Saturday, February 25, 2012
In A Garden of Love, Thomas B. Clarke shares his personal observations about the flowers he grows in his work for the Gethsemane Prayer Garden at Faith Chapel in Syracuse, New York. The purpose of the garden is not that it just be a pretty place to enjoy "lots of beautiful flowers. Rather, the flowers are intended to help soften our hearts so that we may be more effective in speaking to and hearing the voice of the Lord." (unnumbered page preceding the Acknowledgments page).
I liked that there were full color pictures on each two page spread. I enjoyed reading about flowers, many of which I have never seen growing in Southern Alabama gardens, and none of which I grow. I enjoyed the author's encouragements for the Christian faith, relating each to scripture.
I had a hard time relating the particular plant chosen to the characteristic he wanted to emphasize. For instance, he chose Coneflower (Echinacea) to relate to patient endurance. He said that he chose it because it looks like a crown. I don't see any crowns in that flower even after reading the entry. I also don't really follow the idea of crowns for patient endurance. It seems that it would have been more appropriate to use a flower that endured over a long season or was perennial. I don't know. It just seemed a reach to relate this flower to this spiritual characteristic.
He did not use herbs and flowers that have traditionally been associated with different characteristics. For instance, sage has long been associated with wisdom. Every flower he chose was chosen because he personally likes the plant. This is fine. It just seemed that some of the choices were made not because of the plant, but because he likes the spiritual characteristic and wanted to discuss it.
I would rate this book as readable. This one problem should be noted, because it really took from the power of the book.
I received this book for free from Bookcrash.com in exchange for an honest review.
Monday, February 20, 2012
I read this book on the suggestion of a fellow blogger.
This book contains a short history of hymns through the ages, from Biblical, Ancient, and Medieval hymns through the much more familiar German, English, Gospel Hymns and Contemporary Praise songs. In the German hymns, the author features a hymn by Luther and one by Zinzendorf, two great reformers of the church. Luther's was familiar to me and I expect it would be familiar to you--A Mighty Fortress is our God. Though I was familiar with Zinzendorf, I was not familiar with the hymn quoted in these pages.
That was the way of things in this book: I was familiar with one out of every two or three hymns, especially in the older hymns. The newer hymns were more familiar to me. With entries by William Gaither and Darlene Zschech, I suspect that most Christians would be familiar with these hymns.
After this, he offers a section in which he goes into much greater detail about six hymns. Each of these hymns are given about a chapter each.
I liked this book. I liked learning the history of hymns I have heard all my life. I enjoyed reading his opinions about the place of hymns in modern worship. I enjoyed reading the hymns (and singing the ones I was knew.)
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Seeds Family Worship. I first bought the above CD. I loved it! My son loved it. My daughters, after they were born, loved it. It is so well-written that I will listen to this music even if the children are not in the car. We have since bought every CD they have written, and all of them are excellent. The other titles are The Power of Encouragement, Seeds of Faith, Seeds of Character, Seeds of Praise and Seeds of Purpose.
Because all these scripture memory songs are the exact words of scripture, set to wonderful music, my children and I have have learned about 60 scripture memory verses from this CD series alone.
I have other scripture memory CD's. We have tried lots of them, but these are my favorites. They are wonderful, singable, toe tapping songs.
For the release of their newest title, they have asked parents to read through the Purity Pledge and make this pledge for their families. I encourage you to read through the list of scriptural things they are challenging you to implement in your families, and then implement these things. The list of things are all things we need to see in society and in our lives. I took the pledge this morning. May God grant me the grace to live up to these commitments.
The link to the new scripture memory songs is here. For some reason, it seems to be only available as a digital download this time.
I received no compensation for this promotion. I just really like and believe in these products. They are a great way to plant some seeds of the Scripture into the lives of your family.