Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Book Review: "ANGELS: A 90-DAY DEVOTIONAL ABOUT GOD'S MESSENGERS" by Christa Kinde

This devotional is a great way to spend time in the Word while also doing a topical studies on Angels.  It is thorough and uses plenty of scripture references for you to dig into.

Angels were once represented as a tiny gold pin tacked on the collar of my shirt to remind me that there was one there-looking over me.  I wore this pin throughout elementary school, to reassure me when I was bullied, to connect me to a church that also bullied me but that had the stories and songs that made my heart swell.  Really it was to encourage me to believe in that which I could not see and to know the love of the women of my family who purchased the pins for my sister and I so that we might find our way through trials.

As I grew into adulthood I found Christ who was there all along, I was just too blind to see Him.  Yet looking back, I could see his fingerprints on my life so clearly that, once my eyes and heart were open.  So I joined a church and loved being there so much that I attended every activity that my full-time college student and single-motherhood schedule would allow.  Sunday morning, sometimes Sunday evenings.  Tuesday evening, Wednesday evenings, sometimes Friday evenings, and so on.  Yet, as I "grew" in Christ and learned from Pastors and friends, Angels took on a different meaning.  While I was attending my "home church" for four or so years I learned that Angels were specific to scripture and lived in a realm separate from us, that they were a big part of the before and of Revelation, but if we were not careful they could become idols, worshiped above their creator.  Angel figurines were frowned upon and aside from the Christmas story and the warning of their "tendency to be a form of idolatry."  Which can make sense since the representation of angels does not match the scriptural description at all.  In fact if we made ages to look scripturally accurate they would likely scare or intimidate children and even adults.

Still, I could not shake the thought that in the many years prior to truly knowing Jesus as MY Savior He and His Heavenly Hosts had been there to guide me, protect me, encourage me, and to help me.  In the past I have used concordances and other "Angel" related books, written by prominent Christian leaders, to try to understand more about them and the conflict that a discussion on these spiritual beings can bring.  I have also grappled with how to teach the Glory of God's Angels to my own children.  So when I saw this option on BookLook Bloggers I knew that I had to grab it.  (BookLook is a free for review program for bloggers and that is how I obtained this book in exchange for my honest opinions).

I was thrilled when it came but was a bit intimidated because it was a 90 day devotional that I had to write a review on in a timely manner.  I didn't want to jump ahead and I certainly didn't want to skim over it and not delve into it for the full measure.  So I soaked it up.  I read every verse, I copied the verses, I studied them, I listened to the commentary, I imagined the stories that the author uses to help us understand the point.  I dog-eared, highlighted, discussed with friends, talked my husband's ears off, led a small group to hear others thoughts on the book, and finally I am here writing about it on my blog.  Exposing my internal struggle about something that seems so minuscule in the scheme of eternity and yet extremely important at they are "Heavenly Hosts," "His legions," an army, protectors of His children, and will make them selves known again in the final days according to Revelation.  I have reached the end of this 90-day devotional for the second time and I have never been happier to read or receive a topical devotional before.  This book has not only changed the way that I interact with my daily surroundings but it has changed my heart.  It has also given me a better understanding of the amazing spiritual world that our society (both secular and religious sectors) seems to think does not exist.  This study will be used as a family study this summer break, and it will be used by me as a reference in the future I am sure.  I truly look forward to hearing my kids thoughts on it and what pearls they take away from it.  Ironically, it is not listed under family devotionals or sold as a kids devotional, when you look at it and read about it it looks to be an adult devotional.  Yet, it was written for ages 9 and up!  It did not seem juvenile to me but it was not too intense that I thought my children would not be able to handle it.  Let's face it some aspects of the Bible are pretty "R" rated and are stories that you either share with your children or you given them to them when they are mature enough to handle them.  So when I noticed the 9 and up age rating I was both surprised and excited because as I said, it will be perfect for our summer study!

The devotional includes over 100 scripture references, myth busters and pop culture references, Bible story excerpts, bits of fiction to aid in the understanding of the delivery, hymns (a really nice surprise), and other methods for a well-rounded study.

If ever you loved Angels, were intrigued by what they might look like, or who they might be.  If ever you wondered why they were so popular among the mythical and unbelievers, yet only spoken about in a few key historical references in church, if ever you questioned wether you will "earn your wings" when you die, or if angels were only used "in Bible times" and not in our "modern world"...than this devotional is for you.  Not necessarily because all of your questions will be answered by checking off the reading's for your 90 day commitment.  But rather, because it is the ultimate guide to all mentions, be them small or elaborate, within scripture.  Along with the possibilities that you have been missing out on a very real and tangible connection to the spiritual realm that exists on this Earth and in the afterlife.  It is beautiful, overwhelming, inspiring, and for some it may be frightening or sobering as one friend put it.  Sobering in the sense that more eyes are on you when you think nobody is watching/hearing.  Do you actions affect your Angel?  Do you have a specific Angel "given" to you as you were knit together in your mother's womb?  Or maybe you were given one at birth?  These are all questions that have come from this study.  A study that keeps you wanting more, that makes you want to dig in and devour, now THAT is a good study!

This book will help you answer questions, and make you ask more.  For a devotional to answer and inspire further inquiry that is a grand slam in the writers world.  I look forward to future works by this author and I definitely recommend you spend the next 90 days acquainting/reacquainting yourself with the Heavenly hosts who serve you (and Ultimately serve our Maker) as well as those who have betrayed their creator and were the first entrants into Hell.