Daily Readings

Daily readings come in many different styles, to suit our different personalities.There is a wide choice here and some suggested readings suitable for special occasions and times of need.

New Morning Mercies

- A Daily Gospel Devotional

by Paul David Tripp

A new devotional to use in your morning quiet times, I think the thing I really like about it is that each day begins with a 140 character 'tweet' (previously we would have called this an opening sentence that sets the theme, but hey 140 characters or less!) and for me this allows me to share a little of my devotional time with others...
The reflections, or devotions, that follow that tweet are all relevant and focused on life today, that's not to say that they aren't all biblically centred and some of them wholly reflect on biblical passages, but even then they dwell on the themes we face daily, they help us look at our lives where we stand and consider how we could perhaps focus on living our lives more fully resting in God's grace and following through on the actions he calls us too.
Each devotion then ends with a suggested scripture for further study.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (17/01/15)
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: November 2014
ISBN: 978-1-783-59177-0
Price: £14.99

We Make The Road By Walking

- A Eyear Long Quest For Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation

by Brian D McLaren

Split into 52 chapters this is an incredible tool for a years walk with God that is not just spiritual but actual! That is to say that at the end of each chapter there is an 'Engage' Section and in that section are a series of questions that are both thought provoking and contemplative, but that amongst them actually include things that involve you actually doing something - an Activate question amongst the others. There is also always one 'Engage' that is for Children, a simplified question but by no means a childish question.
McLaren is known for his books that cause us to look at Jesus or Christianity in a fresh new way and with this years worth of reflections he hasn't failed to do the same in bite size chunks that can be used in a multitued of settings from personal use through to house groups and more. A great book for a years worth of walking with God.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (16/12/14)
Publisher: Hodder
Published: June 0014
ISBN: 978-1-444-70370-2
Price: £11.99

Gospel In Action

- A New Evangelization Day By Day

by ed. Gary Brandl & Thomas Ess

This book should encourage Roman Catholic readers to see the evangelistic potential in many everyday situations and conversation. The so-called ‘new evangelisation' makes use of our daily activities and experiences in order to overcome the current split between gospel and life.

That is really nothing new, but a quotation from Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement, indicates the thinking behind this approach: "Preaching the gospel with their lives and with their voices, Christians render Christ present in the midst of people."

The many contributors describe the kind of everyday situations that might lead to openings for spoken witness, among them loving and respectful actions that overcome divisions, the refusal to join in gossip or yield to peer pressure, the handling of differences of opinion on committees. "Charity spreads of itself and grows by enormous proportions"
(another quotation from Chiara Lubich).

Review by Barry Vendy  (28/02/14)
Publisher: New City
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-565-48486-3
Price: £8.95

Ancient Wisdom Living Hope

- Daily Reflections From The Early Church

by Edwina Murphy

Ancient Wisdom Living Hope is a daily devotional book, designed to inspire personal reflection and inspiration from the writings of the early church fathers. 
The book does a great job of allowing the original quotes to speak for themselves, without commentary or reflection. Over the course a year, the reader will get a peek at the teachings of the early church fathers including people like Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Origen, Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine, and Athinasius.
The book is great for people who wish to emphasise personal reflection over guided reading in their devotional life. Those looking for an in-depth "guided" devotional will undoubtedly be disappointed, but those desiring a more reflective and meditative form of devotion will certainly be inspired.
The biography section gives a brief overview of each author quoted, useful as most readers will not be aware of all of the Church Fathers featured. The bibliography/reference section is especially helpful for pastors and teachers hoping to dig deeper, and explore the context of the quotes.
Some will be concerned length of book overall, and the length of daily quote are typically only one or two sentences long, with no commentary or gloss outside of this. Indeed, the book is around 40% biography and bibliography. Some may also question the decision to list the references in a bibliography, and not simply print them in-line, and may resent having to flick to the back to find references every day
Sadly, this book is not for everyone, and unfortunately, will likely not win over newcomers to the writings of the Church Fathers. The lack of commentary or guided reflection may be a stumbling block for those who are not already familiar with the works and authors cited, who are not willing to dig deeper on their own, or who are not accustomed to reflective and meditative devotion, and the price will likely not reflect it's true value. But for those who are, it will be an inspiring and enlightening trip into the world of the first to third century church, and those who helped shape Christianity for us all.

