Saturday, January 30, 2016

B&H Bloggers Review: The Bible is My Best Friend Family Devotional by Sheila Walsh

The Bible is My Best Friend Family Devotional: 52 Devotions for Families written by Sheila Walsh arrived in the mail a couple months ago for me to review as part of the B&H Publishing Bloggers Review Team. I was thrilled when it arrived! I've been waiting to focus more on scripture memorization and looking for ways to serve and glorify God with my daughter. This book was going to help. 

Product Description (Description Taken From Website)
Gather the family and spend some time with your best friend—the Bible! From best-selling author Sheila Walsh, the Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional connects families both to God’s Word and to each other. Fifty-two key scriptures form the basis for the devotions, which build on the verses, challenge the family to commit them to memory, and explore how each verse is part of God’s wonderful message. “Let’s Talk” questions urge the family to discuss what they’ve learned and offer challenges for different ages of children as well as their parents.

This unique family devotional touches both the mind and the heart. Minds will grow as the text builds on past weeks by reviewing memory work and themes. But most importantly, hearts will grow as families learn together to value the gifts found in the Bible and realize how God’s Word can be their greatest friend.

Special Features
  • Memory Verse - Memorize Weekly Referenced Scripture Related to the Devotion
  • Let's Talk - Discussion Questions To Ask Each Other
  • Family Fun - Crafts, Games, and Interactive Fun
  • Weekly Challenge - Serve and Glorify God Together with Service Learning Projects and Activities
  • Back to the Bible - Devotional Connects to Bible Story
  • Checkpoint - Track Your Progress By Checking Off Completed Activities

How We Used It
We used this brightly colored book as a family devotional on a weekly basis usually early in the morning or before bed. My daughter and I would sit on the couch with our Bibles and this devotional. We took turns reading the different sections. Alyssa was eager to dig deeper into God's Word. This special time really brought us closer together. 

We started memorizing the verses on Mondays. The verses were added to our scripture memorization system. We saved the weekly Family Challenges for Sundays if possible. I would often look ahead to see if the challenges would take more than a day so that we could actively work together throughout the week to accomplish our goals. The Family Fun activities usually took place on Fridays. 

My Thoughts
The recently released family devotional contains 52 weekly devotions enveloped inside a hardcover format. The author, Sheila Walsh is a passionate Christian writer with a desire to teach children about God's Word. This 224-page well organized and structured devotional will help you and your family connect with God at a deeper level. It has a ribbon bookmark to help keep your place during your study. The illustrations are colorful with cartoonish characters. 

The book begins with a two-page table of contents. A parent connection can be found at the back of the book reminding you that the Bible won't change but that your family will. It encourages you to revisit the same activities down the road enabling you to learn even more about each family member. Questions for you to ponder are given at the end to discuss with your family. They help you figure out what your family liked best about the devotional and its activities. For example, the book asks you, "Which memory verse was your favorite and why?" I skimmed ahead and found Luke 1:37 "For nothing will be impossible with God." That is by far one of my favorite verses, because the message is so profound. Trust God and everything becomes possible. He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. This devotional provides you with examples seen in the Bible. This verse gives me strength when I feel like I am facing impossible obstacles. When I pray this verse, I see that He is always there guiding me along the way and helping me accomplish the plans He desires for me. A memory verse index and the "Look For It' answers are also provided at the back of this devotional. 

There's a spiritual message reminding you to turn to your Bible for all answers and to keep God's Word close to your heart, because it is your best lifelong friend. You can learn about God's plan to save you and can seek answers to life's difficult questions in your Bible. If you use the Bible to guide your actions and words then you will be glorifying God.  

The exceptional devotional was small enough for my daughter to handle on her own. The font size was a reasonable size and was larger than other devotionals I've utilized. The weekly devotions are more manageable for our family than daily devotional readings. However, you can easily break up the weekly devotion into daily sections if desired. The routined organization and layout of this devotional makes it easy-to-use in a family or group setting. 

My daughter loved the challenge of learning a new Memory Verse each week. We would play games to help us both learn and memorize them. There were a variety of Family Fun activities included in this devotional such as games, crafts, scavenger hunts, and other fun hands-on activities. They were categorized by activity types such as Look For It, Crafty Creations, Birdbrain Ideas, Act It Out, etc. These activities address a wide range of learning modalities and styles. The Let's Talk thought-provoking questions led to heart-warming, tender conversations which enabled us to share our feelings and develop a deeper mother-daughter bond. My favorite part of this devotional were the Family Challenges. I especially enjoyed the one featured on page 33. We listed five ways to help someone in need and acted on several of them. We created homeless bags and donated clothes to Salvation Army. Children can relate to the topics making the activities more meaningful and applicable to life. We look forward to spending this special time together growing in God every single day.

B and H Publishing $14.99
Christian Book $11.99
Amazon $11.22
Family Christian $14.99

Note: All prices are subject to change without notice. 

I highly recommend this age-appropriate book for children ages 4-10. Christian families wanting to add devotional time to their week will appreciate and love the contents of this devotional. This would make a great Easter basket gift too. You can teach Biblical truths using God's Word in a simple manner to younger children. It won't overwhelm them and can be completed in a short amount of time.

I received a complimentary, free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the B&H Publishing Group Book Review Program in exchange for an honest, unbiased review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this information 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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