Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Book Review: How God Grows a Brave Boy

How God Grows a Brave Boy: A Devotional. Matt Koceich. 2019. [October] Barbour. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: You are very, very special! God has created you to do great things for Him and His glory. The cool part is that He doesn't wait for you to become a grown-up. Right now God wants to grow you into a brave boy so that you can be a young man of integrity--that is a young man who lives by God's principles.

This children's devotional has one hundred and eighty readings. It's written with boys in mind. For the record, I'm not exactly sure why boys and girls need different devotionals. But apparently they do. Boys are to be brave and girls are to be courageous. Koceich falls into a pattern of defining bravery at the start of many of his devotionals. I'm not sure they help illumine the concept of bravery. I'll share a few below.

  • Being a brave young man means believing that Jesus is who He says He is and can do whatever He says He will do. 
  • Being brave means understanding God's grace. He loves you so much that He send Jesus to save you.
  • Being brave means deciding to make Jesus famous. Spend today thinking about Him and all the things He has done for you.
  • Becoming brave is becoming satisfied with the promises God gives you.
  • Being brave means seeing your Bible as much more than letters on a page or stories written so long ago that their meanings have been diluted by time.
  • Being brave means being grateful for everything God has done for you. 

If I had to describe this devotional, I would say it was written in the key of G: G for Generic, or to be precise Generic Boy. While the girls' devotional tended to mainly focus on the practical and concrete, this one seems to veer into abstracts and metaphors.

Taste the joy that comes from running after a life covered in His grace.
A broken heart isn't a sign of weakness. It is proof of God's presence. 
I will say this, Koceich's devotional book DOES delve into the ins and outs of the gospel and actually present the gospel message. The girls' book on courage does not ever do this--to my disappointment.
God loves you. The heart of Jesus is the lens through which God sees your life.
When God looks at you, He sees a beautiful person. You are beautiful and forgiven because of Jesus! Don't waste this new day trying to be someone else!
That being said, I'm not sure there's enough emphasis on God's grace and mercy and our complete and total lack of ability. The imperative tone at times seems to apply that the Christian life is something that you DO, DO, DO, DO, DO and not something that is DONE. (Jesus saying IT IS FINISHED. Jesus paid it all.) Christians of all shapes, sizes, and ages tend to miss this as well.
Decide that today is the day you will become more like Jesus and live your life for Him! Read His Word and ask Him to show you ways that you can change. 
One thing that I did appreciate was the focus on evangelism. But I'm not sure a little pride didn't creep in there as well. (Just saying it's not reformed!)
Speak truth and let your praises to God be the key that unlocks hardened hearts. 
But I didn't care for how they simplified the concept of God's glory and glorifying and exalting God into "making God famous."

Make a list of everything that's important to you. Family? Toys? Books? Friends? Whatever is on your list, make sure that "making God famous" is on it.
Be brave and decide every day that you want your life to keep making God famous. 
It did choose Scriptures from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. I also liked that it didn't just choose "boy" Scriptures. For example, boys can learn to be brave like Esther.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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