Review by Luke Hughes-Bunger  (20/12/13)
Publisher: Mosaic Resources distributed by Alban Books
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-743-24066-3
Price: £12.99

Fresh From the Word 2014

editor Nathan Eddy

Fresh From the Word: the Bible for a Change enables you to grow in your knowledge and appreciation of the Bible through the perspectives of 50 international writers, providing you with inspiration for your daily walk with God.

Fresh from the Word is suitable for those who are ready to start their daily engagement with the Bible as well as those who would welcome a contemporary reflection on the familiar biblical stories and messages. This fresh approach to Bible reading is aimed at new readers of the Bible from across the Church, as well as anyone seeking a faithful, creative and challenging conversation with the Bible every day of the year.

Our 50 writers have been drawn from a wide variety of contexts around the world, including the Caribbean, Africa, India, Europe and the United States. Top theologians and biblical scholars, creative writers from around the world, cutting-edge church leaders, activists for peace and justice contribute notes, prayers and suggestions for action on biblical themes for every day of the year. With a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Fresh From the Word is for those who want to engage with a community of Christians from different cultures building a relationship with one God.

Themes for 2014 range from readings in the Gospel of Matthew to human foolishness and the foolishness of God; the greening Holy Spirit; war and peace - to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War; and God in translation.

Review by x  (06/12/13)
Publisher: IBRA from Christian Education
Published: July 2013
ISBN: 978-1-905-89361-4
Price: £8.75

Revealing Love

- Pray Now Daily Devotions And Monthly Prayers

We are gathered into the heart of Pauls' lyrical prayers of love. These engaging daily offers have capacity for use by individuals, groups and worship leaders. Despite being gathered from the inevitable 1 Corinthians 13 passage, there is inspiration, depth and substance of some magnitude, more than the first impressions of this title might suggest.

Each of the thirty-one meditations has a lyrical form. A deeper more natural faith is invited through the use of this helpful little volume.   

My deepest appreciation of this was the scale and themes it courageously invited. They range from envy, irritability, greed, timeliness and endings. The reader will gain much from each of these.

Additionally there is a closing prayers to end each meditation. This will prompt action and movement when the words seem incomplete. This is an engaging Church of Scotland produced resource produced offering a prayer pattern, that is worthy of widespread useage. 

Accessible and engaging content here. 

Review by Johnny Douglas  (06/12/13)
Publisher: Saint Andrew Press
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-0-861-53805-8
Price: £7.99

A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year

- A Life-Changing Journey Into the Heart of God

by Diane Stortz

This book's aim is laudable - to help women read the whole Bible in a year. The book begins with a chapter on how to use this resource and then a chapter of stories of Christian women whose lives have been changed by reading the Bible in a year.

The heart of the book is 52 sections giving you Bible readings for a week. There is a brief one page summary outlining the contents of what you are reading and then a largely blank page for you to record something you learned, a verse to remember and questions.

Although this reading programme could be done alone, the book's aim is for a small group of women to follow the book's programme and then meet once a week to discuss what they have read.

The outline notes are factual and helpful, although give little help on the more difficult parts of the scriptures like the end of Ezekiel and Revelation. The order of reading through the Bible is unusual in that it finishes with Malachi and not Revelation. It would have been good if the book had included a chapter on interpreting the Bible.

Overall this is a useful resource but my main bugbear is why it is only for women? Why not make the book a guide that men and women can use? Surely we all need help in reading the Scriptures!

Review by Alan Hill  (21/05/13)
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-764-21073-0
Price: £5.99

The Bible Challenge

- Read The Bible in a Year

edited Marek Zabriskie

It's called The Bible Challenge, but really that's a misnomer because with this book it won't be a challenge, it will be a joy to read the Bible in a year. 365 days of readings from the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Psalms, a couple of questions and a prayer are there, but what sets this book apart and makes it so good to my mind, is the commentary included for each day. Each commentary section comes from one of just over 100 outstanding theologians or church leaders from within the Anglican Communion, many of whom you will be familiar with and a few you won't because they are from all over the globe. What they all have in common, other than being Anglican, is the clearness, depth (if one can use that for a commentary section that is usually less than 500 words) and insight that they offer on the passages. A really fresh book well worth considering for daily use, especially if you are an Anglican, but not only if you are an Anglican!

