookshire's illustrations may be my favorite out of the story book bibles I've read the past few years. At first, I wasn't sure if I "liked" how some of the illustrations are done in black and white and some are in color. But. After reading and rereading, I think I like it just how it is.

What else did I love about For Such A Time As This? Well, I loved the format itself.

  • Story and illustrations. 
  • He (The "He" section focuses on God and highlights a facet of His character)
  • Me (The "Me" section focuses on the reader)
  • She (The "She" section offers parents a Scripture-based prayer to pray over their child/daughter)
  • Hebrew/Greek Word to share with family
  • Memory Verse to share with family

I loved, loved, loved the "He" sections. By reading the book in its entirety, readers learn:

  • God is sovereign
  • God is judge, and his judgment is righteous
  • God has established a covenant; he is a God who keeps his promises
  • God is omnipresent
  • God is always just
  • the providence of God
  • God is love
  • God is majestic
  • God loves redemption
  • God is dependable
  • God is truth
  • The Lord is our Provider
  • God is the only true source of peace
  • The Lord is wise
  • God is self-sufficient
  • God is knowledge
  • The Lord is slow to anger
  • God is unchanging
  • God is omnipotent
  • God is faithful
  • God is perfect
  • God is gracious
  • God has never made a promise that He won't keep
  • The Lord is near
  • The Lord is a healer
  • God is a miracle-maker
  • God is our great Defender
  • God is incomprehensible
  • God is merciful
  • God is worthy
  • God is transcendent
  • God is jealous
  • God is good
  • God is holy, holy, holy
  • God is our Comforter
  • God is omniscient
  • God is righteous
  • There is only one God
  • God is eternal
  • God is made up of three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit

I loved, loved, loved the prayers!!! I love how Scriptural they are. I love how practical they are.
Lord, help ________________ to sense Your presence in the times that she feels alone. Remind her in those moments that Your watchful eye is upon her and that she can call out to You from whatever desert she feels lost in. Speak courage and hope to her when she worries that she has been forgotten. Your Word declares this, "Be strong and courageous; don't be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6). May I walk in the light of this promise and teach her to as well. (27)
Lord, help ___________ to be obedient in all things. When she is tempted to disobey, remind her that there is a better way that will lead to righteousness (Romans 6:16) and the purification of her soul (1 Peter 1:22). Give her the strength to stand firm when she sees others being disobedient and the courage to make the right decisions based on what she knows of You. Father, I come to You because  I know how fickle my own heart is and how easily my thoughts wander from You. Remind me to set my mind on Your Spirit instead of my own flesh so that I will have peace and will please You by submitting to Your law (Romans 8:5-8). And help me to delight in Your law in my inner being (Romans 7:22) so that I may lead her in a way that models obedience. (9)
And did I mention I love, love, love the storytelling? Angie Smith is a gifted writer. She has a way with words. She pulls out the importance and significance from the passages, always helping readers see the big picture. It was just a joy and a delight to read her stories.

From "The Garden"
Can you imagine? One moment. One decision. It changed everything. And there was no going back now.
God sent Adam and Eve out of the place that had always been home. As they wandered far from the garden, I wonder if they could hear the anguish in God's voice: This wasn't what I wanted for you…
Her mistake was too big to be fixed by human hands, but many years later, another Man would be wounded for her and for all of those who believe in Him. If God had wanted to, He could have separated Himself from them (and us) forever, but He didn't.
Even as He sent Adam and Eve away, God knew that one day He would make a way to bring them back to Him. (8)
From "Window of Heaven"
She had heard Noah warning the people for years that a great flood was coming to tear their homes apart and destroy them, but they wouldn't listen. They chose death instead of life over and over again, and it grieved God terribly.
She could still hear the echo in her mind.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Every day she had listened to the sound of hammers pounding, shaping the boat that would rescue them from death. And now they were actually inside the boat, the "ark" Noah had built, trusting that the Lord would keep them safe. God told them that He would send the rain in seven days, and in seven days He did exactly that.
Drop, drop, drop…
The fountains of the great deep burst forth, the window of heaven opened, and the rain poured down. (13)
Many, many years later, the sound of a hammer pounding would pierce the silence again, driving nails into the wood of a cross.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
While the crowds mocked Him, there would be women who knew what He was doing for God--what He was doing for them. Standing high above the ground, the cross would bring life instead of death. The window of heaven would open again, and scarlet-colored droplets would rain from high above. Jesus Himself would be hung to cleanse us, and the flood of mercy would make us right with Him forever.
Drop, drop, drop… (14)
Which stories are included? Twenty from the Old Testament. Twenty from the New Testament.

  • The Garden (Eve)
  • Window of Heaven (Noah's wife)
  • Stars and Sons (Sarai)
  • The Well (Hagar)
  • Pillar (Lot's wife)
  • Steadfast Love (Rebekah)
  • The Veil (Rebekah, Rachel, Leah)
  • The Women and the Water (women in the life of Moses)
  • The Scarlet Cord (Rahab)
  • Covering (Deborah and Jael)
  • Pieces of Silver (Delilah)
  • Redeemer (Naomi and Ruth)
  • The Needle (Hannah)
  • Swords and Stones (Abigail)
  • Clean (Bathsheba)
  • Anything (Queen of Sheba)
  • Painting Her Face (Jezebel)
  • Flour and Faith (widow of Zarephath)
  • For Such A Time (Esther)
  • A Love Like This (Gomer)
  • Just A Girl (Mary and Elizabeth, both with child)
  • The Sacred Ordinary (Mary and the birth of Christ)
  • The Lamb (Anna)
  • An Empty Pitcher (woman at the well)
  • The Hem (woman with an illness)
  • Arise (Jairus's daughter)
  • Platter (Salome and Herodias)
  • Crumbs (Gentile mother)
  • The First Stone (adulterous woman)
  • Two Mites (widow with two mites)
  • The One Thing (Mary and Martha and the dinner)
  • Four Days (Mary and Martha and the death of Lazarus)
  • Beautiful (Mary of Bethany)
  • Cross (Salome at the cross)
  • Alive (Mary the Magdalene and the Resurrection)
  • The Price (Sapphira)
  • Another Breath (Tabitha)
  • Purple Cloth (Lydia)
  • Speak (Priscilla)

For Such A Time As This is perfect for mothers and daughters to read together. (Though dads and daughters could read as well!!!) The book is subtitled "Stories of Women from the Bible, Retold for Girls." But honestly, I think parents could read it/share it with sons and daughters.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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