Review by Melanie Carroll  (02/02/13)
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 25 October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25291-2
Price: £19.99

A Farmer's Year

- Daily Truth to Change Your Life

by Angus Buchan

This is a book of 366 daily devotions. The author, Angus Buchan is a South African farmer who is best known for the book and film called Faith like Potatoes.
Mr. Buchan takes a different Bible verse each day and drawing on his experience as a farmer provides uplifting words of encouragement. A recurring theme is the need to be men and women of prayer and to trust God in all situations.
Mr. Buchan is a charismatic and this comes out in some of his thoughts. Sometimes his application of a Bible verse is too simplistic. In particular he leaves the impression that if we have enough faith and trust Christ then our business and home life will flourish and problems will disappear. Try telling that to the apostle Paul! Some of the stories he tells are plain bizarre such as the millionaire who cured himself of cancer by watching comedy videos.
However the author’s heart is in the right place. He writes in an engaging and lively way. He constantly points us to Christ. His great desire is that Christians grow spiritually and make Christ known to others. He warns about the danger of sin and the need to persevere.
Although I could not recommend it to a young believer it may well help a mature Christian whose faith has become rather stale. There are better daily devotional books, but few that are so alive with Christ.

Review by Alan Hill  (16/10/12)
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: 21 September 2007
ISBN: 978-1-854-24850-3
Price: £9.99

Moments of Encouragement

by Day Ashton

Moments of Encouragement are prayerful meditations followed by a brief prayer to uplift you and help in your daily journey of faith. Thirty one days of these, each closely linked to the Bible, sometimes to the previous day’s thoughts. Day Ashton shares what she has learnt from her experience of reading God’s word and of praying to her Lord and in Moments of Encouragement guides us to learn as she has done.
Once you have worked through the book, you would be well advised to start again at the beginning. Reading and praying afresh will bring to light new insights to help you on your way.

Visit the author's

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/09/12)
Publisher: Lulu UK
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-957-19380-2
Price: £5.99(plus P&P)

Soul Food

- A 40-Day Supply for Busy People

by Jim Dick

This is a 40-day devotional book with short studies, some spanning more than one day, that takes Bible characters as its main emphasis and looks at what those people and stories have to tell us today. Thus we meet a whole host of situations that cover a range of topics all with biblical relevance but with a modern coating in short bite size chunks for the busy person who has perhaps got out of the habit of regular Bible time and devotional reading. The studies are light, cover both the Old Testament and New Testament, and in some instances are also mildly amusing, but they are snacks not meals despite being Soul Food. However on the whole as a lead in for refreshment and a starting point back into study they are fine, there is nothing here to put anyone off reading the Bible or spending devotional time as a daily occurrence and could be just the right sized motivator some people need.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (07/09/12)
Publisher: River Publishing from Joining the Dots Distribution
Published: June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-908-39321-0
Price: £7.99

Heroes of Our Faith

- Inspiration for Daily Faith and Living

by Patrick Sookhdeo

This is a collection of 366 short daily devotionals – each describing a martyrdom, prefaced by a scripture and accompanied by a prayer or quotation. When we read the word ‘hero’ we imagine someone who has performed mighty deeds, but the heroism of most of the people commemorated in this book is of a quieter kind, the heroism of standing firm in the face of an often horrific death. Names, places and dates are indexed and Patrick Sookhdeo has written a thoughtful foreword exploring what martyrdom means and how Christian attitudes to it have changed down the centuries. One story tells of a Korean pastor and his family placed in a hole dug by the communists and offered freedom in return for denouncing the gospel. Instead, the mother told the children that they would be dining with “the King of kings, the Lord of lords” that night and led them in singing a hymn while the hole was slowly filled in. Many of the witnesses became Christians. These 366 instances serve to represent the many hundreds of thousands around the world that have died and continue to die because they belong to Jesus, and whose stories remain unknown and go untold.

Review by Diane Morrison  (24/08/12)
Publisher: Isaac Publishing, from Barnabas Fund UK
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-982-52189-2
Price: £21.99

Compass & Stars

- Reflections on Spirituality and Daily Life

by Martin L. Smith

Lyrical, gentle and yet deeply thoughtful and probing are just some of the words and phrases that come to mind after reading the forty reflections contained within this book. The word I would use that best sums up these three page contemplations of spirituality and daily life, is intelligent. Even when dealing with the vice of channel surfing and the casual way we take the Lord’s name in vain it is done in a flowing, erudite, witty, and intelligent way, with a real grasp of showing complex issues in a simple way, illuminating the everyday in a spiritual manner and awakening the spiritual in the everyday moments.
There are contemplations here on lack of faith, on day planners, shopping, anxiety and healing, on mobile phones, politics, prayer and many more short pieces skilfully weaving the mundane with the spiritual in such an insightful way that we are left with an aching awareness of how much we miss and how much we can yet gain.
A truly wonderful forty day companion that will at times make the reader go ‘Ouch!’ and ‘Oh!’ and ‘maybe’, and above all leave us feeling just a little more aware of those times and places where faith and everyday intersect in our lives.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (03/08/12)
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25110-6
Price: £9.99

The Big Story

- Revealing God’s Covenant Plan for Everyone – One Year Reading Plan with Bible Text

by Philip Greenslade

First published without the Bible text by CWR in 2001 as Cover to Cover God’s Story – Through the Bible Promise by Promise.
I found this very ‘reader friendly’. By that I mean that with its fresh approach to daily Bible reading, it encourages you to keep with it from day to day aided by the ribbon marker.
First is the reflection/teaching by Philip Greenslade followed by a relevant Bible passage, or several passages. Now most reading plans have a prayer or thought to finish. This plan has one of a variety of endings. Questions, Thoughts, A Payer, Suggested actions, Praise, Thanksgiving and Litany. Each relevant to the subject under discussion. The Foreword, Note to the reader and Introduction explains the author’s approach and helps the reader to understand the progression through the Bible of the 12 Sections. These progress from Section 1 Jesus’ Burning Heart Bible School, Section 2 The Bible as God’s Story, through to responding to Section 12 God’s Big Story (New Covenant)
This truly is a book for Learning About Faith and could easily be in that category.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/07/12)
Publisher: CWR (Crusade for World Revival)
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-853-45562-9

Morning By Morning For Graduates

by Charles Spurgeon

This book is a classic that has probably been in print continuously since it was first issued 150 years ago. It was one of the first daily devotional books that are now so popular, but it is still one of the best.
There is a helpful introduction to the author, Charles Spurgeon, and also a useful subject index. Each daily devotional is based on one verse of the Bible and is about one page long. The breadth of subjects covered is vast. In fact verses studied are from 63 out of 66 books of the Bible.
Each devotional breathes Spurgeon’s pastoral warm style. His writing is full of the scriptures, illustrations and quotable quotes. He understands the human heart, the struggles that Christians go through and the temptations we face. His aim is to help us in our Christian walk and so he does.
Spurgeon was a child of his age so he can be a little wordy, but do not worry. Once you have used this book for a few days you will be quite at home.

Review by Alan Hill  (05/07/12)
Publisher: Hendrickson from Alban Books
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-598-56685-7
Price: £5.99

Whole Life Whole Bible

- 50 Readings on Living in the Light of Scripture

by Antony Billington

I liked that this is such a little hand sized gem. The slimline size is needed, particularly in an era where people are reading from their phones and on their Kindles on the tube. I could just slip it into my handbag and read it easily when on a packed underground, but don't let the size fool you into thinking that this thought-provoking, almost self-help book is easy, or quick to browse! When I first started reading, it struck me that this book was written by somebody who really seemed to know their subject - and indeed, the author, Anthony Billington, is in fact Head of Theology for the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity. I loved that the writing was so theological, and so very sound. In fact, what really struck me was the sheer competence with which the author explored the Bible, from Genesis through to Revelation. At the end of every chapter, there are carefully phrased questions under the heading 'for further reflection and action', which help take the reader through the relevant chapter. These questions also help the reader to relate the Biblical reading to the world around them, and they struck me as being potentially extremely valuable for Bible studies and church groups. This serious little book encourages the reader on their Christian walk with various uplifting Bible verses; and on this point I will add that the book is aimed to pack serious punches. While perhaps Whole Life, Whole Bible is not for somebody looking specifically for a light-and-fluffy concoction, I think that any Christian will surely be more richly satisfied by taking a leaf out of this author's wise words.

Review by Alice Collins  (24/05/12)
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-857-46017-2
Price: £6.99

Through the Year with Newman

- Daily Readings

Edited by Bernard Dive

This is a book of readings drawn from the writings of that great philosopher and theologian John Henry Newman. In a long introduction the editor Bernard Dive explains what Christianity meant to Newman, and although Newman was an intellectual, the spirit was more important to him than the intellect in realising the unity and consistency of Christianity. A stage in his intellectual and spiritual development was his conversion from Anglo-Catholicism to Roman-Catholicism. In all of Newman’s books, but particularly in his Apologia pro Vita Sua, he has much to say about the human conscience where God had already manifested Himself to mankind. The readings, one for every day of the year as well as for moveable feasts, are all drawn from Newman’s extensive body of work. It is a very worthwhile bedside book to be read slowly and pondered over.

Review by John Irvine  (08/03/12)
Publisher: Burns & Oates imprint of Continuum
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-826-43919-2
Price: £10.99

Mark in 40 Days

- Daily Readings From the Gospel

by Simon & Chris Danes

The brothers who are this book’s authors suggest it can be used by an individual – during Lent especially, but equally well at any other time of the year or for group study, but I have my doubts about the latter. I wonder how many groups, which tend to meet no more often than weekly, would be willing to commit to 40 consecutive sessions on one Gospel.
My impression of these 40 studies is that they are ideal for an individual to undertake an in-depth study of Mark – the earliest, and shortest, of the Gospels.
The 40 studies are supplemented by 4 studies in more detail: The Son of Man: The Kingdom of God: The Eucharist in Christianity today: Did the Resurrection really happen?
Highly recommended for individual use.

Review by Nick Horton  (20/02/12)
Publisher: St Mark's Press
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-907-06211-7
Price: £9.95

Precious Thoughts

- Daily Readings from the Correspondence of Thomas Merton

Selected and edited by Fiona Gardner

Many will be familiar with the writings of Thomas Merton, I am not, so came to this almanac of a year’s daily cycle of readings with a fresh pair of eyes.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk based in the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. He wrote about his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood and on the publication of this, many people wrote to him. A conservative estimate is that he wrote over 10,000 letters to over 2,000 correspondents: the principal subject being spiritual guidance.
The route to finding and exploring true inner self for Merton is silence and contemplation – here is an acceptance that we cannot ‘know’ and must just faithfully ‘accept’, surrendering to something more than self.
These daily readings offer ‘an opening into something other’ – perhaps what Boris Pasternak meant when he wrote:- ‘Thomas Merton…whose precious thought and dear bottomless letters enrich me and make me happy.’ (Back cover)
This anthology will stimulate its readers to deeper silence and contemplation and, I suspect, open the eyes of many to the riches of Merton’s writing. No-one need be put off by thinking that his writings are beyond them. These excerpts are thoroughly accessible. I look forward to using them myself and thoroughly recommend them.

Review by Nick Horton  (03/01/12)
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-232-52883-1
Price: £10.99

Every Day With The Father

by Mark Stibbe

Many people feel that John’s gospel is ‘beyond them’ – too theological – too much concerned with concepts to be relevant to real life situations. They think that the Synoptic Gospels are more ‘people-centred’ and therefore easier to read and understand, and thus more relevant.
Mark Stibbe tackles this ‘John problem’ head on. 365 mini expositions on verses from John in verse order from 1:1 to 21:2. In them he focuses on what he believes to be John’s treasures – the Fatherhood of God – Papa, Daddy, Dad – the jewel in John’s crown. His mission is to demonstrate how Jesus reveals the Father’s love – how Jesus is a window onto ‘the world’s greatest Dad’.
I was drawn, like many I suspect, to see what Stibbe makes of John 3:16, which others have described as John’s Gospel in a nutshell. Stibbe encourages us to focus on the subject of the verb love – and that subject is God – and God in John’s terms means the Father. And the object of the verb is the world – in the Greek kosmos – the WHOLE world. God is wooing us – not coercing us – to a loving relationship with him.
I can’t quite make up my mind whether this is to be seen as a book of days, to be read throughout a calendar year –or one to throw a slightly different spotlight on a particular verse or parable from that of more conventional commentaries. Perhaps it is not for me to decide: some people will use it in the first way and some in the second.
What I do know is that it is a treasury bringing new jewels constantly to our consciousness.

Review by Nick Horton  (26/11/11)
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-857-21026-5
Price: £12.99

Fragments of Your Ancient Name

- 365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation

by Joyce Rupp

There’s a big clue in the title!! ‘Fragments’ – a book small in format with a daily quote, reflection and ‘task’ for the day. I put task in quotes because some days it is a task, some days a thought to carry through the day – but each one contains one or two words from the day’s quote.
Rupp chooses from a very catholic palette for her daily quotes – ranging from the Bible to the Qur’an: from Rainier Maria Rilke’s love poems to Leonard Cohen.
Each day a new name for God, ranging from ‘I am that I am’ (Exodus 3: Jan 1) through ‘Stealer of hearts’ (Hindu) and ‘You who question souls’ (Leonard Cohen) to ‘Gate Keeper’ (Wisdom 6: Dec 31)
I suspect that those who use these daily Glimpses, as I intend to do in 2012, will increasingly find their spiritual life enriched. Rupp’s final phrase for the day on New Year’s Eve is ‘I walk with hope into the New Year.’
May you walk with hope into this book and may your hopes be realized.

Review by Nick Horton  (18/11/11)
Publisher: Sorin Books imprint of Ave Maria from Alban Books
Published: April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-933-49528-6

Reflections for Daily Prayer – Advent 2011 – Eve of Advent 2012

Contributions from Alan Bartlett, Rosalind Brown, Steven Croft, etc.

Having used Bible Reading notes of various kinds over the years, I find the variety of writers, the variety of the commentaries and the relevance to the Daily Readings in the ‘Reflections’ series excellent. I don’t always agree with the writers which I find very stimulating, as it makes me examine why I don’t agree. This searching of my own mind as well as the Scriptures can show me that I may well be wrong, not a bad thing for a full-time parish priest. There are mornings when the insights are so good, particularly for difficult readings, that I subsequently use them in the 8am CW Daily Prayer service in one of my five churches; on occasion I have read out the whole reflection. I hope that these continue to be published!

Review by Pam Sanders  (13/08/11)
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: Summer 2011
ISBN: 978-0-715-14230-1
Price: £16.99

Words for Today: 2012

- A Year of Fresh Perspectives on the Bible

Edited by Nicola Slee

Price includes postage and packing.
As usual with these annually published reflections, it is well worth while reading the introductory pages before you start – and probably several times throughout the year as well, the Editorial, Prayers, How to Use a Quiet Time, Acknowledgements and abbreviations, all are there for your edification.
Week by week, I like the brief biography accompanied by a photo of each contributor. Only a quick look through shows the diversity of their backgrounds and experiences. They each choose the translation they base their reflection upon, though we are encouraged to read what other translations say – and there are many of them these days!
The list of contents tells the subjects covered and that enabled me to dip into specific pages to read and reflect upon. I was immediately challenged to think outside my comfort zone (clichés are so useful sometimes) in contrast I found ideas that gave me comfort about particular issues. I have not attempted to read every page, that could only be a very superficial exercise, but what I have read convinces me that to use this book throughout the year would continue to be a challenge and a benefit.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (11/08/11)
Publisher: IBRA from Christian Education
Published: July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-905-89342-3
Price: £8.75

Light For Our Path: 2012

- A Year of Bible Reflections From Around the World

Edited by Kate Hughes

Price includes postage and packing.
In her foreword Kate Hughes explains the thinking behind the choice of subjects and readings, hoping there is something to satisfy all users. For each day the reference for the full text is given and an excerpt – a verse or part of a verse - is included in the reflection As with the sister publication Words for Today there is a brief biography and a photo of the contributor for the following seven days. This I find helpful, as I like to picture who is ‘speaking’ to me through their reflection.
The many nationalities of the contributors, their varied experiences and backgrounds enhances any time spent with these reflections and the brief, one sentence, prayers for each day are worth remembering and using time and time again in other contexts.

The weblink is to the site of the artist who designed the cover - it particularly caught my eye.


Review by Mary Bartholomew  (11/08/11)
Publisher: IBRA from Christian Education
Published: July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-905-89341-6
Price: £8.75

Exploring the Fascinating Life of Jesus

- From Matthew to John in Ten Minutes a Day

by Roger Ellsworth

Evangelical Press offers us a bite size guide to growing through the gospels and engaging it with our faith, doubts and living. Authored out of the context of a loss of faith, these forty-six five-page chapters surround the Kingship of Jesus and offer something of real weight, originality and was of personal impact for me. The time out and pause to reflect stations in each reading are effective and though biblically rooted, warmly compassionate in their composition. Roger Ellsworth has offered us a title that gives concrete yet compelling companionship to our risen and realistic Saviour. Truly a compelling exploration of the entirety of Jesus life and vital feeding for a healthy life in Jesus! Sadly truth and warmth don't often make it to print so this title has my wholehearted commendation. This gospel-centric book packs it's punch and deserves a wide and appreciative readership!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (19/04/11)
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-852-34720-1
Price: £10.99

Near to the Heart of God

- Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns

by Robert J. Morgan

The 366 hymns of the title are chosen for each day of the year - including 29th February - and have been edited as necessary to fit the page per day format. The pattern is consistent throughout: a short Introduction: Thought: Reflection, always linked to some event which happened on that day, followed by all or part of the hymn, and a concluding Bible verse.
The author is a pastor from Nashville Tennessee (and July 4th's choice is "America the Beautiful"). He describes the hymns chosen as "examples that have stood the test of time" and continues "Some are well known, and the rest should be."
Some are indeed well known. Whether the rest should be is very much a matter of personal taste. I knew just over one-third of the collection, and I am indebted to distant Sunday School memories for quite a few of them. Whilst there are plenty of hymns here that most would recognise as great, good, enduring and "best loved", hymns from the latter part of the 19th century and the first few years of the 20th predominate. Those who appreciate the distinctive hymns of the Moody and Sankey era will not be disappointed by this selection.

Review by Martin Brasier  (16/04/11)
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-800-73395-7
Price: £10.99

One Year Alone With God

- 366 Devotions on the Names of God

by Ava Pennington

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked.
Glory: Author: Builder: Holy: Guardian: Rock: Vine: Self-Controlled, these are just 8 of the names attributed to God in the pages of the Bible – 8 of the 122 names explored in this book.
What an interesting book and what a concept! Each name is used over a period of three days for three separate, yet linked, meditations. The first looks up (the Bible) to see how and why God describes himself as such, the second looks in and focuses on how that name is applicable to ourselves and the third looks outwards to see how what we have learned about God and about ourselves can be applied to our relationships with others.
Each day commences with a verse or two from scripture, then a half-page meditation followed by a short prayer and two or three questions- some of which will give us plenty to think about in the remainder of the day. For example the first day ends with these questions:
Have I become complacent in my relationship with the Lord?
How will I look for Him to show me His ways today?

I suspect that the book could become quite intense and yet at the end of the year we will have learned a great deal about our relationships, with God, with others and perhaps above all with ourselves. It is an American book and makes no apologies for that!

Review by Nick Horton  (04/04/11)
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-800-71951-7
Price: £12.99

365 Days With Spurgeon, Vol 5

- A Further Collection of Daily Readings from Sermons Preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon……

Selected and arranged by Terence Peter Crosby

This book of contains daily readings from Spurgeon’s sermons (published in 63 volumes) preached between May 1879 and the end of 1884, many on the date for which they are set. They were given mostly at the Metropolitan Tabernacle where Spurgeon was Pastor from 1854 till his death in 1892, In an age when our attention span is roughly 10-15 minutes, the readings demand a great deal of concentration, not least because of the language in which they are couched. Each is accompanied by a Biblical text and a point for meditation, often taken from one of the hymns used on the occasion of the delivery of the sermon. There are annoying inconsistencies in the indices – for example in the introduction sermons are given their “Spurgeon” number, but in none of the indices is it possible to identify the date in the year when the extract from that sermon can be found. As the title suggests, this is the 5th collection, so obviously they must sell well, but I suspect, having used the readings for a few days, they are an acquired taste.

See the publisher's website for further editons of this series

Review by Nick Horton  (19/01/11)
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-846-25230-3
Price: £12.00